Here’s what you should know about the four coaches the Colts requested interviews with
The Indianapolis Colts have started their coaching search by putting in several requests to interview coordinators throughout the league.
Monday evening, the Indianapolis Colts hopped on the NFL’s head coaching carousel by dishing out a handful of interview requests. The Colts first reached out to the Detroit Lions as they inquired about both of their coordinators; Ben Johnson being the OC & Aaron Glenn being the DC. Shortly thereafter, the Colts would put in interview requests with the Los Angeles Rams for their DC, Raheem Morris, as well as with the Eagles in regard to their OC, Shane Steichen.
Given the Colts are openly looking for a new QB this offseason, and more specifically, a rookie quarterback in the draft, one would assume they would be honing in on offensive-minded candidates in order to pair with their young prospect. Make no mistake though, an NFL head coach rarely also calls the plays. So hypothetically speaking, if the Colts were to elect a traditionally defensive-minded coach, as long as they were to secure an OC with play-calling capabilities, it could certainly work out.
Let’s dive into the four candidates the Colts have requested to interview:
Early coaching candidates for the Colts
Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson (Lions)
Ben Johnson is arguably the most sought-after head coaching candidate. Johnson has brought out the best in quarterback Jared Goff in just his first season as an offensive coordinator, orchestrating a diverse offense that is fifth in scoring with 26.6 points a game & fourth in total yards per game with 380.
Even after trading away a familiar face in tight end TJ Hockenson, and despite lingering injuries to other offensive starters, the Lions’ offense never wavered. Despite a two-week lapse where the offense only produced six points in two games (were shoutout against the NE Patriots in Week 5), the Lions’ offense remained steadfast in terms of overall production.
Here’s what NFL Media Insider Tom Pelissero had to say about Ben Johnson in his annual young coaches to watch article from back in November:
"Those who have worked with Johnson say he has one of the NFL’s sharpest minds. (How many guys walk on to the football team as a quarterback while earning degrees in math and computer science, as Johnson did at North Carolina?) So, it’s no surprise the Lions’ offense found life midway through the 2021 season when Johnson and head coach Dan Campbell — who spent four years with Johnson on the Dolphins’ staff — took the reins. Johnson previously has coached quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends, and he has a good feel for the whole picture. Is he ready to run his own show after one year with a coordinator title? That’s unknown. But his reputation figures to get him in the room sooner than later."
Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen (Eagles)
Shane Steichen is up there with Lions OC Ben Johnson and San Francisco 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans when it comes to the most sought-after candidates in the pool this year. Steichen has been the play-calling mastermind behind the emergence of the Eagles’ third-year QB, Jalen hurts.
The Eagles’ offense is third in scoring and yards per game this season with 28.1 points and 389.1 yards. It’s not one-sided either, as the Eagles are ninth in passing yards per game with 241.5 and are arguably the best rushing attack in the league, posting the fifth-most rush yards a game with 147.6, all coming from various positions within the offense.
For Steichen, Pelisseron said, “Steichen has overseen the Eagles’ offensive rise since taking over play-calling duties during the 2021 season and has a good reputation going back to his days with the Chargers.”
Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris (Rams)
Morris has previous head coaching experience with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-2011) and was the interim coach for the Falcons in 2020 before joining the Rams last year. Morris also served as an assistant coach for Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan, Jay Gruden, Dan Quinn, & Sean McVay. Besides in 2006 when he went collegiate for a year and was the defensive coordinator for the Kansas State Wildcats, Raheem Morris has coached somewhere, on some staff in the NFL, every season since 2001.
Although he is certainly considered a defensive-minded coach, he does have experience on the offensive side of the ball. For four seasons as a head coach, he would oversee all three phases (O/D/ST), so he received said offensive coaching experience in that regard. On top of that, four of his seven years with the Atlanta Falcons saw him coaching the trifecta of Assistant HC, Passing Game Coordinator, & WRs Coach.
Most recently (and notably), Morris was the DC of the Super Bowl Champion Las Angeles Rams in 2021, a defense that posted the fifth-best Team DVOA Defense rating.
Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn (Lions)
Aaron Glenn has been the DC for Detroit for the past two seasons and was a secondary coach for the better part of the 2010s with the Cleveland Browns (2014-2015) and the New Orleans Saints (2016-2020). His 2014 Browns were second in the NFL in interceptions (21) & his 2017 Saints were third with 20.
During his tenure with New Orleans, the Saints posted a collective record of 56-24 and won a playoff game in three of their four trips during his time there.
Teams that are competing with the Colts for candidates
At this point in time, there are five organizations that are currently aboard the head coach carousel. Said teams include: Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, and Indianapolis Colts. For what it’s worth, here’s where each team currently lies in terms of interviews requested and/or scheduled:
*To be fair, the Cardinals are currently without a GM as well, so the head coach domino likely won’t fall until after that’s decided*
Denver Broncos: Requested: Raheem Morris, DeMeco Ryans, Dan Quinn; Scheduled: Jim Harbaugh, Sean Payton (*agreed upon but cannot take place until after Jan. 17*)
Houston Texans: Requested: Ejiro Evans, Jonathan Gannon, Ben Johnson, DeMeco Ryans, Shane Steichen; Scheduled: N/A
Arizona Cardinals: Requested: N/A; Scheduled: N/A
Carolina Panthers: Requested: Shane Steichen; Scheduled: Frank Reich
Indianapolis Colts: Requested: Ben Johnson, Aaron Glenn, Raheem Morris, Shane Steichen; Scheduled: N/A