INDIANAPOLIS – Change is an inevitable part of the NFL. And that clearly includes a team’s coaching staff.
Occasionally, there’s a peculiar twist.
Exhibit A: When Frank Reich replaced Chuck Pagano as the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach in 2018, only two of Pagano’s 22 assistants were retained – long-time strength and condition coach Richard Howell and pass-rush consultant and franchise icon Robert Mathis.
Understandably, Reich wanted his own support staff for his first head-coaching venture.
Exhibit B: Three high-ranking members of the staff that steered the Colts’ last playoff team – 2020, remember? – are head coaches, which is the odd twist. That trio: Reich (fired Nov. 7 and recently hired by the Carolina Panthers), then-offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia) and then-defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (Chicago). Sirianni’s Eagles face Kansas City Sunday in Super Bowl LVII.
Exhibit C: This is aligned with Exhibit A. The Colts are in the final stage of determining Reich’s successor, and that individual – Philly offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Jeff Saturday, add whomever you wish – most certainly presented general manager Chris Ballard and owner Jim Irsay with his preferred coaching staff during his interviews.
The new guy always wants his guys. That’s no knock on the remaining staff, just the tenuous job security of assistant coaches.
Part of the transition from one year’s staff to another is underway, and actually began when Reich fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady in late October, then was dismissed himself.
Subsequent dominoes to fall: tight ends coach Klayton Adams left the team to join the Stanford University staff before the season ended and assistant offensive line coach Kevin Mawae is now the head coach of Lipscomb Academy, a high school in Nashville, Tenn.
Another domino fell Monday.
Scottie Montgomery, the Colts’ highly-regarded running backs coach the past two seasons, is relocating to Detroit to be the Lions’ running backs coach and as assistant to head coach Dan Campbell, according to NFL Network.
That spot on Campbell’s staff, by the way, was created when Duce Staley joined Reich’s developing staff in Carolina.
Reich and Staley’s paths crossed in Philadelphia in 2016-17 when Reich was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator and Staley was their running backs coach.
SI.com reported the Colts have blocked defensive coordinator Gus Bradley from making a lateral move. That’s an obvious indication the team doesn’t want to lose a valued member of its staff until it resolves its head coaching position in case the new head coach would want to retain Bradley.
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