INDIANAPOLIS – The interest remains, but the timing isn’t right. At least not yet.
Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is among the candidates to replace Urban Meyer as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars – they sought permission to speak with him last week – but any discussions won’t occur until the Indianapolis Colts’ season ends.
A new NFL rule allows teams in the market for a head coach to talk with prospects during the final two weeks of the season.
“That situation came up last week when the slip came through to speak to them,’’ Eberflus said Tuesday afternoon. “We decided as an organization – Chris (Ballard) and I and Frank (Reich) – that we were going to postpone that until afterwards.”
“We’re just focusing on this week. Obviously playing to get into the playoffs.’’
With a victory Sunday in Jacksonville over the 2-14 Jaguars, the 9-7 Colts secure one of three AFC wild-card spots.
The Jaguars created an opening Dec. 16 when they fired Meyer.
Jacksonville already has talked with former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. It’s believed the Jaguars also have interest in former Colts/Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, Tampa Bay offensive coordinator and former Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich, Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
Eberflus, 51, is in his fourth season as the Colts’ defensive coordinator and his 13th as an NFL assistant.
Ascending to a head coaching position remains an objective. Since 2018, he’s had interviews with Cleveland, the New York Jets and Houston Texans.
“Yeah, that’s a great assumption,’’ Eberflus said. “And it’s true.’’
Marcus Brady, in his first season as offensive coordinator, has worked alongside Eberflus the last four seasons. He believes his colleague is ready for that next step.
“Just his leadership, his presence, his calmness amongst the players and then just his ability to adapt and adjust over the course of a season,’’ he said. “He’s a great guy to work with.”
“Many characteristics for him, just great leadership overall.’’
Eberflus inherited a defense that was among the NFL’s worst in 2017: 30th in yards allowed per game (367.1), 30th in scoring (25.3) and 26th against the run (120.4).
There has been marked improvement.
Since 2018 – a span of 64 games – the Colts’ defense ranks 10th in fewest yards allowed (340.8), 11th in scoring (22.2) and 4th against the run (93.7). It ranks 2nd with 107 total takeaways.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.