INDIANAPOLIS – Are the Colts down to 8 head coaching candidates?
Could a head coaching hire be coming soon?
Well, Chris Ballard did say this search could extend to mid-February.
Over the last week, the Colts have reportedly interviewed 7 head coaching candidates for a second time, with an 8th expected in Aaron Glenn on Thursday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Colts and Cardinals are the final 2 openings this coaching cycle, with the Panthers (Frank Reich), Broncos (Sean Payton) and Texans (DeMeco Ryans) having been filled.
If this is the final list of candidates, it breaks down as followed:
-3 on offense: Shane Steichen (Eagles offensive coordinator), Brian Callahan (Bengals offensive coordinator), Jeff Saturday (Colts interim head coach)
-4 on defense: Ejiro Evero (Denver defensive coordinator), Raheem Morris (Rams defensive coordinator), Don ‘Wink’ Martindale (Giants defensive coordinator), Aaron Glenn (Lions defensive coordinator)
-1 on special teams: Rich Bisaccia (Packers special teams coordinator)
The Colts have been a bit quieter on the transparency front, too.
While the Colts announced all first interviews with candidates, they have elected not to say anything in regards to these second interviews.
If the national reports are accurate, the Colts have 7 names still on the list for their head coach.
Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each:
-Pros: No one on this list was able to see the inner workings of the Colts, in-season, for two months like Saturday was as the interim head coach. Part of that is why Saturday has promised “significant” changes to what the Colts are doing. Saturday would bring a respected leader who players seemed to enjoy, with more public accountability.
-Cons: Outside of one of the worst interim stints the NFL has ever seen, Saturday has never coached above the high school level. Given Saturday’s lack of NFL coaching background, would that limit the type of staff he could build in Indy?
-Pros: The Colts would be getting a young, extremely bright defensive mind. Evero has worked in a variety of defensive schemes for some of the more well-known D-coordinators in league history. Evero also has multiple years of experience in coaching on the offensive side of the ball.
-Cons: This hire would bring a question of inexperience and to the side of the ball Evero has mainly coached on. Evero, 42, has only been a coordinator in the NFL for one season. He also comes from a heavy defensive background, whereas the Colts issues last year were on offense. Also, Evero’s most recent defense was a 3-4 look, with the Colts having the personnel and resources invested for a 4-3 system.
-Pros: Morris is the lone name on this list with permanent NFL head coaching experience, so you’d have a guy who is used to that pressure, or hopefully prepared to learn from a being a HC at the age of 32. Players who have played for Morris have heaped praise to their connection with him/the energy he brings. Morris also has some offensive coaching years with Kyle Shanahan and was most recently the defensive coordinator for Sean McVay
-Cons: The common theme for any defensive hire is at play here for Morris. What will the offensive plan be, and how will that plan be sustained if the offensive coordinator leaves after a year or two are massive questions? That’s specially true with the young quarterback search/development needed.
Don ‘Wink’ Martindale
-Pros: When people talk about Martindale, you hear a Bruce Arians comparison. That type of leadership style is something the Colts like. And it could be argued it’s needed right now. Martindale would be a stark contrast to Frank Reich and would also bring much more of an attacking/aggressive defensive style.
-Cons: He would be a first-time head coach, at any level, and coaches the side of the ball that the recent NFL trend has not been on. How much attention should be paid to the final 8 playoff teams in each of the last two seasons having 81 percent of the head coaches with an offensive background?
-Pros: Leader. Leader. Leader. At every stop in his two-decade NFL career, Bisaccia is frequently labeled as a tremendous leader. A special teams coordinator, Bisaccia has often added the label of ‘assistant’ head coach throughout his NFL stops. Bisaccia had a brilliant interim stint with the Raiders in 2021, leading a team dealing with gobs of negative headlines to a 7-5 finish and a playoff berth.
-Cons: You would potentially be making significant changes to both the offense and defense, with the futures on each side of the ball up in the air from a continuity standpoint. If Bisaccia left such a strong impression throughout the league, why has the 62-year-old never had a permanent head coaching gig?
-Pros: Appeal for Steichen extends to his offensive side of the ball, his variety in quarterback background and that Nick Sirianni trusted him to call plays. Steichen is the play caller for the Super Bowl bound Eagles, so he’s dealing with quite a bit of game-day pressure. Along with Jalen Hurts, Steichen has previously worked with Justin Herbert and Philip Rivers, too. Rivers and Steichen remain close.
-Cons: Along with so many on this list, you would be getting a first-time head coach, who is just 37 years old. Also, would Steichen’s history with Frank Reich/Nick Sirianni create any pause or concern on how he would view the Colts opening? When you have an offensive-minded head coach like Sirianni, you also wonder how much of Philly’s offensive success should go to the system of the head coach.
-Pros: Like Steichen, Callahan brings an impressive history with quarterbacks. The list includes Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr and Joe Burrow. Manning has spoken very highly of Callahan. He also is the son of former NFL head coach Bill Callahan, so grew up around the highest level of coaching in professional football.
-Cons: Callahan isn’t the play caller for the Bengals. And he’s coordinating an offense littered with talent, therefore the questions rises on how impactful is the coaching staff to Cincinnati’s impressive offensive success.
-Pros: A former player who is currently on the staff of Dan Campbell in Detroit, Glenn has an interesting resume. He was a former top-15 pick as a player, a 3-time Pro Bowl defensive back and was a scout for the Jets before embarking on his coaching career. That covers a lot of background in the NFL. Glenn’s personality and resume has some Mike Vrabel vibes to it before he took the job with the Titans. The Colts, and Chris Ballard, got a chance to see Glenn coach in-person during the August joint practices at Grand Park.
-Cons: Glenn’s defense this past season was near the bottom of the NFL in many league rankings. He’s only been a coordinator for one season. And, like we’ve repeated quite often with these defensive names, you’d have a question about the offensive system and continuity.
Here’s a sketch as to what the Colts interview schedule has looked like throughout this search:
Week 1 First Interviews
–Wednesday (1/11): Bubba Ventrone (Colts special teams coordinator)
–Thursday (1/12): Ejiro Evero (Denver defensive coordinator); Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs offensive coordinator)
–Friday (1/13): Raheem Morris (Rams defensive coordinator); Ben Johnson (Lions offensive coordinator, has since withdrawn from all head coaching jobs)
–Saturday (1/14): Aaron Glenn (Lions defensive coordinator); Shane Steichen (Eagles offensive coordinator)
Week 2 First Interviews
–Thursday (1/19): Jeff Saturday (Colts interim head coach)
–Friday (1/20): Rich Bisaccia (Packers special teams coordinator); Brian Callahan (Bengals offensive coordinator); Dan Quinn (Cowboys defensive coordinator, has since withdrawn from search)
–Sunday (1/21): Mike Kafka (Giants offensive coordinator); Don ‘Wink’ Martindale (Giants defensive coordinator)
Week 3 and 4 Second Interviews (reported dates)
–Wednesday (1/25): Jeff Saturday (Colts interim head coach)
–Thursday (1/26): Ejiro Evero (Denver defensive coordinator)
–Friday (1/27): Raheem Morris (Rams defensive coordinator)
–Saturday (1/28): Don ‘Wink’ Martindale (Giants defensive coordinator)
–Monday (1/30): Rich Bisaccia (Packers special teams coordinator)
–Wednesday (2/1): Brian Callahan (Bengals offensive coordinator)
–Thursday (2/2): Aaron Glenn (Lions defensive coordinator)
–Saturday (2/4): Shane Steichen (Eagles offensive coordinator)
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