“The rivalry is back on.” These are the words that Chris Ballard spoke when announcing that Josh McDaniels had reneged on their verbal agreement for him to become the next head coach. The team is now still without a head coach, however, they do have a defensive coordinator that they brought in when he was supposed to join McDaniels’ staff. The Patriots-Colts rivalry ran for years fueled by the Peyton Manning–Tom Brady rivalry but has died out with a lack of competition on the Colts side. This decision by McDaniels has added fuel to the fire, while also significantly damaging his opportunities of getting a future head coaching position outside of the New England Patriots organization. The Colts have scheduled some interviews so today we’re going to break down their new options.
Frank Reich, Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator
Reich’s a hot commodity after leading an innovative Eagles offense to a Super Bowl victory with a backup quarterback after MVP candidate Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL. Reich has not been a coach in the league for long, but he has been around the league for a long time. He played 14 seasons and actually coached four seasons with the Colts when he first started. His offenses have gotten stronger and stronger with each year, before peaking at third and seventh in points and yards this season. Carson Wentz wet from average to an MVP candidate in a single season with Reich directing the offense and he would be a great choice.
Dan Campbell, New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach & Tight Ends Coach
Campbell took over for Joe Philbin in Miami after he was let go. He had a record of 5-7 and was popular for his no-nonsense attitude that helped to rally the team together. Campbell has never really functioned in more than an assistant role, other than his interim stint with the Dolphins. He frequently has been a tight ends coach after his playing career at the same position, however, the Dolphins were not overly successful with him at the helm and the team moved on from him for a reason. Campbell has always been more a player’s coach but has yet to really dictate an offense or defense. He needs more seasoning to be considered for a head coaching position.
Leslie Frazier, Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator
Another former Colts assistant, Frazier was with the Colts when they won their lone Super Bowl in 2006. Frazier has coordinated multiple successful defenses and coached the Minnesota Vikings to within one game of their own Super Bowl, particularly with making players perform above expectations. The Bills secondary this season was created out of three players who were unsigned or traded by their former teams and a first-round rookie. The worst performer was Hyde, who still graded out as the 14th overall safety this season per Pro Football Focus. The Colts are not a collection of extremely talented players, but they have quite a few that have great upside. Frazier flamed out as the Vikings coach and has moved from team to team ever since.
Reich is the top option among these three with his offensive background and innovative style, but Frazier is also a solid option. The Colts have not made any hints about who they will be bringing in, but, whoever they do choose, will be the next coach in the great rivalry between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots.