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Colts coaching staff prospects

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Miami Dolphins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s the offseason and like most offseasons there is turnover. While most of the turnover happens on the player roster, there is also turnover on team coaching staffs. The Colts will be evaluating their own coaching staff to see if any change is needed.

Mike Phair

Colts defensive line coach Mike Phair is moving on to join the Carolina Panthers and a defensive coordinator he has close ties to from college. He was an early recruit to the Colts, and was brought in to be a Josh McDaniels team member.

Options to replace:

Rod Marinelli - the ex-Cowboys defensive coordinator and all-around defensive line guru is highly unlikely to be returning to Dallas after Jason Garrett was fired. Marinelli previously worked with Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus in Dallas from 2013-2017 before Eberflus left for Indianapolis. Marinelli also worked for the Chicago Bears at the same time Chris Ballard was on the Bears scouting staff. If Chris Ballard is able to bring Rod Marinelli on board it would be a huge addition, as Marinelli is widely considered one of the best defensive line coaches in football and would help tutor the Colts’ young pass rushers like Kemoko Turay and Ben Banogu.

Don Johnson - the ex-Cardinals defensive line coach is highly touted as a great defensive line coach and has been for many years. Johnson worked for the Chicago Bears as a defensive line coach while Chris Ballard was on the scouting staff, and also worked for the San Diego Chargers as defensive line coach when Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator there. Don Johnson is a veteran who is known as a very good coach and teacher, and who most recently served under Steve Wilks in Arizona as the defensive line coach. Johnson wold be a great hire and would be a big boost to the Colts defensive coaching staff.


Jonathan Gannon

Colts cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon is rumored to be a potential candidate to join new Cleveland Browns HC Kevin Stefanski’s staff as his defensive coordinator. Gannon, like Phair, is rumored to be a McDaniels hire, as Albert Brewer mentioned that McDaniels wanted to make Gannon his defensive coordinator if he landed a head coaching gig.

Options to replace:

Gill Byrd - the current University of Illinois cornerbacks coach has over 17 years of NFL and college coaching, most of it coaching defensive backs. He was the assistant defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears while Chris Ballard was on Chicago’s scouting staff. Adding a veteran cornerbacks coach might be the boost they need to help the development of the Colts young cornerback group, where players such as Rock Ya-Sin and Marvell Tell appear to be coming into their own.

Jon Hoke - The current University of Maryland defensive coordinator has over 35 years of coaching experience, primarily coaching defensive backs, but also has defensive coordinator experience, too. Hoke was on the Chicago Bears defensive coaching staff when Chris Ballard was in Chicago. Hoke has a wealth of coaching experience and would be a solid addition to the Colts defensive staff.

Kris Richard - The ex-Cowboys defensive backs and passing game coordinator is a highly-regarded defensive coach known for his development of defensive backs. Richard has previously been the defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, and helped develop top talent such as Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Richard took over the passing game coordinator role in Dallas, which prior to that had been Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ role, when he arrived to be their defensive backs coach. Richard was in Seattle when Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds was in the Seahawks front office and Dodds will be plenty familiar with Richard. If Chris Ballard could manage to bring in Kris Richard, it would be a massive addition, and would be a huge boost for the Colts cornerbacks development.

Steve Wilks - soon to be ex-Browns defensive coordinator and ex-Cardinals head coach. Wilks is a very well-regarded defensive coach who has 25 years of experience in the NFL and college. Wilks was the defensive backs coach in Chicago when Chris Ballard was there, but he also brings in the experience of being a defensive coordinator and also had stints as the assistant head coach in Carolina and also was a head coach in Arizona. Wilks is a very well-known veteran defensive coach and would be a great addition to the Colts defensive staff.