With the playoffs fully underway, perhaps nothing was more surprising than the Chiefs falling to the Titans after dominating the first half of their wild-card matchup. It isn’t the first time that the Chiefs have experienced a crushing loss like that, as Colts fans will remember.
However, while the news is bad for Chiefs fans, the Colts may actually get an expedited coaching hire as a result of it. There are several reasons for this. First, the elimination of the Chiefs opens up the schedules for offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and special teams coordinator Dave Toub. That might allow for any interviewing process to take place more freely and possibly move up the hire.
But what if Ballard is not planning to hire a coordinator from the Chiefs? It is not just the Chiefs coordinators that are impacted by this game. The Titans were very strongly rumored to be looking at replacing Mike Mularkey if they went one and done in the playoffs. With that win, it may secure his future with the team.
Why does that matter? Well, the Titans’ general manager is Jon Robinson. From 2002-2013, Robinson worked in various roles in the scouting department of the New England Patriots. Because of this, as well as his affinity to develop quarterbacks, the Titans’ head coaching job has been a source of rumors with regard to the preferred landing spot of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. With Mariota, a solid running game, and a developing and talented defense, it would not be hard to see the draw.
However, if that job is not open, that means McDaniels will be looking at his other options. With some of the reported discord inside the Patriots’ organization, McDaniels may have decided that this year is the year to move on. If he views the Colts as the best of the prospective jobs and Ballard is interested in him it could speed up the decision to hire him.
A faster hire is not a lock though. The Colts have interviewed McDaniels as well as Seattle’s Kris Richard already, and have plans to interview Matt Nagy tomorrow and the Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks early next week. In addition, there may be other coaches who we have not yet heard about who are in the mix.
It is important that the Colts hire the best candidate for the job. However, one of the critical points that Ballard mentioned regarding the hire was how important it is to bring on the right supporting staff along with the head coach. Regardless of who is hired, getting the best possible coordinators in place will matter a lot for this young Colts team, and the sooner they hire their coach, the sooner he can begin putting that staff together.
One thing is certain, by early next week the Colts will have completed interviewing all the candidates we know about. That means it won’t be much longer before we find out who the man is that Chris Ballard will choose to move this franchise forward.