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Report: Colts Expected to Hire McDaniels as Head Coach; Eberflus Pegged as Potential DC

Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

According to Ian Rapoport, the Colts are expected to hire Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels when the time comes. McDaniels and the Patriots are still in the playoff hunt and will face the Jacksonville Jaguars next weekend in the AFC Championship.

McDaniels has been with the Patriots for 14 of his 17 years in the NFL, spending 10 years as their offensive coordinator over two stints. McDaniels has spent many years working closely with Tom Brady. McDaniels has also been a quarterbacks coach for 12 seasons during his time in New England. Besides Brady, he has helped develop Matt Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer, Jacoby Brissett, and Ryan Mallett, all of whom have gone on to become starters at one point in their career. Jacoby Brissett is a current Colt.

McDaniels spent two seasons in 2009 and 2010 as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. After a fast 6-0 start in 2009, the Broncos finished the season 2-8 and McDaniels and the Broncos went 4-12 in 2010, which led to his firing midseason.

McDaniels operates an Erhardt-Perkins style of offense, which incorporates multiple formations and different personnel groupings on their base plays. For example, a basic strong-side power B-gap run can be run from 6 different looks. The offense asks their running backs to be versatile in the running game and to be able to run hard in between the tackles. Erhardt’s famous saying was “throw to score, run to win”.

The Patriots used a lot of play action to set up intermediate and deep passing plays. While the system was developed as a run-first system, the Patriots used it as a pass-first system. Over the years, with more rules favoring offenses, the Patriots added a lot of spread offense concepts and a lot of 5 receiver looks, often with running backs running from the slot.

McDaniels used a similar offense in Denver, but with all the time that has passed since his stint with the Broncos, it’s expected that he’ll bring over a similar offense to what the Patriots have run over the past few seasons. The Jets (with John Morton), Steelers (with Todd Haley) and Texans (with Bill O’Brien) have used similar offenses in recent years.

Tom Pelissero has also reported that McDaniels and the Colts are expected to bring in former Cowboys assistant coach Matt Eberflus as their defensive coordinator. Eberflus spent 7 seasons with the Cowboys as their linebackers coach before adding on the title of passing game coordinator in 2016.

Eberflus helped develop Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens and Jaylon Smith as well as many others during his time in Dallas. Many viewed him as a very hot defensive coordinator candidate, with Blogging the Boys calling him the “most important Cowboys free agent”. Eberflus’ style of defense has yet to be truly revealed, but with his background as a 4-3 defense guy, it’s expected that he’ll implement a 4-3 defense.