Indianapolis Colts Inside Slant 2009-05-15

While it has been rumored for the past two weeks, two of the Indianapolis Colts' most veteran assistant coaches -- offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd -- are expected to announce their retirement sometime in the next few days.

Each of the coaches was an integral part of the Colts' offensive coaching staff since 1998. But a recent change in how the National Football League's pension plan is administered has caused ripples around the league's older assistant coaches.

Losing experienced coaches like Moore, 70, and Mudd, 67, at any time is bad enough. But having both leave in the same year, within weeks of the start of training camp, could prove worrisome for an offensive unit that has annually been one of the NFL's most prolific.

"It's the combination of the coaches with the players," former Colts coach Jim Mora told the Indianapolis Star recently. Mora hired Moore and Mudd to the Indianapolis coaching staff in 1998.

"Sure, it helps to have had a quarterback like No. 18, but those guys are two really, really good coaches. It's been a luxury for the Colts to have those guys for as long as they've had them. I think it would be a loss if they left, but I think they'd probably find a way to survive there in Indianapolis with the offensive talent they have."

The influence that both Moore and Mudd have had on the Indianapolis offense runs deep. The top 11 seasonal passing totals and top eight scoring totals in club history have come with quarterback Peyton Manning under center, Moore running the offense and Mudd directing the offensive line. His group has ranked No. 7 or better in fewest sacks allowed in 10 of 11 seasons.

Another former Colts head coach, Tony Dungy, understands what the loss of both assistant coaches would mean to the team, in general, and to Manning, in particular. Still, he believes that the team can survive and perform without Moore and Mudd around.

"If it does come that way, it will be a tough blow," Dungy said. "But everybody will be ready for it. The next person steps up. The foundation is there.

"I'm sure that's how Howard and Tom view it, that they've left a foundation that won't be followed exactly, but the plan is there and it'll roll."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 15, 2009