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Report: Colts to Interview Gus Bradley, Joe Whitt Jr., and Kris Richard for Defensive Coordinator Opening

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

According to the IndyStar’s Joel A. Erickson, the Indianapolis Colts plan on interviewing three more external defensive coordinator candidates for their current vacancy early this week:

First, there’s 55 year old Gus Bradley, who’s the current defensive coordinator of the Las Vegas Raiders (2021-Present) and had previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers (2017-20), Jacksonville Jaguars head coach (2013-16), Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator (2009-12), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebackers coach (2006-08).

He largely runs a ‘Cover 3’, 4-3 defense that he became notorious for when coaching the early days of the Seahawks’ eventual Super Bowl winning ‘Legion of Boom’ defensively.

Meanwhile, Joe Whitt Jr. is a 43 year old secondary coaching and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys (2021-Present), but he’s also been the Atlanta Falcons secondary coach passing game coordinator (2020); Cleveland Browns secondary coaching and passing game coordinator (2019); Green Bay Packers defensive passing game coordinator (2018), cornerbacks coach (2009-17), and defensive quality control coach (2008); and the Atlanta Falcons assistant defensive backs coach (2007) among his professional coaching stops.

Having come over along with current Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to Dallas in 2021, Whitt Jr. may look to deploy a similar ‘Cover 3’, 4-3 base defense as Quinn has—that has also incorporated some 3-4 tweaks recently.

Lastly, there’s 42 year old New Orleans Saints defensive backs coach Kris Richard, who Colts general manager Chris Ballard previously interviewed for Indy’s head coaching job back in 2018.

Prior to joining New Orleans (2021-Present), Richard was the Dallas Cowboys defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator (2018-2019) under former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator (2015-17), defensive backs coach (2012-14), cornerbacks coach (2011), and assistant defensive backs coach (2010) professionally.

Like the candidates mentioned above him, Richard’s defensive scheme would presumably be a lot of ‘Cover 3’ judging from his own ‘Legion of Boom’ days in Seattle, but also presumably some ‘Cover 2’ looks—having coached under longtime ‘Cover 2’ maestro Marinelli in Dallas.

Given this recent batch of three candidates, the Colts are clearly comfortable continuing to transition to more of a ‘Cover 3’ derivative (which they were already playing a lot of under departed defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus)—which would assuredly fit their current defensive personnel naturally without overhauling the roster defensively.

It also appears that this is a highly coveted opening (as expected), as the Colts have gotten three of the top ‘seasoned’ defensive coordinators to interview out there: Jim Schwartz (also reported), Gus Bradley, and Kris Richard—although that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best in theory.