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Colts' Rob Chudzinski did enough without Andrew Luck to keep offensive coordinator job

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rob Chudzinski was named the Indianapolis Colts' interim offensive coordinator after Week 8 under the impression that he would have quarterback Andrew Luck taking the majority of the snaps in the team’s final eight games of the season.

Chudzinski and Luck ended up only being paired together for four quarters, with Luck playing the final quarter with a lacerated kidney.

Despite Luck missing the final seven games of the season, Chudzinski did enough with four different quarterbacks to convince Colts coach Chuck Pagano to remove the interim tag from his title Thursday.

Chudzinski overcame running Pep Hamilton’s offense, starting a 40-year-old quarterback and using three other signal-callers who joined the Colts midseason or later to help Indianapolis go 4-3 after Luck went down.

“It’s been a challenge, but that’s why we’re coaching and that’s what coaches do,” Chudzinski said Dec. 31. “You have to find a way and work through it. It’s those type of challenges that make this job what it is.”

Chudzinski might change the offense some now that it’s his, but even the small sample of time he and Luck had together gives reason to believe the two will be just fine.

Chudzinski, despite having a short week to prepare, mixed pass and run well to help the Colts beat Denver and the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense in Week 9. The Colts had 365 yards of total offense, including 120 yards on the ground, in that game.

The Colts struggled to run the ball and didn’t take as many shots down the field when Matt Hasselbeck replaced Luck. It also didn’t help Chudzinski that Hasselbeck was knocked out of four consecutive games before a shoulder injury against Miami in Week 16 ended his season. Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley were on the roster for less than a week when they played in Week 17.

“I wouldn’t say it is the hardest challenge,” Chudzinski said. “It’s been one of the most different types of challenges that I’ve ever had. Every year is different. The challenges are different. It’s hard to compare and say one’s harder than the other. They’re all definitely different. This has been a very different set of challenges this year.”

Chudzinski and Luck will have the entire offseason together so the quarterback can continue to get familiar with his new offensive coordinator.