Colts Unlikely To Conduct Third HC Interviews; Team Pivoting Away From Jeff Saturday?

The Colts have delivered this hiring period’s top non-Sean Payton-related headlines. Both the team’s steady interest in retaining Jeff Saturday and its connection with a third round of interviews have injected confusion into a drawn-out search.

As this process (presumably) hits the homestretch, neither may be in the equation any longer. Saturday is not expected to be named the full-time Colts head coach, Zak Keefer of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Colts are also unlikely to follow through with the rumored third sets of interviews. With the Colts’ second round of meetings lasting between 10 and 12 hours, it would seem unnecessary for the team to buck tradition and bring in candidates for third summits.

[RELATED: Who Will Become Next Colts HC?]

Jim Irsay‘s fondness for Saturday has kept the interim coach in the picture, with Keefer not completely ruling out another surprise decision from the owner. Nearly three months after GM Chris Ballard and others attempted to dissuade Irsay from naming Saturday interim HC, the owner heard more pitches against removing Saturday’s interim label. No team has promoted an interim coach to a full-time position since the Jaguars did so with Doug Marrone in 2017.

Saturday, who went 1-7 after moving from an ESPN analyst role to coaching his former team, being out of the running would ensure a more experienced coach leads the Colts in 2023. Among a host of finalists, one name might be worth monitoring. Irsay is believed to have flown to Philadelphia to meet with Eagles OC Shane Steichen ahead of his interview with Ballard the next day, Keefer adds. Steichen cannot be hired until after Super Bowl LVII. With the Colts not expected to make a hire until after Sunday’s season-ender, Steichen should probably be considered a true finalist. The Colts are believed to have winnowed down their list to a few candidates this week.

Steichen is likely one of the candidates who would plan to retain DC Gus Bradley. The Colts have prevented Bradley from exploring outside opportunities due to multiple candidates wanting to retain him. Several, in fact, want to keep not only Bradley but his defensive staff, according to Keefer. Steichen coached alongside Bradley with the Chargers from 2017-20, with the duo finishing that stay as an OC-DC combo. Raheem Morris coached with Bradley with the Buccaneers from 2006-08 as well, though Morris being a defensive coach would make Bradley an interesting fit, and was with Bisaccia last season in Las Vegas.

The prospect of leaving much of their defensive staff intact would be an interesting call for a team that went 4-12-1, though Bradley’s unit obviously presented fewer problems than the offense this season. While Eric Bieniemy interviewed with the Colts — the Chiefs OC’s lone meeting thus far in this process — Steichen and Brian Callahan are the only former offensive coordinators to have interviewed for the Indianapolis gig twice. Among those two, only Steichen has called plays previously. Fellow finalists Morris, Rich Bisaccia, Aaron Glenn and Don Martindale have expertise on the defensive side.

View Comments (3)