Colts Rumors

Eagles Hire Jonathan Gannon As DC; Latest On OC Search

The Eagles have hired Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon as their new defensive coordinator, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Albert Breer of SI.com reported yesterday that Gannon had emerged as the favorite for the job and that all signs were pointing towards a union between him and Philadelphia (Twitter link).

Both Rapoport and Breer classify Gannon as a coveted addition, with Breer noting that the former Colts staffer had multiple coordinator offers. We knew that both the Chargers and the Bears were considering Gannon, and it’s possible that those two clubs extended him offers, along with the Eagles.

Of course, Gannon may have chosen the Eagles because of his familiarity with new Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni, who served as the Colts’ OC over the past three seasons. Sirianni was clearly a fan of Gannon’s work, as he was a key part of a staff that helped turn Indianapolis’ defense into one of the league’s top units over the past several seasons. Under Gannon’s watch, cornerback Xavier Rhodes revived his career in 2020, while fellow CB Kenny Moore and safety Khari Willis also turned in strong seasons.

Meanwhile, Sirianni is acting quickly to fill out the rest of his staff. Mike Klis of 9News.com reports that the Eagles are meeting with Broncos RB coach Curtis Modkins about their OC opening, while Rapoport notes that the club is also interviewing Chargers OC Shane Steichen (Twitter links).

Modkins is the more experienced of the two, having served as running backs coach or offensive coordinator with seven different NFL teams since 2008. But Steichen is at least partially credited for Justin Herbert‘s terrific rookie season in Los Angeles in 2020, and he and Sirianni did work together on the Chargers’ offensive staff from 2014-17.

In related news, the Eagles considered interviewing Josh McCown for their head coaching position before hiring Sirianni, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. McCown, who is now under consideration for the Texans’ HC job, impressed Eagles brass with his leadership skills and football acumen during his recent stint as a Philadelphia quarterback, and the club believes he has what it takes to be an NFL coach.

But the fact that he had no coaching experience of any kind led the Eagles to move in a different direction.

Colts GM Chris Ballard Discusses Draft, Doubts That He’ll Select QB In First Round

With Philip Rivers retiring and Jacoby Brissett hitting free agency, the Colts will surely be looking for a quarterback this offseason. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the organization will take a signal-caller with their first-round pick. Speaking to reporters this week, general manager Chris Ballard said he doubts a worthy quarterback will fall to the Colts No. 21.

“It’s a good class,” Ballard said (via Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star). “It’s a good class. I’ll say that. They all get pushed up now. We’re seeing it. They all get pushed up. A little bit of luck has to come into play.”

Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, or Justin Fields are expected to be top-10 picks, meaning Ballard would have to pull off a significant trade to acquire any of those top-tier quarterback prospects. The general manager also made it clear that the organization wouldn’t select a quarterback for the sake of selecting a quarterback, perhaps taking them out of the running for second-tier QBs like Trey Lance and Mac Jones.

“Go back and look at first-round quarterbacks drafted over the past 10 years. Everyone just thinks you take one, and you’re going to fix the problem,” Ballard said. “Look, taking one will get y’all off my (butt) for a little bit, but the second that guy doesn’t play well, I’m gonna be the first one run out the building.

“Go back and look at first-round quarterbacks drafted over the past 10 years. Everyone just thinks you take one, and you’re going to fix the problem. Look, taking one will get y’all off my (butt) for a little bit, but the second that guy doesn’t play well, I’m gonna be the first one run out the building.”

The Colts currently have one quarterback on their active roster: 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason. The Washington product didn’t get into a game during his rookie season, and the team will surely provide him with some competition for the starting gig. However, that competition may not end up coming via the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts To Promote Marcus Brady To OC

The Colts are moving swiftly to fill Nick Sirianni‘s position. Frank Reich intends to promote quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady to offensive coordinator, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets.

Sirianni left after three seasons in this role to become Eagles head coach. Brady, 41, has been with the Colts throughout Reich’s three-year tenure as well. This marks the second promotion for Brady since he arrived in Indianapolis. Reich bumped him up from assistant quarterbacks coach in 2019.

