Colts Narrowing HC Finalist List; Gus Bradley In Play To Stay As DC


Drawing increased attention the longer it has persisted, the Colts’ coaching search looks to be hitting the homestretch. The team is believed to be down to a few finalists, Mike Garafolo of tweets.

This news comes after the team went through second interviews with numerous candidates. More notably, the Colts have been connected to a historically rare third set of interviews. It is not certain the team will proceed in that direction, but Jim Irsay said Tuesday (via Twitter) an immediate hire should not be expected. The franchise’s decision will come in “days, not hours.”

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Irsay’s latest lines up with the report of third interviews and a weekend offering that indicated a hire may not commence until after Super Bowl LVII. Additional Colts interviews with Chiefs or Eagles candidates could not take place until then. Eric Bieniemy and Shane Steichen have interviewed with the Colts, the latter doing so twice.

Additionally, the Colts are not letting Gus Bradley explore other opportunities. Despite being a Frank Reich hire, Bradley is in play to stay in Indianapolis. Some of the candidates are interested in retaining the veteran defensive coordinator, Stephen Holder of reports (on Twitter). Bradley took over as Indy’s DC last year, after the Bears hired four-year defensive boss Matt Eberflus as their head coach. Bradley’s unit ranked 28th in scoring but 14th in DVOA this past season. The Colts roster four former Pro Bowlers on defense, though Shaquille Leonard missed most of last season due to injury.

Jeff Saturday promised major changes if he were to stay on as head coach — a scenario that should be viewed as live — so it is reasonable to expect he would not be one of the candidates who would keep Bradley, despite the two working together to close the season. Bradley worked alongside Rich Bisaccia with the Raiders, but that was also a forced partnership after Jon Gruden‘s exit. Aaron Glenn, Don Martindale and Raheem Morris being defensive coaches would point to Bradley’s exit.

Steichen, however, has a lengthy past with the longtime DC. Both were on the Chargers’ staffs from 2017-20; the Bolts rolled with a Steichen-Bradley OC-DC duo from 2019-20. If Steichen is the Colts’ choice, this certainly could be viewed as a scenario in which the team would retain Bradley.

In the fifth week of the offseason, here is how Indianapolis’ wide-ranging search looks: