Indianapolis Colts Hire David Walker to Coach Running Backs

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The Indianapolis Colts have their replacement for Gene Huey.

According to the Indianapolis Star, David Walker, who became the University of Maryland’s running backs coach when the school hired Randy Edsall as head coach in January, has accepted the same position with the Colts. Edsall announced the news.

Good hire? I’d say so.

By Drew Allen

Prior to joining Edsall’s (and then Indy’s) staff, Walker oversaw the runners at Pittsburgh for six seasons. Under his watch, the Panthers’ rushers flourished. LeSean McCoy, who is currently tearing it up as the Philadelphia Eagles’ starting running back, averaged more than 110 yards per game in his two seasons as Pitt’s feature back in 2007 and 2008. Dion Lewis outdid McCoy as a freshman in 2009, averaging 138.4 yards per contest and rushing just shy of 1,800 yards on the year.

Sure, both backs are extremely talented, but it’s certainly not ridiculous to attribute such consistent effectiveness to good coaching. Walker must have been doing something right.

Shifting gears back to the Colts, let’s not kid ourselves. The offensive line is largely responsible for the team’s running woes during the last three seasons. However, it seems as though a problem might exist in the backfield as well.

Indy made former Connecticut running back Donald Brown its first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft (ironically, McCoy was available at the time) in an attempt to revamp the running game via competition for carries with incumbent starter Joseph Addai. Brown showed flashes as a rookie but was unable to make much of a contribution with nagging injuries.

Many expected Brown to break out in 2010, but other than a 129-yard effort in a home victory against Jacksonville in December — his first 100-yard game as a pro — he showed little progress in his sophomore campaign. He even lost a position on the depth chart to 31-year-old Dominic Rhodes, who was picked up a week prior to that Jaguars game and went on to lead the Colts in rushing in their final two games.

Brown’s been a mystery. Well, to me, anyway. He seemed like an intelligent, hard-working player when Indy first drafted him, and he was the most productive back in Connecticut history. How has he not panned out to this point?

Could Huey have had anything to do with it? Could he reasonably be held responsible for Brown’s disappointing lack of progress?

Fans haven’t seemed to want to consider that possibility. They’ve been pointing the finger at team president Bill Polian and his personnel decisions along the offensive line — and justifiably so — and have labeled Huey a scapegoat. That might or might not have been the case, but is the offensive line to blame for Brown not finding the same holes that Addai and Rhodes seemed to find this year?

I predict developing Brown will be Walker’s top priority in his first season with the Colts. If Brown starts living up to his first-round selection, then not only will Walker have been a brilliant addition to the staff, but Huey’s firing will have been justified as well.

If Brown doesn’t show some consistency in year three, it won’t necessarily be an indictment on Walker, who still could benefit from Indy’s retaining Addai — if the circumstances allow. Rather, Polian will have to take the blame for missing on the early-round pick.

Thoughts on the Walker hire, Huey’s firing or Brown’s development? Post them here!

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  1. ashleywatson says

    Brown was really a mystery…But he was really a hard working player.

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