Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen was hired on February 14 but is already getting to work by sorting out his coaching staff.
The New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard tweeted on February 17 that New York Giants running backs coach DeAndre Smith will join the Colts in an unspecified role. Smith could fill the Colts’ vacant running backs coach position, however, since Scottie Montgomery joined the Detroit Lions in the same role on February 6.
Smith spent 22 years at the college level primarily coaching running backs before spending one season with the Giants. Both spent one season coaching together at UNLV in 2009, when Smith was coaching running backs and Steichen was an offensive grad assistant.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley was a Comeback Player of the Year candidate under Smith’s leadership. In 2022, Barkley ran for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns while catching 57 passes for 338 yards en route to his second Pro Bowl berth.
The Giants reached the NFC Divisional Round, where they eventually lost to Steichen — the former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator.
If Smith becomes the Colts’ running backs coach as expected, he will have the opportunity to revitalize running back Jonathan Taylor’s production.
Taylor was the NFL’s leader in rushing in 2021 but only notched 861 yards and four touchdowns for the 4-12-1 Colts last season. A nagging ankle issue did, however, force Taylor to miss six games.
Colts Hope to Fill Offensive Coordinator Spot
A high-profile position within the coaching staff that still needs to be addressed is offensive coordinator.
Indianapolis first requested to interview Jacksonville Jaguars’ passing game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter to become offensive coordinator on February 16. Shortly thereafter, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted that the Colts also asked to speak to Baltimore Ravens wide receivers coach Tee Martin for the vacant OC position.
FanSided’s Landon Oliver said Martin is a “fantastic coach,” adding that he helped develop quarterbacks during his coaching career.
“He’s a great developmental QB guy,” Oliver tweeted. “Been the QB Coach for the Elite 11 camp. Also was [Colts wide receiver] Michael Pittman Jr.’s Offensive Coordinator and WR Coach at USC [from 2016-2019].”
The pursuit for a new offensive coordinator comes as Indianapolis interim play caller Parks Frazier moved on to Carolina to join former Colts head coach Frank Reich’s staff.
Potential Offensive Line Coach Target
The Colts are also looking for a new offensive line coach.
With reports of the Houston Texans eyeing current Colts OL coach Chris Strausser, The Indianapolis Stars’ Nate Atkins said that offensive line coach “might be the most important” coaching hole remaining. He also tweeted that Eagles assistant Roy Istvan is considered a top candidate to fill the position.
Istvan has spent most of his career coaching college football but recently wrapped up his fourth season as Eagles assistant offensive line coach. The Eagles were 20th in the NFL in sacks allowed (44) in 2022; however, the unit produced three Pro Bowlers in center Jason Kelce, guard Landon Dickerson and tackle Lane Johnson.
Due to giving up an eyebrow-raising 60 sacks in 2022, the Colts could add extensive depth to its offensive line this offseason. Despite the unit’s struggles, guard Quenton Nelson made a fifth straight Pro Bowl and the team received increased production from its younger players. Rookie tackle Bernhard Raimann and second-year guard Will Fries each improved as the season went on.