Scottie Montgomery

Colts Execs Attempted To Dissuade Jim Irsay From Jeff Saturday Hire

Of the 43 interim head coaches hired this century, the Colts’ Jeff Saturday move generated by far the most attention. Saturday’s inexperience headlined last week’s NFL news cycle, and high-ranking Colts staffers aimed to convince Jim Irsay to go in a different direction.

Both GM Chris Ballard and team president Pete Ward expressed reservations about Irsay’s plan to hire Saturday, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Others joined Ballard, who is in his sixth year as GM, and Ward, who has been with the Colts since before their 1984 Indianapolis move, in advising against the decision. But Irsay steadfastly pulled the trigger on Saturday, who is now 1-0 as Colts HC.

Irsay called Saturday during the Colts’ Week 9 loss to the Patriots, discussing the team’s protections. That discussion led to an offer to become Indianapolis’ interim HC. Had Saturday not accepted the job, Irsay would not have fired Frank Reich, Zak Keefer of The Athletic notes (subscription required). That points to Irsay’s conviction on the inexperienced coach while also revealing an obvious lack of desire to promote one of Reich’s assistants to the post.

[RELATED: Irsay Reaffirms Commitment To Ballard For 2023]

Some of Reich’s assistants have expressed displeasure with Irsay’s call, and it is safe to say the Colts’ staff will look considerably different next season. Following last week’s report of quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich turning down the opportunity to call plays, Rapoport and Pelissero confirm as much and note the Colts’ play-calling offer did not include any adjustments to his current contract. Milanovich, a former Grey Cup-winning head coach, has been Indy’s QBs coach since 2021, when the team promoted Marcus Brady to replace Nick Sirianni. The Colts fired Brady earlier this season.

Milanovich and running backs coach Scottie Montgomery — each of whom having play-calling experience, though most of it coming outside the NFL — will play a big role in game-planning, Saturday said. But Parks Frazier has made the unusual leap from assistant QBs coach to play-caller.

Saturday also had the freedom to bench Sam Ehlinger and reinstall Matt Ryan as the starter, a choice Irsay does not appear to have made available for Reich. The five-year Colts HC did not back the Irsay-driven pivot to Ehlinger, and Keefer adds the players were not behind the Ryan benching as well. Despite Ryan’s nine interceptions and 11 fumbles through seven games, Keefer notes the Colts’ roster viewed the veteran as the player who gave the team its best chance to win. Recovered from his shoulder injury, Ryan received first-team reps during Colts practice last week, Keefer tweets.

The Colts did enjoy the opportunity of facing a Raiders defense that has slipped from below average — under current Colts DC Gus Bradley — in 2021 to one of the league’s worst units. Las Vegas ranks 28th in both points allowed and total defense. The Colts still entered Week 10 as underdogs, and their Saturday-Frazier-Ryan direction nevertheless led to a victory. Moving to 4-5-1, the Colts remain a fringe AFC contender — record-wise, at least — and outings like Sunday’s will provide ammunition for Irsay’s hope of Saturday sticking around beyond 2022.

No interim HC has been retained since Doug Marrone kept the Jaguars’ reins, after the team fired Bradley, in 2016. Saturday moving into position to buck this trend would add to the scrutiny engulfing the Colts, but it is safe to say traditional norms regarding interim HCs do not apply here. This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting interim stretches in modern NFL history.

Coaching Notes: Panthers, Browns, Chargers

Scottie Montgomery got a second interview with the Panthers. The Colts RBs coach spent today speaking with the organization, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). Montgomery previously met with the organization virtually.

Montgomery may now be best known for being Jonathan Taylor‘s position coach — a position that recently involved HBO screen time. The second-year back rocketed to an All-Pro perch in 2021, winning the rushing title by nearly 600 yards. Montgomery also has prior NFL experience, having coached an acclaimed group of Steelers wide receivers — Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders among them — from 2010-12.

The Panthers interviewed seven coaches for the job previous held by Joe Brady. Montgomery is in a group that includes Jay Gruden, Ben McAdoo, Luke Getsy, Tim Kelly, Mike Groh, and Klint Kubiak.

More coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Browns defensive line coach Chris Kiffin is leaving the organization. Per Bruce Feldman of TheAthletic.com (and passed along by Myles Simmons of ProFootballTalk.com), Kiffin is heading to Ole Miss to be the team’s co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Chris Kiffin is the younger brother of Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin. The younger Kiffin spent the past two seasons in Cleveland.
  • The Chargers recently fired special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). After spending the 2020 season as the Cardinals assistant ST coach, Swinton got the head gig in Los Angeles in 2021. The team has already started looking for a replacement, as they’ve interviewed Giants special teams coach Thomas McGaughey (via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com).
  • McGaughey also got an interview for the Panther ST coach vacancy, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Carolina is also interviewing former Bears special teams coordinator Chris Tabor and former Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon (via Schefter on Twitter). Last week, the Panthers fired three assistant coaches, including special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn.

Panthers To Interview Colts’ Scottie Montgomery For OC Job

The Panthers’ offensive coordinator search initially centered on former head coaches, with Bill O’Brien and Jay Gruden first popping up to succeed Joe Brady. This process has moved to lower-profile coaches.

Colts running backs coach Scottie Montgomery will interview for the Carolina OC role, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Montgomery will follow former Eagles OC Mike Groh and Vikings OC Klint Kubiak in doing so. The Panthers also reached out to Texans QBs coach Pep Hamilton, a former OC.

Matt Rhule said recently he would like an experienced coordinator, preferably one who has done that job in the NFL. Montgomery is the only member of this group that has not yet risen to the OC level in the league, but the former Broncos wide receiver has extensive experience in college and in North Carolina. Montgomery, 43, served as East Carolina’s head coach from 2016-18 and also worked as Duke’s OC in the mid-2010s. Ahead of his 2021 move to Indianapolis, Montgomery spent two seasons as Maryland’s OC.

At the NFL level, Montgomery may now be best known for being Jonathan Taylor‘s position coach — a position that recently involved HBO screen time. The second-year back rocketed to an All-Pro perch in 2021, winning the rushing title by nearly 600 yards. That certainly stands to help those around him. Montgomery also has prior NFL experience, having coached an acclaimed group of Steelers wide receivers — Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders among them — from 2010-12.

Coaching Notes: Colts, Jets, Giants, Texans

Former East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery will return to the NFL as a running backs coach with the Colts. Montgomery, an NFL wideout in the early 2000s, was the Steelers’ wide receivers coach from 2010-12 — during which the receiver-developing franchise unearthed Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace — and East Carolina’s HC from 2016-18. Montgomery, 42, spent the past two years as Maryland’s offensive coordinator. The Colts also hired David Overstreet as assistant defensive backs coach.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • The Jets are bringing Leon Washington back into the fold. The former first-team All-Pro Jet return man will be back in New York as an assistant special teams coach under Robert Saleh. Washington, who operated as a Jets return man and running back from 2006-09, spent the past two seasons with the Lions.
  • A Packers assistant from 2004-18, James Campen will move to his fourth team in four seasons. The Texans are hiring Campen as their offensive line coach, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Campen spent the 2020 season with the Chargers and ’19 slate with the Browns, seeing both teams move in different directions after making HC changes. The Texans hired David Culley recently and are giving Campen a three-year deal.
  • The Giants intend to hire Rob Sale to be their next offensive line coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Sale spent the past three seasons as Louisiana’s offensive coordinator. He has a history with Joe Judge. The two coached at Alabama together from 2009-11.
  • Sale will replace Dave DeGuglielmo, who will head to Louisiana himself. After 17 seasons in the NFL, DeGuglielmo agreed to become the offensive line coach at Louisiana Tech, Cory Diaz of the Monroe (La.) News-Star notes. DeGuglielmo, who collected a Super Bowl ring with the 2014 Patriots, was an emergency replacement for the Dolphins in 2019 and Giants in 2020. The Giants opted not to bring him back on a full-time basis.
  • Urban Meyer is adding veteran NFL running backs coach Bernie Parmalee to his Jaguars staff, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). The former NFL running back has coached a few different areas in his relatively short coaching career, having helmed running backs, tight ends and special teams units. Parmalee spent the past three seasons in Atlanta and served as the Falcons’ ST coordinator in 2020.
  • The Vikings will add an assistant from the top college football program, hiring ex-Alabama cornerbacks coach Karl Allen to be their defensive backs coach, Pete Thamel of Yahoo.com tweets. Coaching a number of NFL-bound prospects, as Alabama staffers generally do, Allen spent three seasons with the Crimson Tide.