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How does Russ Purnell(Colts Special Teams Coach) still have a job? (1 Viewer)


The Colts year after year have on the worst Overall Special Teams Units in the NFL.

According to Football Outsiders Special Teams rankings the Colts have finished:

26th in 2008

32nd in 2007

25th in 2006

25th in 2005

25th in 2004

For 2 seasons in a row Special Teams have played a huge factor in their playoff losses to the Chargers. They gave up 2 returns for TDs to Sproles last year.

This year they always started deep in their own end thanks to getting killed in the punting game and never establishing any sort of return game on kickoffs or punts. They also let Sproles have 178 in return yards on punts and kickoffs.

Granted Scifres huge game was hard to control but they never tried putting pressure on him and they never set up a return on any of his punts.

Special teams often make the difference in the playoffs and I have no idea why they keep this Purnell guy.

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I can't speak for Colts management, but I will observe there are a few trends, other than poor coaching, that probably lead to consistently poor special teams play for the Colts. First, Polian pays elite players huge salaries to stay with the team throughout their productive years. To do that, he needs to find bargains elsewhere. He seems to have chosen young guys still playing on cheap rookie contracts. These players don't have the experience of many special teams standouts. In addition, the Colts rarely retain players specifically for the ability on special teams. As a result, they're able to stock depth at key offensive and defensive positions and ameliorate the impact of injuries at those positions. The downside is that the special teams are terrible every year. Even the Super Bowl championship started with a kickoff return TD by the opponent. I'm not saying Purnell should stick around, just that he's not on an even playing field with other special teams coaches.


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