Shane Steichen Opens up on Colts Head Coach Job, QB Evaluation

Shane Steichen

Getty New Colts head coach Shane Steichen (right) led quarterback Jalen Hurts, center Jason Kelce and the Eagles' offense from 2021-2022. Kelce hosted Steichen on his podcast on April 5, 2023.

After departing from the Philadelphia Eagles as offensive coordinator this offseason, Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen is gearing up for his first spell at the helm of an NFL organization.

He still found time to reconnect with someone who is now one of his former players: Eagles center Jason Kelce. The pair spoke about several topics on an episode of Kelce’s ‘New Heights’ podcast.

One subject Steichen touched on was his progress as a first-time head coach. So far, the former UNLV quarterback has mostly focused on meeting players and personnel members, assembling a coaching staff and conducting interviews with draft prospects.

Steichen’s next phase as a new head coach is to continue preparing for the draft and upcoming season. That includes finding which prospects fit best in his offense.

Despite the many responsibilities to keep up with, Steichen said he is savoring the opportunity to lead an entire 53-man roster.

“Obviously it’s a tall task, you’ve got to be ready to go,” Steichen told Kelce in the 35-minute interview. “Every day you’ve got to be intentional about what you’re trying to get done so guys can be on the same page.

Steichen also touted preparation as a key emphasis in order for Indianapolis to be successful. He said between coaches, players, trainers and front office members, everyone within the Colts organization has to be on the same page.

“That’s why this game is so fun — it’s a team sport,” Steichen said. “I think the more help you have around you, I think that’s where it really grows and you trust people around you.”

How Does Shane Steichen Evaluate Talent?

The combine’s legitimacy to analyze draft prospects has been a recently-debated topic in sports media. Despite the controversy, Steichen believes it’s a useful tool to look at players.

“What I enjoy about the combine is really getting to go see these guys in person, like, see their movement skills on the field,” Steichen said. “As many times as you can see these guys in person, it helps the evaluation process in my opinion.”

Steichen was hired just a couple of weeks before the start of the NFL combine, allowing him time to prepare for the prospects. It’s easier when the combine is hosted at your home stadium, too.

But the combine isn’t the only method Steichen utilizes to watch draft prospects.

“So seeing them — here (at the combine), boom, going to their pro days, whatever it may be,” Steichen told Kelce. “As many times as you can see these guys in person to get a feel for them because, obviously, it’s a big deal to get drafted and you want to make sure you get it right.”

Steichen said depending on the position, he values fundamentals when evaluating prospects. He acknowledged that he pivots toward players that have a “great feel” for the game, especially when it stands out on game and practice film.

The big question this offseason for the Colts, however, is what they will do at quarterback.

The team has been vocal about its desire to develop a rookie quarterback, but rumors of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson getting traded have picked up momentum in recent weeks.

The Colts signed free agent quarterback Gardner Minshew on March 17, but he is likely to serve in a bridge or backup role. Ultimately, it’s unknown which signal caller the team will choose.

With that being said, Kelce asked Steichen about which trait he values most in a quarterback.

“Accuracy is huge to me,” Steichen said. “At the end of the day, I think you’ve got to be able to throw it accurately, right on time, anticipate with rhythm, right? That comes from repetition too.”

Steichen has had previous success with different-style quarterbacks. Justin Herbert broke rookie passing records in 2020 and Jalen Hurts was the MVP runner-up in 2022.

During those years, Steichen was the play caller. That will continue in Indianapolis, as Steichen said he will call plays with Jim Bob Cooter as his offensive coordinator.

Shane Steichen Emphasizes Offensive Line Play

Upon his hire, Steichen reached out to Colts players to introduce himself. Two Pro Bowlers that Steichen addressed by name were center Ryan Kelly and left guard Quenton Nelson.

Steichen used the word “tough” to describe the offensive line and noted it’s one of the most important units in Indianapolis.

In 2021 and 2022 (Steichen’s tenure in Philadelphia), the Eagles were able to instill a physical mentality up front with Kelce in the middle. Steichen said he wants to do something similar in Indianapolis.

“There was a presence about you guys (in Philadelphia) that when you stepped on the field, it was like, ‘Hey, here we freaking go. You ain’t stopping us,’” Steichen told Kelce. “And I think we have that here with those two guys [Nelson and Kelly] and the rest of those guys.”

Clearly, Steichen wants to amend an offensive line that struggled in 2022. The Colts gave up 60 sacks and committed a league-high 34 turnovers (20 interceptions and 14 fumbles).

Steichen said the team’s offensive line will need to rely on relentless physicality in order to dominate the trenches.

“When we show up, run or pass, we’re putting hands on and here we come,” Steichen said. “That’s the mindset and mentality of an offensive line.”

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