This is starting to look like a trend: For the second time in a row, Tony Dungy has left a team and the organization has gone on to reach the Super Bowl. Happened in Tampa Bay seven years ago and it’s happening now.
Does this mean Dungy is anything less than a great coach? Obviously not. The job he did in Tampa, in particular, was remarkable, completely changing a losing culture.
But his best quality, his loyalty to assistant coaches, was also his downfall in Tampa. And it hurt him here, with his loyalty to former defensive coordinator Ron Meeks and former special teams coach Russ Purnell.
There are times in football, as in any business, when cold-hearted business decisions are necessary, and Caldwell showed he has the backbone to do it. He dropped Meeks and Purnell, and brought in Larry Coyer and Ray Rychleski. The result? An obvious improvement on defense and in special teams.
I’ve shown before…the special teams improvement is almost entirely related to Pat McAfee. As for the D being better…it helps to have Freeney, Mathis and Brackett healthy in the playoffs. It also helps to not have Tim Jennings as your #1 CB. Coyer has been great, but most of the improvement is due to having better players.