While this will be Brady’s first time as an NFL OC, he served in this capacity for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts from 2012-17. Reich works as Indianapolis’ play-caller, but he and Brady will soon be in charge of working with a new starting quarterback. Philip Rivers retired earlier this week, and Jacoby Brissett will be a free agent in March.

During his time as Colts QBs coach, Brady has worked with three starting QBs — Rivers, Brissett and Andrew Luck. The Colts ventured back to the playoffs, with Rivers completing a bounce-back campaign, and surprised most of the football-following world in 2018 when Luck returned and spearheaded an Indy return to the postseason. The Jaguars were also interested in Brady, requesting an interview, but they are set to hire Darrell Bevell for that post.

Coaching Rumors: 49ers, Chargers, Jaguars, Eagles

The 49ers‘ staff is starting to come together, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes. Chris Foerster has been bumped up to primary offensive line coach while Rich Scangarello will return as the quarterbacks coach. Scangarello served as SF’s QBs coach in 2017 and 2018 before the Broncos tapped him as their OC in 2019. After a rough time in Denver and one year in Philly, he’s headed back to the Bay Area.

Here’s a look at the latest coach and coordinator news:

  • The Chargers will interview Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon for their defensive coordinator job, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Gannon is also being considered by the Bears for their DC role.
  • Meanwhile, new Chargers coach Brandon Staley is bringing Rams assistant Joe Barry along for the ride as his defensive passing game coordinator and linebackers coach (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • The Jaguars have requested an interview with Colts quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady for their offensive coordinator job, as Pelissero tweets.
  • The Eagles are interested in interviewing Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel, according to Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Fassel, the son of ex-Giants head coach Jim Fassel, spent eight years as the Rams’ ST coordinator. He also served as the Rams’ interim head coach for the final three games of 2016.

Colts QB Philip Rivers Retires From NFL

The Colts planned to give Philip Rivers at least a month to mull his NFL future. It turns out, he only needed about a week to make his decision. The star quarterback will retire from the game after 17 seasons. 

It’s just time,” Rivers told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s just right…What has helped me come to this (decision) is the growing desire to coach high school football. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been growing. I can’t wait.”

Rivers spent the majority of his career with the Chargers before hooking on with the Colts in 2020. In his lone Indy season, he led the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. Even at his advanced age, Rivers managed to top 4,000 passing yards for 4,169 yards and 24 touchdowns against eleven interceptions. After completing 68% of his regular season throws, Rivers & Co. came up short against the Bills in the Wild Card round.

Rivers will coach high school football in Alabama this year, even though he had multiple TV opportunities. He also had plenty of opportunities still waiting for him in the NFL. The Colts seemed interested in an 18th season from No. 17, and they weren’t alone. Still, at the age of 39, Rivers is ready to move on to the next chapter.

I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season,” Rivers said in a statement. “Thank you to all my coaches that helped me grow as a player and person. Thanks to the support staff. I appreciate the opposing defenses making it challenging physically and mentally every week. … I also enjoyed the banter. I appreciate the referees for putting up with all my fussing. I think I was right most of the time dadgummit!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles To Interview Nick Sirianni

The Eagles will interview Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni for their head coaching vacancy on Tuesday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Sirianni is a logical candidate for the Birds, who are looking for a coach that can get Carson Wentz get back on track. 

Sirianni, 39, spent five years with the Chargers before joining Frank Reich‘s Colts staff. The young OC guided the Colts through their transition period after Andrew Luck‘s retirement and kept things afloat in 2020 with Philip Rivers under center. Under Sirianni’s watch, Rivers completed 68% of his throws for 4,169 yards with 24 touchdowns against eleven interceptions. The Colts went on to make the playoffs, though they fell to the Bills in the Wild Card round.

The Eagles have cast a wide net in this cycle, as shown in PFR’s 2021 Head Coaching Search Tracker:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2021 NFL Draft Order

With the Divisional Round in the books, the 2021 NFL Draft order is mostly complete. The Rams, Browns, Ravens, and Saints now have their draft spots locked in, though the Rams’ first-round pick belongs to Urban Meyer and the Jaguars. The Rams traded those rights to Jacksonville as a part of the Jalen Ramsey blockbuster.

