The Indianapolis Colts have retained Rob Chudzinski as offensive coordinator, the team announced Thursday.
The announcement came hours after the Colts advised Ted Monachino had been hired as defensive coordinator, replacing Greg Manusky. The Colts gave head coach Chuck Pagano a four-year contract extension and general manager Ryan Grigson an additional three years Monday and six assistants have since been terminated.
As associate head coach last season, “Chud” began calling plays in the ninth game after Pep Hamilton was fired. The Colts were 5-3 with him in that role.
Pagano's ties to Chudzinski date back to being assistant coaches at the University of Miami from 1995 to 2000. Chudzinski was a graduate assistant that first year when Pagano was hired as defensive backs/special teams coach. Chudzinski then coached tight ends the next five years.
They were reunited in Indianapolis in 2014, when Pagano hired Chudzinski as a special assistant to the head coach. He was then promoted to associate head coach for last season.
Pagano credited Chudzinski with putting together a game plan in a short week after Hamilton’s firing when the Colts knocked off the previously unbeaten Denver Broncos on Nov. 8.
But a coaching change couldn’t fix everything with the offense. Because of his unfamiliarity with the terms of the offense, the Colts needed to adjust to an unusual translation system to call plays with Chudzinski making a call from the booth and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen passing it onto the field.
The Denver victory was the last game quarterback Andrew Luck played due to a lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle. While backup Matt Hasselbeck finished the season 5-3 as a starter, the offense finished 28th in total yards, was the league’s worst in yardage per play, 31st in rushing average per play, last in passing average per play and 24th in points scored.
The Colts offense was expected to be prolific with Luck and fellow Pro Bowl star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, but instead committed 30 turnovers — just five teams had more — and quarterbacks took 37 sacks. Aside from Luck and Hasselbeck being injured, backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst ended up on injured reserve.
This time, Chudzinski will have an offseason to implement his offense and, presuming Luck is healthy and returns to his three-time Pro Bowl form, much will be expected in 2016.
Prior to coming to the Colts, Chudzinski was the Cleveland Browns head coach for one season. He was also Carolina’s offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012, was the Browns offensive coordinator and had two stints as an assistant with San Diego, as an assistant head coach/tight ends and just tight ends coach. His NFL coaching career began as a Browns tight end coach.
A former standout tight end for the Miami Hurricanes from 1986 to 1990, he was a three-year starter and member of two national championship teams in 1987 and 1989. The Toledo, Ohio, native was inducted into his alma mater’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
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