INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts’ rebuilt defensive coaching staff has added another significant component.
John Fox, who has taken two teams to the Super Bowl as a head coach during nearly three decades in the NFL, has been named a senior defensive assistant on Frank Reich’s staff. The Athletic’s Stephen Holder was first to report the addition.
“Really excited about John Fox,’’ Reich told reporters Monday morning at the owners meetings in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Bringing in a guy with his resume . . . the people who he’s been with (and) the systems he’s coached.’’
Fox, 67, is the latest addition to a defensive staff that’s been rebuilt following coordinator Matt Eberflus’ departure to become head coach with the Chicago Bears. The first move was naming his successor: Gus Bradley.
Now, yet another former head coach.
“A great complement to Gus,’’ Reich said. “Our goal with John coming in (was) not for him to bring his system to us, but for him to come in and learn our system and contribute some of his experience. How it can fit.
“Gus and I were like this the whole way through, heavily involved.’’
Reich indicated the Colts looked at several individuals to fill senior role.
“This was a role I really wanted to add,’’ he said.
Fox’s coaching experience is rooted in defense and deep.
He’s posted a 141-130 overall record in 16 seasons as head coach with the Carolina Panthers (2002-10), Denver Broncos (2011-14) and Chicago Bears (2015-17). He took the 2003 Panthers and ’13 Broncos to the Super Bowl where they lost to New England and Seattle, respectively.
Fox’s NFL coaching career began as a defensive backs coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1989. It includes stints as defensive coordinator with the Raiders (1994-95) and New York Giants (1997-2001).
Reich also addressed several other topics Monday, including:
Trading Carson Wentz
The team determined to sever ties with Wentz after one season that ended with the historic collapse in closing losses to the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville that kept it out of the playoffs. The Colts traded him to Washington March 9.
“You guys know how I feel about him. I love the guy, I really do,’’ Reich said. “I think he’s a really good football player. I think he played well for us.
“We as an organization thought highly of Carson in a lot of ways. Obviously we traded for him. But sometimes you can’t explain everything else. . . . you have to make the move that you think is right.
“It’s 2022 . . . not everything is a storybook ending.’’
Acquiring Matt Ryan
The Colts reloaded March 21 by trading for Atlanta’s all-time passing leader. The cost: a 3rd-round pick in April’s draft.
What must be remembered is Ryan was not available when the Colts moved on from Wentz.
“When you’re looking at the landscape, you don’t see Matt Ryan,’’ Reich said. “Lucky, blessed, whatever you want to call it. We’re very thankful that Matt became available. A credit to Chris (Ballard) and his leadership. We weren’t going to panic. We knew the options that were out there, and we were committed to making it work.’’
Ryan, he added, was “the right move for the team.
“Super excited about Matt; pro’s pro. Brings in high, elite leadership, elite accuracy. Just been a model of consistency but also a model of consistency at a very high level. Shown the ability to carry a team in those moments, when you need to carry the team.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.