Here’s the updated draft order, through the top 28:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. New York Jets
3. Miami Dolphins (via Texans)
4. Atlanta Falcons
5. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Detroit Lions
8. Carolina Panthers
9. Denver Broncos
10. Dallas Cowboys
11. New York Giants
12. San Francisco 49ers
13. Los Angeles Chargers
14. Minnesota Vikings
15. New England Patriots
16. Arizona Cardinals
17. Las Vegas Raiders
18. Miami Dolphins
19. Washington Football Team
20. Chicago Bears
21. Indianapolis Colts
22. Tennessee Titans
23. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams)
26. Cleveland Browns
27. Baltimore Ravens
28. New Orleans Saints

Texans Interview Matt Eberflus For HC

Colts DC Matt Eberflus has reversed course. After he initially turned down the Texans’ request for a head coaching interview, Eberflus did indeed meet with Houston brass, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). That interview took place yesterday.

Typically, a team with a quarterback like Deshaun Watson is an ideal landing spot for a new head coach. But reports of Watson’s disenchantment with the Texans have been a major part of the NFL news cycle in recent weeks, and questions about the competence of team ownership have also been raised. Combined with the fact that Houston is currently without a first- or second-round selection in this year’s draft, those troubles indicate that the Texans’ HC post is not particularly desirable.

On the other hand, Houston also appears to be Eberflus’ last chance to get a head coaching job this cycle. He took interviews with the Chargers and Jets, but Los Angeles appears to be favoring Bills OC Brian Daboll, and New York has already hired 49ers DC Robert Saleh. And given that a top HC candidate one year might be completely off the radar the next, Eberflus could be trying to strike while the iron is hot.

The Colts’ defense has become one of the league’s top units under Eberflus’ watch, and since Houston’s incumbent offensive coordinator, Tim Kelly, is a favorite of Watson’s, adding a defensive-minded HC who is willing to keep Kelly aboard might make the most sense. Bills DC Leslie Frazier and Rams DC Brandon Staley are also on the Texans’ radar.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Preparing To Let Marlon Mack Walk?

Prior to Marlon Mack‘s Achilles tear ending his season after one game, the Colts had not entered extension discussions with the veteran running back. They may well be prepared to let Mack walk in free agency.

The Colts saw second-round pick Jonathan Taylor finish his rookie year strong, and the team has Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins under contract for one more season apiece. This already pointed to Mack needing to find a new team this year, and GM Chris Ballard is not sure the Colts will be able to provide the contract the four-year veteran will seek.

Marlon Mack broke my heart. That sucked,” Ballard said of Mack’s injury, via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (on Twitter). “I watched him work his butt off here all season to get back. Marlon Mack deserves a contract, unequivocally. He deserves a good contract. I don’t know if we are going to be able to do that here.”

A few members of the standout 2017 running back draft class received extensions thus far. The Panthers (Christian McCaffrey), Saints (Alvin Kamara), Vikings (Dalvin Cook) and Bengals (Joe Mixon) authorized new deals for their starters. But Mack, Aaron Jones and Chris Carson are unsigned for 2021. Cardinals transition-tagged back Kenyan Drake is set to join this trio in unrestricted free agency. Broncos back Phillip Lindsay will also be a restricted free agent, adding to a crowded interesting marketplace.

Mack, 25 in March, reeled off a 1,000-yard season (in 14 games) in 2019 and surpassed 900 yards (in 12 contests) as Indianapolis’ starter the year prior. However, the Achilles injury may force the former fourth-round pick to accept a one-year deal and would figure to lower his price on a multiyear pact. That could keep him in play for the Colts, but their backfield depth points to Mack playing elsewhere next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2021 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Exiting the regular season, six teams are searching for new head coaches. That number is up from last season but not quite as high as 2019, though there may well be more vacancies that emerge during the playoffs.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-24-21 (11:20am CT)

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles