Among the memorable lines from Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard’s memorable press conference addressed the Colts having to settle for their second option at head coach.
“Just because you’re the first choice doesn’t make you the right choice,” Ballard said. “It’s about getting the right guy. Sometimes things work out the way they’re supposed to work out.”
Josh McDaniels agreed to the Colts job and then backed out hours later, a stunning reversal that left the Colts embarrassed and needing a new coach. The Colts, in the most backward way possible, got lucky. McDaniels clearly wasn’t sold on the job, and now Indianapolis can find someone who will be. It’s hard to believe McDaniels was the right man for the job if he backed out like he did. As Ballard said, this can still work out in the best way possible.
The Colts are in a rare spot of being able to take their time, considering the other 31 head-coaching jobs are filled. However, they had to start over considering in the first wave of interviews they were down to McDaniels and Mike Vrabel, and Vrabel is the Tennessee Titans’ new coach.
Here are the Colts’ reported candidates:
Frank Reich, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator: Reich will interview with the Colts on Friday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said. Reich first has to attend a championship parade in Philadelphia on Thursday. Reich seems like the easiest candidate to sell after the McDaniels fiasco. Although Doug Pederson is the primary play-caller for the Eagles, Reich helps devise an offense that grew at an impressive rate last season. What better way to move on from McDaniels than to take the offensive coordinator of the team who beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl? For those worried that Reich hasn’t even called plays, Pederson didn’t call plays under Andy Reid and in just two seasons with Philadelphia he is firmly among the top five or so coaches in the NFL. Reich also has plenty of NFL experience as the Buffalo Bills’ longtime backup quarterback. It seems like he’d be a good fit to work with Andrew Luck, as long as Luck is healthy.
Dan Campbell, New Orleans Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach: The most notable line on Campbell’s coaching resume is a 12-game stint as Miami Dolphins interim coach in 2015, after Joe Philbin was fired. Campbell went 5-7 but made an impression. He became quickly known for high-intensity practices that aren’t the norm in the NFL anymore. The NFL Network said the Colts requested an interview with Campbell, who played for three teams over 10 NFL seasons at tight end. If the Colts want a jolt to their culture, maybe Campbell is the best option.
Leslie Frazier, Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator: The Colts asked for permission to interview Frazier, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported. Frazier has plenty of head-coaching experience, which some teams covet. He went 21-32-1 in four seasons as Minnesota Vikings coach. He might help the Colts’ defense, which has consistently been below average the past few years. It would appear the defensive philosophies of Frazier and new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus match up, which matters since Eberflus was hired to run McDaniels’ defense and Ballard said Eberflus will stay on as defensive coordinator. Frazier might not be the most exciting candidate given his record as Vikings head coach, but he makes sense for his experience and defensive background.
Other candidates could emerge, most notably Kansas City Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub. Toub has gotten interviews before and has a history with Ballard from when they were both with the Chiefs. The Colts will be prudent when hiring their coach, especially after the first attempt went as poorly as it did.
– – – – – – –