Yesterday was a shocking day. In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been. I’ll take my part of the responsibility for that. I published a story a while back that attempted to dive into the idea that Josh McDaniels had grown as a person, and that maybe the Broncos deserved responsibility for his failures in Denver. I was wrong.
By bailing on his agreement with the Colts, McDaniels proved to be just as thoughtless, self-centered, and unable to connect or empathize with others as he was in Denver. I’m not talking about the Colts here. He certainly screwed them over. But there were multiple others involved in this hire who McDaniels simply cast aside. Hours after the news broke, it was reported that he had not even attempted to reach out to those members of his staff who already had signed with the Colts. That is a level of selfishness the likes of which only Denver has truly experienced.
Spoke with several members of what was supposed to be McDaniels’ Indy coaching staff. They have not heard from Josh McDaniels regarding the change of heart. Just as blindsided as the rest of us. #Colts— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) February 7, 2018
While many at the national level are trying to spin this story as one of a dysfunctional Colts organization, that isn’t anything more than an invented narrative by those who don’t know the situation. We have gone time and again over the reality of how well-respected Jim Irsay is as an owner. People practically glow when they talk about how well-liked Chris Ballard is. These guys are not the story.
As far as the Andrew Luck angle? Not buying that either. All signs point to him being involved in beginning his throwing program with Tom House. Until we see him throw at training camp, these rumors will persist, but at this point, they seem largely only to be rumors. Tom Pelissero dismissed all those ideas as not the issue as well.
#Colts were going to pay McDaniels “fabulously,” source said. That wasn’t the issue, nor was Andrew Luck’s shoulder, Jim Irsay, etc. And McDaniels loves GM Chris Ballard. #Patriots just convinced him to stay. No new contract yet, but expect that sooner than later.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 7, 2018
The fact is this was nothing more than McDaniels most recent act of self-sabotage, and the Colts happened to be in the crossfire.
As easy as it might be to stew in our hatred of the Patriots for generally being terrible and having no integrity, the important question is, where do the Colts go now? That question is pretty easy to answer. Chris Ballard is not a guy who panics. His path forward won’t be a frenzied attempt to hire whoever will have him. He will take the same cool, calm approach that has served him throughout his time in the NFL.
Don’t misunderstand me. This certainly wrong-footed the Colts. They are the team with egg on their face this morning. They could not have anticipated something this ridiculous because it is unprecedented. But I do not think that the guy who was noted for showing up to his job interview with a binder full of his plans is likely to be kept off balance for long by a visor-wearing prima donna.
Names like Eagles OC Frank Reich and QB coach John Defilippo are still available, and they just helped direct Nick Foles and the Eagles’ offense to a Super Bowl win. Reich hasn’t received much in the way of coaching interest, and Defilippo has garnered OC interviews, so both would be possibilities for the Colts should they have interest.
Dave Toub may not have talked with the Colts that we know of but has always been rumored to be a guy that Ballard likes. We have talked a lot about Toub here on Stampede Blue, because given his connections with Ballard and the general feeling around the league after the 2016 season that he could be ready to take the step to a head coaching job. I still feel he could be a very good fit for this team.
Leslie Frazier has been mentioned by some reports as a guy who might get a look and has Andy Reid connections that might make him a guy who Ballard would be interested in. There are likely several candidates on Ballard’s radar who we don’t even know about a la Matt Rhule.
Then you have outliers like Jim Harbaugh. The overwhelming argument against him is that he would never leave his current job, but today of all days I am willing to believe that we understand very little about what people will or won’t do. I would be shocked if Ballard hasn’t reached out at some time during this process.
David Shaw is another name that comes to mind as a possible guy who could come from college to coach the Colts. This one seems unlikely, as Stephen Reed pointed out on the Colts Cast last night because Shaw is essentially in his dream job and hasn’t shown the inclination to move to the NFL.
You also have guys like Jim Bob Cooter in Detroit. While I legitimately cannot imagine having to type his name repeatedly for stories, he has done solid work with Detroit’s offense and has garnered rumors of possible head coaching potential for two offseasons now.
Speaking of guys named Jim, Jim Schwartz did an incredible job transforming the Eagles defense into a terrifying unit, and with a stable front office presence in Chris Ballard, could be exactly the kind of fiery presence the Colts need to give them a little bit of a nasty edge they need.
If you are a Colts fan worried that they are going to be left with just the scraps when the dust settles, don’t be. Take solace in the fact that while you and I were fuming about McDaniels and the Patriots, Chris Ballard was working. He was making calls and scheduling interviews. Remember, he is a planner. This may have caught him as off guard as us. However, the NFL is not a league for those who cannot handle the unexpected, and Chris Ballard is one of the best. The Colts won’t be down for long.