INDIANAPOLIS – It is a Shane Steichen staff filled with youth inexperience on offense and retention on defense, plus an Indiana native leading the special teams.
The Colts will have 8 new coaches, along with Steichen, in 2023.
Unlike the veteran nature to the defensive staff, the offensive staff has a combined 5 years of position coach experience among their 5 position coaches.
Let’s meet the new coaching staff:
-Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter: In a non-play calling role, Cooter does bring play-calling experience though if Shane Steichen wants to tap into any of that. Cooter called the plays for the Lions from 2016-18, with nice success, particularly in the passing game. Most recently, Cooter was with the Jacksonville Jaguars, providing some tutelage to Trevor Lawrence as the passing game coordinator in 2021. Cooter coached in Indy from 2009-11 and continued with Peyton Manning for a season with the Broncos.
–Quarterbacks Coach Cam Turner: This was another hire with some intrigue given the expected pick at quarterback in April. Turner comes over from Arizona where he was the position coach for Kyler Murray the last two seasons. It was Turner’s first time being a full-time position coach in the NFL. He added the title of pass game coordinator in 2022. Turner, 35, is the son of former Colts assistant Ron Turner.
–Running Backs Coach DeAndre Smith: Smith comes over from the New York Giants after a long career coaching in college. Smith’s relationship with Shane Steichen dates back to Steichen early coaching career at UNLV. Smith has Midwest ties, having previously coached at Indiana State and Purdue.
–Wide Receiver Coach Reggie Wayne: One of the greatest players in Colts history will be retained by Steichen. In fact, Wayne is the lone offensive holdover for Steichen’s new staff. Wayne did sign a two-year contract to see what this coaching experienced would be like. Wayne loved coaching a young wide receiver room in 2022. It’s a group that needs continued growth this coming season.
-Offensive Line Coach Tony Sparano Jr.: This might be the most important hire on Steichen’s staff. And Sparano Jr.’s background lacks a ton of notoriety. This’ll be the first time he’s been the head offensive line coach in his career. Sparano, 36, is the son of former NFL head coach Tony Sparano. The younger Spaarno Jr. has most recently been an assistant offensive line coach with the Giants (2022), Panthers (2021) and Jaguars (2017-20).
-Assistant Offensive Line Coach Chris Watt: Interestingly, you don’t find many Eagles/Chargers connections to Shane Steichen on this Colts coaching staff. Watt is one of those though. Watt actually played for the Chargers from 2014-16, when Steichen was on the staff. Watt was at Notre Dame last year as a graduate assistant. His playing time at ND just missed overlapping with Quenton Nelson.
–Tight Ends Coach Tom Manning: Manning’s lone NFL job came with the Colts in 2018, when Eric Ebron had a Pro Bowl season. Colts players loved what Manning brought in his only year coaching in the NFL. He went back to college the next offseason to be Matt Campbell’s offensive coordinator at Iowa State. There, Manning called plays for Brock Purdy. So, Manning will bring play-calling experience and that college innovation background to another stint with the Colts.
-Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley: The Colts are bringing back their defensive coordinator. Bradley has several years of history with Shane Steichen from their days with the Chargers. Personnel and system wise, this retention keeps the Colts from changing their defensive approach for a third straight year.
-Defensive Line Coach Nate Ollie: It’ll be a second straight year for Ollie, a Ball State product, coaching the defensive line in Indy. Ollie and Gus Bradley brought more of an attacking/upfield first mindset to the Colts last year.
-Linebackers Coach/Run Game Coordinator Richard Smith: It was a nice debut season in Indy for Smith. The long-time NFL assistant came to the Colts with Gus Bradley and you saw a solid year from the linebackers sans Shaquille Leonard. Smith has coached in the NFL for since 1994.
-Assistant Linebackers Coach Cato June: The former Super Bowl winning linebacker for the Colts is back for a second season in Indy. Prior to coaching with the Colts, June spent several years coaching in college.
-Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus: Like Smith, Milus has extensive history with Bradley and was in Indianapolis last season. That makes 3 of the top 4 defensive assistants returning from the 2022 campaign. Milus has coached in the NFL for 23 seasons.
-Assistant Defensive Backs Coach Mike Mitchell: The three ex-Colts all are back on the coaching staff. Mitchell was a decade-long safety as a player and his main focus is there in the secondary.
-Special Teams Coordinator Brian Mason: In replacing Bubba Ventrone, Shane Steichen dipped into the local college ranks. Mason, a Zionsville native, comes to the Colts after being on Marcus Freeman’s staff at Notre Dame. The ND special teams group, especially the punt block unit, was a game-changer for the Irish this past season. Prior to ND, Mason was at Cincinnati with Luke Fickell, and the Bearcats program left a strong impression on Chris Ballard.
The Colts will return their entire strength and training staff from last season.
Other assistants returning from Frank Reich’s staff include Brian Bratton (offensive quality control/wide receivers), Joe Hastings (assistant special teams coach), Brent Jackson (defensive quality control).
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