Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Finding a quality replacement for Arians just became the top priority for the Colts' offseason.
Bruce Arians wanted to be a head coach for a bad franchise more than he wanted to be the offensive coordinator for a good one. It's literally that simple.
Fine. Good luck, coach. You'll need it in 'Zona.
Now, with Arians having ditched town to coach in the desert, the Colts must move forward with finding his replacement. Unfortunately, because of the timing, they're aren't many good options out there.
First and foremost, "offensive continuity" is out the window. Only Bruce Arians could run his offense. Hiring from within should not be considered. We've seen what current QB coach Clyde Christensen brings to the table as a playcaller. He was the OC for the Colts from 2010-2011, and he called plays in the Wildcard Round of the AFC Playoffs this year when Arians was unable to coach due to an inner ear infection. Christensen has been fired from two OC jobs already. He isn't coordinator material. Not at this level.
Thus, whoever is brought in will be someone who will want to run their system. This will be an interesting test for Chuck Pagano. Pagano was hired for his defensive pedigree, and in a league where offense is now valued over everything, that makes Pagano a bit of a liability. Of the eight head coaching vacancies this offseason, seven were filled by coaches with backgrounds in offense. The perk of bringing Pagano to Indy last year was him roping in Arians to mentor Andrew Luck.
Now, Arians is gone, and Luck is entering his second season sans an OC. Just as we have seen with former first round pick Alex Smith and Sam Bradford, a team's inability to rope in and retain a quality offensive coach will stunt a player's development.
For the Colts, the following names are out there for interviews:
- Bengals offensive assistant and former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson
- Former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore, who spent last season as a consultant for the Titans
- Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton
Outside of that, you're looking at unattractive retreads like Marty Morningweg (ugh), Pat Shurmur (bleh), Brad Childress (yeesh), or Cam Cameron (oy!).
None has a particularly good track record with offense in recent years, which explains why all are, currently, unemployed NFL coaches.
These next few days will be critical for Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson. The continued development of Andrew Luck is the No. 1 priority of the franchise. Finding someone who will play a key role in that will not be easy.