Colts’ Chudzinski faces new challenge: No Luck and Falcons
INDIANAPOLIS — Rob Chudzinski doesn’t have a problem with the recent challenges the Colts have had to face. He doesn’t have an issue with recent changes. In fact, the associate head coach insists, he welcomes all of it in a way.
Chudzinski took over as offensive coordinator when Pep Hamilton was fired two weeks ago following a 3-5 start. He found a winning formula in Indy’s 27-24 victory over Denver.
But that was with quarterback Andrew Luck under center. With Luck out for perhaps another five weeks with a lacerated kidney and muscle injury in his abdomen, Chudzinski must figure out a way to beat Atlanta on Sunday — and other teams after that, too.
"I think you just get used to the fact that that’s what it is and you embrace the change and embrace the challenge," he said. "I think if you go at it from that perspective, that’s how you can succeed."
Matt Hasselbeck will make his third start of the season against the Falcons. The Colts used their bye week to get on the same page — more so for the coaching staff than for the players.
"The coaches got a chance to kind of come together and regroup," Hasselbeck said. "We lost our offensive coordinator so it gave them a chance to kind of come together and figure out what we’re going to be going forward."
Chudzinski isn’t giving away any secrets, but the Colts will have to change their philosophy at least a little with a 40-year-old quarterback behind center.
"He’s played in different offenses for different people," Chudzinski said Thursday. "He’s real flexible. Just his football knowledge makes it easy to be able to relate to in that way. We’ll do things, just like we do with everybody, to try to feature their strengths and try to highlight their strengths. Matt gives us the ability to do a lot of different things still."
Hasselbeck has thrived in the West Coast offense throughout his career before he signed as a free agent with the Colts in 2013, the same year Hamilton was hired to run Indy’s offense.
When Luck missed two games earlier this season with a sore shoulder, Hasselbeck finished with 282 yards and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Coby Fleener in a 16-13 win over Jacksonville in Week 4. Fleener finished with nine receptions for 83 yards and the touchdown, all season highs.
The following week, Hasselbeck threw for 213 yards and two TDs at Houston.
"I don’t really try to do anything different," Hasselbeck said. "I’m just going to go out here and do what I’ve been doing and just take it one week at a time and see how it goes."
For Chudzinski, it’s just a matter of just picking through the next challenge.
"I guess I’ve been doing this long enough you expect the unexpected," he said. "That’s what this job is and that’s what coaching is, is a challenge. It’s all about challenges. You look at it like it’s a jigsaw puzzle. It can come together and it’s a matter of getting those pieces and putting it all together, but it can be done. We’ll find a way to get it done."
Notes: Safety Mike Adams (ankle), receiver Phillip Dorsett (ankle), and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday. . Linebacker Nate Irving (knee) was limited in practice.