Here's what Hayes' piece taught us about Mudd as a person. First and foremost, he is tough as nails. Mudd was already old school when it was still considered new school. In college, he was punched in the gut by his coach to test his toughness. Mudd's playing career ruined his body to the point where he can only walk for short distances at a time. He can't play with his grandchildren.
Riding a motorcycle is what awakens his senses; in fact he's on a ride out on the West Coast now. Mudd's penchant for riding motorcycles have also caused pain, however. Back in 2000, he broke six ribs, his scapula and his wrists in a crash that blurred his vision for three weeks and laid him up for a total of seven weeks. Just last year, he broke 10 ribs in another motorcycle accident that forced him to sleep in a chair for two months.
As much as he is respected as a Hall of Fame caliber offensive line coach by his peers, the ultimate tribute was what his longtime quarterback in Indianapolis Peyton Manning did for Mudd when he retired following the 2009 season. Manning hosted a roast where Mudd's former players, friends from the coaching community and family regaled tales of the coach. Mudd's close friend, new defensive line coach Jim Washburn, was not able to attend because of minicamps with the Titans so Manning sent over a film crew to record a message. When Andy Reid and Washburn lured Mudd out of retirement after only one year, Mudd called many of his former players to explain why he decided to come back.
The biggest difference between coaching in Indianapolis and Philadelphia will be, as Hayes brilliantly pointed out, the quarterback. Manning is the ultimate pocket quarterback who is strict with his mental clock and gets the ball out quickly. Obviously, Michael Vick has improved by leaps and bounds as a pocket quarterback, but his propensity to make plays with his feet is what makes him the most dynamic weapon in the sport.
"There's some stuff we need to clean up including Mike's understanding of who's not blocked; that, if there's a guy who's not blocked, get it out of your hand," Mudd said. "We want Mike to live to play the next play."
Even though Mudd has not been able to work extensively with his new players due to the work stoppage, the veteran coach is confident that he will have his players up to speed on the new scheme in time for the season.
"I really don't believe that the learning curve is that great. In many respects, it's simpler. We make football too complicated," Mudd said. "It doesn't make any difference how old you are. In order to be coached, you've got to want to be coached."
What is going to be the difference between the Juan Castillo-coached lines and Mudd's? Ross Tucker from ESPN and Sirius NFL Radio did a phenomenal job of simplifying the changes. A former NFL offensive lineman, Tucker praised Mudd by saying that he could have played for many years in the league with his style of coaching.
Tucker said that the biggest difference will come at the offensive tackle position. Castillo had his tackles take deep, vertical sets with their feet in order to meet the defensive end about 3 or 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage. To do that, the tackles had to be huge, wide-bodied players with long arms which is why the Eagles consistently had one of the biggest offensive lines in the entire league. Mudd prefers rangier, more athletic linemen and that was evident in the draft with the selection of players like Julian Vandervelde (6-2, 300) and Jason Kelce (6-3, 282). Mudd wants his linemen to take a jump-set and get on the defensive linemen quickly so they can't get a head of steam and take the fight to them. It takes an athletic lineman to get more width in the pass set in a shorter amount of time.
Mudd is a perfect fit for the City of Philadelphia. He is a tough, hard-nosed, grizzled coach who is down to earth and earns the respect of his players. In other words, it should not be a surprise that Mudd is receiving the red-carpet welcome that he has in Philadelphia.