Colts Request to Interview 3 More Head Coach Candidates: Report

Chris Ballard

Getty Colts general manager Chris Ballard is helping lead the charge to find the franchise's next head coach.

The Indianapolis Colts are fully engaged in the search for their next head coach, as the team has already completed seven interviews but requested to interview three more candidates on January 16.

Per tweets from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Colts submitted formal requests to speak to San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero also reported that Indianapolis requested an interview with New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka.

Each of these coordinators remain in playoff contention, as the 49ers will play either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Dallas Cowboys and the Giants will take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Round.

Over the past seven days, Indianapolis scheduled and conducted interviews with Los Angeles Rams DC Raheem Morris, Eagles OC Shane Steichen as well as Lions OC Ben Johnson and DC Aaron Glenn. The Colts also spoke to their own special teams coordinator in Bubba Ventrone, Denver Broncos DC Ejiro Evero and Kansas City Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy.

The Colts’ New Candidates

Ryans has led the 49ers defense for the past two seasons.

This year, the 49ers’ defense led the league in allowing the fewest points per game (16.3) and fewest yards per game (300.6). San Francisco also had the highest turnover ratio at +13, as its defense forced 30 takeaways.

Ryans is also in high demand, as Schefter’s tweet said he will interview with the Broncos on January 19 followed by interviews with the Colts, Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals.

The Colts will also speak to Martindale, who spent four years as the Baltimore Ravens DC before taking the Giants DC job this season.

The Giants did not put up flashy defensive statistics like the 49ers in 2022, but in the past, Martindale has led three defenses who have been top five in fewest points allowed

Martindale’s OC counterpart is Kafka, who has helped improve the Giants’ offense. During the 2022 regular season, New York ranked No. 18 in yards and No. 15 in points per game; last season, they were 31st in both categories.

Kafka was also requested by the Carolina Panthers and Texans for an interview, but Giants head coach Brian Daboll said Kafka won’t interview before New York’s next playoff game.

Indianapolis Could Continue Interviewing More Coaches

Just a week into the offseason, Colts owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard are clearly wasting no time trying to find the team’s next head coach. Once Ryans, Kafka and Martindale are interviewed, the Colts will officially have spoken to 10 candidates, and more interviews could occur in the coming weeks.

The Athletic’s Zak Keefer tweeted on January 16 that he “wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more [interview] requests this week, after tonight’s (Cowboys at Buccaneers) playoff game.”

The Colts could potentially interview two Cowboys coordinators who are in demand: OC Kellen Moore and DC Dan Quinn. Per reports, the Panthers requested to interview Moore on January 11 and the Broncos are speaking to Quinn on January 20. Moore was a head coach candidate for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason.

During an ESPN interview in December, Irsay said he is embracing the search for the team’s next head coach.

“I will go into it (the searching process) fiercely open-minded and I’ll be looking for the best direction for us to win,” Irsay said.

One coach, however, that has not yet been interviewed is Indianapolis interim head coach Jeff Saturday. In the same ESPN interview, Irsay said Saturday is an “outstanding candidate” and remains competitive for the full-time position.

With a 1-7 record in 2022, Saturday became the first Colts head coach to amass a losing record since Lindy Infante in 1996-1997. Now, with the Colts’ increasing number of potential candidates, it will be interesting to see if Irsay and Ballard retain Saturday in the same role.

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