Punch Drunk Wonderland

Colts’ Donte Moncrief’s Stock Should Rise Under Chudzinski

The 2015 Indianapolis Colts have been a mess. I’ve never seen a team swing so steadily from preseason Super Bowl pick to clumsy bottom dwellers. Yesterday’s firing of Pep Hamilton is likely the first in a number of changes in a volatile situation in Indianapolis. Everyone is accountable. Players. Coaches. GM. Someone had to bite it, and Pep drew the short straw. Now Assistant Head Coach (and Pagano confidant) Rob Chudzynski has stepped into the role of Offensive Coordinator. What does that mean for this struggling Colts team? Right away, probably not much. There probably isn’t enough time to shake things up too much before the Week 9 game versus Denver, but things could be changing after Indy’s Week 10 bye. And, one thing that could be changing is Donte Moncrief’s breakout potential.

braylon-edwardsChudzinski has a solid resume when it comes to finding success in an offense. With the Carolina Panthers he ushered Cam Newton into the league and the result was Newton becoming the first rookie to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season and have the most total touchdowns by a rookie in a season. And, don’t think it was easy. Chud is a tough couch who made his young signal caller in Carolina work. He and Cam butted heads plenty. Additionally, Chud produced a 2011 Carolina offense that became the first in NFL history to have three players rush for over 700 yards. He also found significant offensive success during his time as Offensive Coordinator in Cleveland. He’s particularly known for building strong running games and for making excellent use of the X receiver. Chud comes from the Don Coryell school of offense and the “Air Coryell” system is certainly something he’s made use of in the past. Stretching the field and taking advantage of size mismatches and one-on-one scenarios with larger receivers has been a noted identifier in some of his systems of old. Think Braylon Edwards in Cleveland. During Chud’s time as Offensive Coordinator in Cleveland Edwards was a prototypical big bodied and athletic X receiver and Chud used him well. He was targeted 292 times while pulling in 135 receptions for 2,162 yards and 19 touchdowns in two seasons.

Let’s look at some of Chudzynksi’s notables:

  • As Offensive Coordinator in Cleveland in 2007 he produced an 8th overall ranked offense and 4 offensive Pro Bowlers.
  • In 2011 he took over as Offensive Coordinator in Carolina and produced a top 10 offense that set a franchise record for total yards.
  • 2011 also saw the major rookie accomplishments of Cam Newton under Chud (4,757 total yards, 35 total touchdowns) and the first time in NFL history in which a team produced three players to rush for over 700 yards.

Football-x-y-z-receiversAs a matter of fact, Donte Moncrief and Braylon Edwards are very comparable. 6’2″ (Braylon is 6’3″, but meh). 220 pounds. 4.40 40-yard-dash time. Moncrief has already shown that he has playmaker ability. Combine that with good size and speed, and it’s a potential winning combination going forward in a tweaked system that could showcase his skills. Thus far in 2015 Moncrief has put together 36 catches for 399 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’s already been a significant part of the offense having been targeted 62 times. Second most on the team behind T.Y. Hilton. With Chudzynski taking the reigns there’s a good chance small tweaks can be made that will spell big things for Moncrief going forward, and the Hilton-Moncrief combo could be huge.

Of course, all of this assume things turn around for the Colts. That would mean better play from Andrew Luck, better play from a struggling offensive line, better play from everyone. The firing of Hamilton is meant to be an igniter on a stalled team. Time will tell if Chud makes a difference and if this team can find life. I’m looking on the bright side and saying things will come around, and I’m expecting big things from Donte Moncrief going forward.

Go out and get him in your fantasy leagues before your trade deadline hits. You can thank me later.


K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...