The Indianapolis Colts continue to conduct the lengthiest search of any team with a head coaching vacancy. After casting the widest of nets (13 initial candidates), seven candidates qualified for a second round of interviews. Those candidates included interim head coach Jeff Saturday, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, new Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. The Colts possess candidates from all types of coaching backgrounds, but Steichen is the most impressive candidate. The Colts should hire Steichen.
Quinn and Ryans are obviously no longer candidates. Quinn decided to remain in Dallas as their defensive coordinator, and Ryans canceled his interview with the Colts after agreeing to become Houston’s next head coach. The Colts may still conduct a third round of interviews, according to multiple reports. Steichen remains the best man for the job.
The Colts are unable to hire Steichen until the conclusion of Super Bowl LVII. Steichen, who will coach the Eagles’ offense against the Kansas City Chiefs on Super Bowl Sunday, is worth waiting patiently for. Philadelphia’s high-octane offense is thriving under Steichen’s tutelage.
Steichen has played a large role in Philadelphia’s success. The Eagles finished third in total yards gained per contest (389.1), ninth in passing yards per game (241.5), fifth in rushing yards per outing (147.6), and third in points scored per game (28.1). The Eagles have scored 38 and 31 points in back-to-back blowout postseason victories.
Nothing places a bow on Steichen’s resume like the development of third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. A dual-threat quarterback that had plenty of flaws coming out of Oklahoma and Alabama, Hurts has developed into an MVP candidate. Steichen helped head coach Nick Sirianni craft an offense that’s tailor-made to Hurts’ skill set. Hurts responded by posting career-highs in completion percentage (66.5), passing yards (3,701), passing touchdowns (22), yards per attempt (8.0), rushing touchdowns (13), and quarterback rating (101.5).
The work Steichen has done with a raw quarterback such as Hurts should matter to the Colts. Scratch that, it should matter A LOT. The Colts own the No. 4 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. That places them within striking distance to draft Bryce Young, Will Levis, or C.J. Stroud. In-house scout Joe Marino has the Colts drafting Stroud in his latest NFL mock draft. Of all candidates in Indianapolis, Steichen has proven he’s best served to oversee the development of a young signal-caller. What does Saturday know about developing quarterbacks? Playing alongside Peyton Manning doesn’t count.
Indications are that Colts owner Jim Irsay prefers to hire Saturday, however. Perhaps general manager Chris Ballard is spearheading multiple interview rounds in an attempt to change Irsay’s mind. Removing the interim tag and appointing Saturday would qualify as malpractice. Saturday’s initial hiring was shocking given his lack of experience. Promoting him would be appalling after the Colts went 1-7 throughout Saturday’s eight games in charge. Irsay appears to hold a legitimate affinity for Saturday.
Three potential interview rounds and 13 candidates are ridiculous enough. It’ll appear significantly more ridiculous if the Colts simply promote Saturday. Steichen would be an appropriate choice.
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