INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The wait continues for the Indianapolis Colts, although the next step is coming.
The team’s pursuit of Josh McDaniels as its next head coach was extended two more weeks after the New England Patriots chased down the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game in Foxborough, Mass.
The Colts and McDaniels met for the first time Jan. 3, and a follow-up interview will occur this week. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the team will officially seek permission Monday morning from the Patriots to meet again with McDaniels.
The second interview, allowed by the NFL in the bye week leading up to the Super Bowl for participating assistants, undoubtedly will include owner Jim Irsay.
The first meeting resulted in the Colts and McDaniels being “close’’ on the parameters of a long-term contract, but nothing can be finalized as long as the Patriots remain alive in the postseason. The earliest a deal can be finalized is Feb. 5, the day after Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
The presumptive nature of McDaniels’ relocation to Indy has been reinforced by reports of the Patriots’ offensive coordinator already forming his staff. He reportedly has settled on Dallas linebackers coach Matt Eberflus as his defensive coordinator and Oakland quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz as his offensive coordinator.
General manager Chris Ballard has spearheaded the search for Chuck Pagano’s successor, and Irsay all but said he would rubber stamp his GM’s decision.
“The general manager is in charge of leading the search . . . making his recommendations,’’ Irsay said earlier this month. “I’m sure there hasn’t been a time where I haven’t followed the recommendations of what the general manager had recommended to me.
“Chris is going to go out, do a lot of the heavy lifting. I’m going to meet the top candidates.’’
The Colts’ attraction to McDaniels, at least from an offensive standpoint, was showcased in the Patriots’ comeback against a Jacksonville defense that ranked No. 2 in fewest yards and points allowed during the regular season.
New England trailed 20-10 after three quarters. Brady was playing despite suffering a serious cut on his right thumb last week in practice and the Patriots lost all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski to a concussion in the second quarter.
Even so, Brady passed for 158 yards and two touchdowns to Danny Amendola in the fourth quarter to thwart Jacksonville’s upset bid. One of his big completions was a 31-yard hookup with former Colts’ first-round pick Phillip Dorsett in the fourth quarter with New England trailing 20-10.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.