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Colts defensive coordinator Coyer on thin ice

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Recent posts by Arthur Arkush

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Posted Oct. 29, 2011 @ 8:43 p.m. ET
By Arthur Arkush

The Colts' ineptitude on offense this season without QB Peyton Manning was, to some degree, expected. The horrific play of the defense was not. Although there are plenty of people responsible for the unit's struggles, we hear defensive coordinator Larry Coyer's future with the club beyond this season is in the most jeopardy.

Indianapolis hit rock bottom in Week Seven, suffering the worst loss in franchise history, a 62-7 throttling courtesy of the Saints. Owner Jim Irsay took to his Twitter account hours after the game, hinting at potential changes.

"Titanic collapse,apologies 2 all ColtsNation..problems identifiable;solutions in progress but complex in nature/ better days will rise again," Irsay tweeted.

The way we hear it, changes during the season are unlikely. Head coach Jim Caldwell has come under fire, but the effort and improvement his team shows over the last nine weeks could go a long way toward deciding his future with the club. Further, vice chairman Bill Polian has continued to praise Caldwell's performance under difficult circumstances. Polian hasn't given Coyer, who appeared shell-shocked after his unit's shockingly bad Week Seven effort, the same vote of confidence, saying on his weekly radio show he has no answers to fix the defense.

We hear the problems are widespread, with Polian admitting he has done a poor job replenishing certain positions, namely cornerback and defensive tackle. But for a "D" built on speed and tempo, the Colts have been stuck in quicksand this season. Even worse, we hear the effort has been lackluster at times.

When Coyer was hired to take over the defense in 2009, the belief was that he would be more aggressive with the unit, concocting more pressure and featuring different looks. Simply put, that has not been the case. While he has been handcuffed because of injuries, Coyer's defense has remained, for the most part, very vanilla. When blitzes are dialed up, they rarely reach home. The secondary's play, while certainly not all Coyer's fault, has been atrocious. The cornerbacks have given too much cushion, lacking field awareness and urgency.

The Colts' Tampa-2 scheme has also been badly exposed this season, and word is Coyer has done a poor job adapting to how opponents are attacking the system.

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