INDIANAPOLIS – The Shane Steichen era is underway with the Indianapolis Colts.
An emotional Steichen had his opening press conference on Tuesday, after putting pen to paper on a new deal to become the youngest head coach in the history of the Indianapolis Colts (37 years old).
Here are some of the takeaways from Steichen, Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard:
- Irsay and Ballard each took turns speaking first giving their thoughts on the process and hiring of Steichen. Irsay met with Steichen in Philadelphia a week ago Friday and liked what he heard. “He was just so impressive,” Irsay said of Steichen. “He was incredible in the interview, incredible leadership, toughness. Very fast mind.” On that next day, Chris Ballard and more Colts staff members met with Steichen in Philly. “High integrity. High character. Brilliant football mind,” Ballard said of Steichen. “Philosophically, we see the game the same way, and that’s critical for the head coach/GM relationship.”
- Shane Steichen quickly got pretty emotional in thanking many people for putting him in this opportunity for his first head coaching job. Steichen laid out 4 pillars to his head coaching plan: character, preparation, consistency, relentlessness. It was the preparation (Monday through Saturday work) pillar that Steichen says is the separator between teams in this league. Steichen said the staff will be very detailed and aggressive in their approach, but he will go with his gut feeling a lot as a play caller, and with in-game decisions.
- Steichen will call the offensive plays, he confirmed on Tuesday. This will obviously be a question for him in juggling those responsibilities and handling everything else that comes with being a head coach (which was a challenge for Frank Reich). Steichen said the Colts offense will vary week to week, and dictated on who is playing quarterback, with a focus on catering to the quarterback/personnel’s strengths. He added this about the offensive philosophy: “we will throw to score points and run to win.” That’s a very modern approach to success in today’s NFL. Steichen added it’s important to see what a young quarterback does well in college and make sure you adapt things offensively to fit those strengths.
- In general, Steichen is not a big, long talker. But you can certainly see a direct leader with conviction in his words. While Steichen is clearly bright, he’s not one that feels the need to say a bunch of words to prove his intelligence. This should help Steichen in communicating to players.
- What are the QB traits Steichen desires? “I think accuracy, decision making and the ability to create are the three things I look for in a quarterback. I think those are very important. And obviously above the neck…you have to be obsessed with your craft. If you can find that in a quarterback, you are probably going to have some success.” Steichen’s quarterback background clearly is one with history in a variety of different styles.
- Shane Steichen wasted no time in sharing the biggest thing he learned from watching Nick Sirianni lead as a first-time head coach in Philly. “Nick did an unbelievable job in holding guys accountable,” Steichen said. “He never let anything slide. And I think as a head football coach, you got to hold people accountable. If something isn’t right, something needs to be said. And that’s player to player, coach to coach, coach to player. We have to make sure we are all on the same page in helping people do that.”
- Speaking of that first-time head coach, Steichen shared his thoughts on finding HC success despite being 37 years old: “I think you’ve got to have a very thorough process and you have to have a clear vision of what you want to look like and you got to follow through with that vision. I think that’s first and foremost. You can’t slide away or steer away from that vision. You got to double down on what you believe in. You know what I mean? And I think that’s the biggest thing is staying true to who you are believing what you’re doing. And if you’re going to fail, do it the way you want to fail. And if you’re going to succeed, do it the way you want to do it. So I have a vision like I talked about on how I want to get it done, but it’s going to take a lot of work. Every single day. We got to be consistent with every single thing we do, coaches players front office, we got to be on the same page at all times moving forward.”
- A funny/telling/smokescreen? moment came late in the Tuesday presser. With Chris Ballard joking, and offering a wink, that the Colts might trade back in the draft, Jim Irsay decided to interject. “Alabama guy doesn’t look bad, I tell you.” the Owner couldn’t help himself. Legit thoughts from the Colts Owner? Smokescreen season? Welcome to draft time!
- Who were the runner-ups in this Colts head coaching process? Jim Irsay mentioned the names of Rich Bisaccia, Raheem Morris and Aaron Glenn as other candidates who stood out.
- In attendance at Steichen’s press conference on Tuesday included Gus Bradley, Bubba Ventrone, Michael Pittman Jr., Quenton Nelson, Bernhard Raimann and Tyquan Lewis. Much of the Colts scouting staff was also in attendance with the Combine starting in two weeks. As far as any commitment to retaining Bradley and the defensive staff that Steichen has history with, the new head coach would not comment on that. Steichen said that’s next on the priority list for him.
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