The Colts have zeroed in on Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen as their top head coaching candidate, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). It seems Indianapolis is pretty confident it will land Steichen, as the club has told other candidates it is moving in a different direction.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com confirms that Jeff Saturday, who finished the 2022 season as the club’s interim head coach, has been told that he is out of the running (Twitter link). That will likely come as welcome news for those within the organization who have attempted to dissuade owner Jim Irsay from removing the interim tag from Saturday’s title.
Irsay’s controversial Saturday hire was the precursor to a long and expansive head coaching search that at one time appeared as if it might lead to a rare third round of interviews. Earlier this week, we learned that the Colts were unlikely to go that route, and that the club had whittled its list to five finalists.
And if Indianapolis can land Steichen, it will be difficult to criticize the result, even if the process leading up to it was a bit unorthodox. Steichen, who also secured HC interviews with the Panthers and Texans in this year’s cycle, has quickly turned into a hot commodity on the head coaching market. The 37-year-old was the Chargers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 — which happened to be Justin Herbert‘s impressive rookie year — and he joined Philadelphia in the same capacity in 2021. Eagles HC Nick Sirianni handed Steichen the play-calling reins midway through the 2021 campaign, and the Eagles’ pivot to a run-heavy offense drove them to that season’s playoff bracket. Jalen Hurts’ progress as a passer this season helped the team secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed and a trip to today’s Super Bowl.
The Eagles finished the 2022 regular season third in both total offense and points per game, and Steichen’s work with Herbert and Hurts is surely viewed favorably by a Colts outfit that may well add a quarterback in the first round of this year’s draft. Plus, it is clear that Indianapolis wants to retain incumbent defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and Steichen — who worked with Bradley when both men were on the Chargers’ coaching staff from 2017-20 — would presumably be amenable to that.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is in danger of losing both of its top coordinators. A report this morning indicated that the Cardinals have requested a head coaching interview with Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon, and given that Arizona has waited until it could interview Gannon before naming a new bench boss, one has to assume that he is the favorite to land the post (interestingly, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported that Gannon was also on the radar for the Colts’ HC position, though it does not appear as if that is still the case).
If Steichen does indeed become Indianapolis’ new head coach, then Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson would likely become Philly’s OC, as Schefter adds in a follow-up tweet. Johnson interviewed with the Rams and Jets when those clubs were still looking for a new offensive coordinator, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reported before the Steichen news broke that the Ravens are expected to speak with him for their own OC vacancy (Twitter link).
Whether or not Johnson speaks with Baltimore in light of today’s developments remains to be seen.