INDIANAPOLIS — Chuck Pagano knew exactly who he wanted as his top assistants next season.
On Thursday, the Indianapolis Colts coach hired Ted Monachnio as his new defensive co-ordinator and announced Rob Chudzinski will remain the offensive co-ordinator.
What it all means is that the Colts don’t expect to change much philosophically.
Chudzinski spent the last two seasons with the Colts, most recently as associate head coach this season. He took control of the offence Nov. 3 when the team fired co-ordinator Pep Hamilton. Chudzinski, a former Cleveland Browns head coach (2013), has 22 years of coaching experience, the last 12 in the NFL.
Andrew Luck has already worked with three co-ordinators in his first four years in the league, and keeping Chudzinski means he won’t be working with a fourth.
The one game in which Chudzinski and Luck worked together was the best game of the season for Indianapolis — a 27-24 victory over then unbeaten Denver.
Chudzinski also was involved with the creative game plan for the season finale, in which the Colts asked recently-signed Josh Freeman to learn most of the regular offence and the other recently-signed quarterback, Ryan Lindley, to learn the 2-minute offence. Each threw a touchdown pass in the Colts’ season-ending victory over Tennessee, a win that may have saved Pagano’s job.
Monachino also has connections to Pagano.
The former Baltimore Ravens assistant coached linebackers the past four years and outside linebackers in 2010 and 2011, when Pagano was part of Baltimore’s staff. Monachino replaces Greg Manusky, who was let go Wednesday.
And one of the reasons Pagano wanted Monachino was that he knows the defence Pagano believes will work in Indy.
"He has overseen one of the league’s best linebacker units for the last six years and I had the privilege of coaching with him for two of those seasons,"Pagano said in a statement. "ted is very familiar with our scheme. He is a great motivator and is extremely respected by the players he has coached."
Before joining the Ravens, Monachino worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars, at Arizona State, Boise State, Southwest Missouri State, James Madison and TCU. He started his coaching career at two high schools in Missouri.
Pagano, who accepted a four-year contract extension Monday, still has four positions to fill on his coaching staff after parting ways with six assistants, including Manusky, Wednesday.