Grading the Colts coaching staff for the 2023 season

Now that the 2023 season is over for the Indianapolis Colts, let’s grade Shane Steichen and his coaching staff based on their performances throughout the year.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Colts Coordinators

Jim Bob Cooter-Offensive Coordinator

Hard to really see Jim Bob Cooter’s body of work this year as Steichen is the play caller but make no mistake of the worth that Cooter brought to this team this season. While Steichen calls the plays its Cooter’s voice in the room leading the other assistants to get the gameplan together for the offense. Steichen executes it on gameday, but Steichen has sung Cooters praise all season long and mentioned that he is ready for a head coaching position. Like Steichen, Cooter was able to adapt to many changes on the offensive side of the ball with the early injury to Anthony Richardson and making the most of a two-headed backfield with Zack Moss and Jonathan Taylor.

Grade: B+

Gus Bradley-Defensive Coordinator

Continuity. One of the biggest points of emphasis that Steichen mentioned in his postseason press conference. General manager Chris Ballard also mentioned that as well and that Bradley will return after, what some fans might call, a season of regression for the Colts defense. Colts are stuck between a rock and hard place with Bradley, as they have really drafted and built their defensive roster to his playing style (especially in the secondary) and reverting all of that after this season of work would just put them back to square one by replacing Bradley.

Is there a slight scheme change that might be needed? No question but at the same time, Ballard didn’t make it easy on Bradley by keeping all the secondary young and the injuries didn’t help either. Mix in some more blitz, try to add another play maker on the edge and another training camp could keep Bradley here for the future. But if progress cannot be made next season, then it might be time for new leadership in the defense might be necessary.

Grade: C

Brian Mason-Special Teams Coordinator

Brian Mason handled his first season as an NFL coach well. The numbers may not show it as the Colts ranked towards the bottom of the NFL in special teams, but they played well even with all the injuries. Returner and gunner Ashton Dulin went out with an ACL in training camp along with rookie Daniel Scott and Dallis Flowers, who also had season ending injuries as well. Those were three key players on the unit, with Dulin being the biggest loss.

The special teams had a breakout game against Tennessee where they were able to get two consecutive punt blocks and Mike Vrabel fired his coordinator after the game because of it. They did have some missed coverages this season but nothing jarring. Matt Gay and Rigoberto Sanchez both had solid seasons for the special team’s unit as well.

Grade: B