The Indianapolis Colts became the second NFL team to fire their head coach during the season, followed by the stunning decision of naming Jeff Saturday interim coach. While a thorough coaching search will be launched this offseason, one name is already being mentioned as a name to monitor.
While some within the NFL disagreed with owner Jim Irsay’s decision to fire Frank Reich, the pool of potential candidates is deep in 2023. Whether Irsay wants to hire someone with experience as a head coach or one of the league’s rising coordinators, there is a wide array of options.
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It likely won’t be the most appealing job available. Indianapolis has won enough games to take it out of position for a top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, likely wiping out a shot at landing Bryce Young. Without a franchise quarterback and facing some questions regarding the stability of working for Irsay, top candidates like Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh might look elsewhere.
However, there is one name reportedly emerging as an early candidate to be on the Colts’ radar with multiple league officials spotlighting a specific defensive-minded coach.
Dan Graziano of ESPN wrote on Wednesday that Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has been mentioned by multiple people within the NFL as a name to keep an eye on for the Colts.
“Leslie Frazier has been brought up to me by more than one person lately as a name to watch for the Indianapolis Colts’ head-coaching position once the season is over. Frazier has an ally in Tony Dungy, whose word carries some weight in Indy. Frazier is a former head coach who has administered one of the league’s best defenses for several years now and likely deserves another chance. The questions in Indy would be who’s going to play quarterback and who’s going to run the offense. But Frazier certainly has a plan in place for the latter, and it’s the organization’s job to figure out the former.”ESPN’s Dan Graziano on Leslie Frazier becoming an Indianapolis Colts coaching target (H/T Colts Wire)
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Irsay’s decision to hire Saturday, a close confidant who also holds close ties to Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, points to how much he trusts those closest to him. Relationships are one of the most important factors that determine who fills specific NFL head-coaching vacancies and Frazier’s relationship with Dungy gives him a strong chance to be interviewed.
Buffalo’s assistant head coach since 2020 and its defensive coordinator since 2017, Frazier is widely regarded as one of the best minds in the NFL when it comes to defense. While his stint with the Minnesota Vikings went poorly, he has waited a decade for a second chance.
- Leslie Frazier record: 21-32-1
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Regarding the Colts’ offense, Frazier has been coaching in the NFL since 1999 with an extensive Rolodex of assistant coaches and coordinators who would love to work for him. T he 63-year-old made a strong enough impression on the Colts’ organization to be an assistant head coach in 2006. After his success in Buffalo, it would be a surprise if he isn’t brought in for an interview.