Source: Colts narrow coaching search to Josh McDaniels, Mike Vrabel
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – And then there were two. That’s the case with the Indianapolis Colts’ on-going search for a head coach.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the team has narrowed its list of candidates to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel.
And that comes with a caveat. While general manager Chris Ballard has winnowed his list to McDaniels and Vrabel – neither has been offered a contract – the source conceded it’s possible another candidate might surface.
The Colts have been in the market for a head coach since Chuck Pagano was fired Dec. 31. Ballard promised a “wide open’’ search, and that included interviews with McDaniels, Vrabel, Seattle defensive coordinator Kris Richard, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and Baylor coach Matt Rhule.
Nagy was hired by the Chicago Bears and Rhule withdrew his name for consideration.
Vrabel, 42, and McDaniels, 41, offer disparate resumes.
McDaniels has been a part of Bill Belichick’s staff in New England for 13 seasons, including nine during two stints as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. He’s held that position for the past six seasons.
McDaniels also offers head coaching experience, spotty as it is. He posted an 11-17 record as Denver’s head coach in 2009-10 before being fired after the Broncos’ 3-9 start in ’10.
If Ballard settles on McDaniels, he might be in for a wait since the Patriots are in the playoffs. It’s possible nothing could be finalized until after Super Bowl LII, which is Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.
The interest in McDaniels is obvious. He would represent the latest and most experienced offensive direction for quarterback Andrew Luck, whose six-year career has been somewhat impeded by revolving coordinators. Since his arrival in 2012 as the first overall pick in the draft, Luck has dealt with three: Bruce Arians, Pep Hamilton and Rob Chudzinski.
It’s worth mentioning Luck’s status remains uncertain. He’s still rehabbing from surgery 12 months ago on his right shoulder. The Colts are optimistic their most indispensible player will make a full recovery, but that won’t be known until he resumes throwing and it’s discovered his right shoulder is able to withstand the steady workload. Failing that, a follow-up surgery might be required.
Vrabel’s coaching experience at the NFL level consists of four seasons with the Texans, the last year as their defensive coordinator. He was Houston’s linebackers coach from 2014-16.