Shane Steichen has a great case for Coach of the Year in his first season with Colts

Although the 2023 regular season isn’t over, Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen is already deserving of the Coach of the Year award.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

When Shane Steichen was first hired by the Indianapolis Colts, everyone was excited about what he, as an offensive guru and established quarterback developer, could do for Indy’s struggling offense and first-round rookie quarterback. Once the Colts drafted Anthony Richardson, that excitement only intensified, as fans were familiar with Steichen’s relationship with dual-threat quarterbacks.

While Indy’s offense has been really productive, averaging 25 points a game (8th-best in the NFL), and Anthony Richardson looked really good when he was on the field, those aren’t the things that has everyone raving about Shane Steichen as a head coach. It’s the culture of competitiveness and accountability that Steichen has built within the organization that has his him as a candidate for Coach of the Year.

Shane Steichen is a top candidate for Coach of the Year

Steichen inherited a 4-12-1 team with an abysmal offense. While the Colts did have many talented players, they weren’t able to get on the same page last season and there were questions about the team’s culture in Frank Reich’s final year. That’s why entering the 2023 season, expectations were extremely low for Indianapolis.

Already facing low expectations, Steichen has had to navigate just about every possible obstacle a team faces, all in his first season as a head coach. Starting corner Isaiah McKenzie Sr. was suspended for gambling and then was released. Star running back Jonathan Taylor had a very messy, and public, contract dispute where he requested a trade, all while missing the first four games of the season with an injured ankle. Taylor eventually got healthy, got the extension he was looking for, and returned to the lineup.

Unfortunately, in the game that Taylor returned, rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson sustained a season-ending shoulder injury after some very promising play. A little over a week later, starting defensive tackle Grover Stewart would receive a suspension for violating the league’s policy on PEDs. Then, the fracture between franchise legend Shaquille Leonard and the organization got very public and then the team shockingly released Leonard during the bye week.

To top all of this disaster off, Jonathan Taylor sustained a thumb injury during his best game of the season. The injury required surgery, and Taylor is now sidelined during Indy’s playoff push.

Through it all, Steichen has led the Colts to a 7-5 record, and they are set up perfectly to make a playoff appearance. The reason why Steichen and the team have been able to navigate all of these misfortunes is that he never felt pity for Indy’s circumstances. Regardless of what came Indianapolis’ way, Steichen held everyone accountable and demanded that the Colts compete to the best of their abilities.

With this culture in place, Indianapolis will likely finish the season strong and clinch a playoff spot, and Shane Steichen will have a pretty good chance of winning Coach of the Year as a first-year head coach.