Commentary

Colts could look for offensive mind

Eagles' Mornhinweg and Broncos' McCoy among the possibilities

Originally Published: January 17, 2012
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

New Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson labored all weekend over whether to retain or fire head coach Jim Caldwell.

Because it was a close call to fire Caldwell, Grigson and Colts owner Jim Irsay have to be able to find the right type of coach to rebuild the franchise. More than likely, they will look for an offense-minded head coach.

Some of the early considerations would be Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, whom Grigson knows from his days in the Eagles' personnel office. Another possibility could be Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who has become a hot name because of what he did with Tim Tebow and the Broncos' offense. There is an outside chance Grigson could interview Marc Trestman from Montreal of the Canadian Football League.

The key to all of this, though, might be what happens at defensive coordinator. One of the things that could have kept Caldwell as the head coach would have been the hiring of Steve Spagnuolo as the defensive coordinator. A lot of the drop-off on offense came with Peyton Manning sitting out the season with a neck injury. But things were so bad with the defense that Larry Coyer was fired during the season and replaced by linebackers coach Mike Murphy.

Because Grigson knows Spagnuolo from his days on the Eagles' coaching staff, he'd love to be able to pair up Spagnuolo with whomever he hires as coach. Unfortunately for the Colts, Spagnuolo is a hot name as a defensive coordinator. The Saints, according to a source, are expected to go after him after losing Gregg Williams to St. Louis. Andy Reid might want him in Philadelphia. With so many options, Spagnuolo isn't ready to make a quick decision after being fired by the Rams.

The Colts' 2-14 season caused Irsay to make a lot of changes to appease his franchise's fan base. The front office was the first to be sacrificed. Vice chairman Bill Polian and his son Chris, the GM, were fired earlier this month. Caldwell was next. One bad season caused Irsay to turn away from more than a dozen years of success.

The plan remains for the Colts to keep Manning if he's healthy and then draft Andrew Luck to be the quarterback of the future.

It had to be hard for the Colts to fire Caldwell because he was popular among the players, who played hard for him. But the Colts started a new era Tuesday and the search for an on-the-field leader has begun.

John Clayton, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Follow Clayton on Twitter @ClaytonESPN

John Clayton

NFL senior writer