The Indianapolis Colts started this offseason with one of the more extensive head coaching searches in NFL history. As the postseason has progressed, the list of candidates has been shrinking although not always primarily by Indianapolis’ choice.
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported on January 22 that San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans canceled his interview with the Colts and the Arizona Cardinals after already interviewing with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans the day prior.
Glazer tweeted that the reason for the cancelation was for Ryans to focus on San Francisco’s divisional matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s unclear if Ryans’ interview with the Colts will be rescheduled. San Francisco will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game on January 29.
DeMeco Ryans Cancels Interview With Colts
January can be a tricky time for NFL offensive and defensive coordinators. The most attractive coordinators to teams seeking a new head coach are often the ones who are employed by teams making deep playoff runs.
What that means is those coordinators have a responsibility to prepare for their next game while also interviewing for next season. That apparently became too much for Ryans, as he canceled not only the interview with Indianapolis but also Arizona.
On the surface, that’s all the canceled interview indicates — an effort from Ryans to stay dedicated to the 49ers.
Beneath the surface, though, there could be more than that.
Ryans interviewed with the Broncos and Texans,” wrote ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio. “He canceled the interviews with the Cardinals and Colts.
“In excluding Arizona and Indianapolis, Ryans may have considered both the likelihood of whether he’d get an offer, and whether he’d accept it.”
Florio called Ryans the “sentimental favorite” for the Texans. He played middle linebacker for Houston from 2006-11, making two Pro Bowl teams. Ryans also won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006.
It will be interesting to see if Ryans’ interview with the Colts is rescheduled. For now, though, Indianapolis may need to move on to other candidates. It’s not as if the organization doesn’t have other choices.
Other Head Coaching Candidates for Colts
In addition to the two internal candidates, the Colts are reportedly considering 10 other candidates for their head coach opening.
Those candidates are nearly evenly split between offense and defense. Four of the 10 external candidates are offensive coordinators while five are defensive coordinators. The last one is a special teams coordinator.
Indianapolis’ internal candidates are Jeff Saturday and Bubba Ventrone.
Under Ryans in 2022, the 49ers defense finished the regular season first in points allowed and yards allowed. San Francisco also ended the season second in run defense and first in takeaways.
The great 49ers defense has made Ryans, who has served on San Francisco’s coaching staff for six years, into one of the top head coach candidates this offseason.
But as evident by Indianapolis’ extensive search, there are a lot of quality candidates. A lot of those candidates are available right now too. Of the 12 coaches the Colts have already interviewed for the opening, only three of them are still coaching in the playoffs.
Ryans’ rejection was tough but not heartbreaking for the Colts.