The Indianapolis Colts reportedly have a front runner for their head coach opening.
Multiple reports on February 12, including one from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, confirmed the Colts have identified Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen as their target to be the franchise’s next head coach.
Schefter reported that the Colts notified the other candidates of the team’s desire to hire Steichen, who will be coaching for the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Indianapolis cannot officially hire Steichen until after the game.
Should the Colts finalize a contract to make Steichen, it will be the second time in six years that the team hires the Eagles offensive coordinator as their head coach.
How Steichen Fits With the Colts
Steichen appears to be a natural fit for head coach of the Colts.
While Steichen was never an offensive coordinator under Frank Reich, who was fired as Indianapolis’ head coaching role in November, he is technically a descendant from Reich’s coaching tree. Steichen served as Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator under Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni in 2021 and 2022. Sirianni, as most Colts fans will remember, was Colts offensive coordinator under Reich from 2018-20.
Prior to joining Sirianni’s staff, Steichen served on the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff from 2011-12 and then again from 2014-20. Steichen coached under Reich, who was Chargers offensive coordinator from 2014-15.
In 2020, Steichen served as Chargers offensive coordinator. As OC of the Eagles in 2022, Philadelphia finished third in total offense and third in points.
The Eagles running game has been particularly strong under Steichen. During 2021, the Eagles were first in rushing and fourth in yards per carry while finishing second in rushing attempts. This past season, the Eagles dropped to 13th in yards per carry, but they were again a Top 5 unit in the other major rushing categories.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts also took off during his second year in Steichen’s offense. Hurts’ completion percentage jumped from 61.3% in 2021 to 66.5% this past season. He also saw his yards per attempt average increase from 7.3 to 8.0 and passing touchdowns go up from 16 to 22. Furthermore, Hurts declined his interceptions from 9 to 6.
Hurts was an intricate part of Philadelphia’s ground attack as well, running for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns. Hurts finished second to Patrick Mahomes for the NFL MVP award and third for the AP Offensive Player of the Year award.
In addition to developing Hurts, Steichen worked with Justin Herbert as his offensive coordinator during his first NFL season. The Chargers finished ninth in total offense with Steichen as offensive coordinator in 2020.
Steichen was also Philip Rivers’ quarterbacks coach from 2016-19.
Colts Pass On Hiring Jeff Saturday
With the Colts zeroing in on Steichen, Indianapolis told interim head coach Jeff Saturday that he will not be retained. Indianapolis has had a long head coach search, and a various parts of the process, it appeared Saturday was the front runner.
But his 1-7 record as interim head coach may have been a big enough deterrent for the Colts to look elsewhere. Saturday led the Colts to a victory in his first NFL game as a coach, but they lost seven straight following that win.
The losing streak included losing to the Minnesota Vikings after holding a 33-0 halftime lead. That loss broke the NFL record for the largest blown lead in league history.
The Colts have reportedly chosen Steichen instead of not just Saturday but also six other finalists for the head coaching job.