Don't fret just yet, Colts fans
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I can't imagine how it must feel to be Colts GM Chris Ballard or anyone who works in that front office right now, forced to go back to square one on the coaching search (with interviews lined up for Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, Bills DC Leslie Frazier, and Saints assistant Dan Campbell). But for the fans, let me be the one to sidle up next to you, hand you a Kleenex and say, There are plenty of fish in the sea. Beyond that, you have to know that NFL teams aren't great at snapping up the good ones, and the media is just as bad at identifying them. Recent history proves it. In coaching searches, last rarely means least.
Just last year, Josh McDaniels pulled his name out of consideration for the 49ers job, which ultimately went to Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan finished his first season on a five-game winning streak, with expectations ratcheted up heading into Season 2. A year prior, Doug Pederson was the last coaching hire announced, and he got the Eagles job after every other outside candidate interviewed by the team took another post. We all saw how that turned out. Dan Quinn, the coach of the previous NFC champions, was the last coach signed in 2015 after Todd Bowles opted for the Jets job. And (skipping Mike Pettine in 2014, another McDaniels backup plan who flamed out in Cleveland), 2013's last coach off the board was Bruce Arians. The Colts would surely be thrilled to end up with another Shanahan, Pederson, Quinn or Arians. And Ballard seems to know that good things come to those who wait. "Everybody gets in panic mode and just starts hiring, and I just don’t believe in that," he said. "I think you’ve got to be patient. Take your time.”
It's also worth noting that immediate reaction almost never lines up with outcomes. I grabbed quick-take hiring rankings from the last two years from Fox Sports, NFL.com and USA Today. The coaches who finished last in those polls—Doug Marrone, Sean McDermott, Mike Mularkey, and Pederson—all made the playoffs this year. The coaches who earned first-place recognition (Anthony Lynn, Shanahan, Hue Jackson, and Chip Kelly with the 49ers) have a combined zero playoff appearances.
Things in Indianapolis could still end up working out just fine, no matter what the experts—or the calendar—say.
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1. Jimmy Garoppolo keeps racking up wins. After going 5-0 since being installed as the 49ers starter, Garoppolo reportedly agreed to a $137.5 million contract that will make him the highest paid player per year in NFL history (until the next QB signs a deal). Since he entered the league in 2014, the 26-year-old leads all passers with 8.3 yards per attempt (minimum 250 attempts). For San Francisco, this should be the beginning of a busy offseason as John Lynch & Co. will likely have the second-most salary cap space to work with.
2. In the continued Josh McDaniels fallout, his agent, Bob LaMonte (who also represents Colts GM Chris Ballard), is done working for McDaniels. "My word is my bond. Once you break that, there's nothing left," he told NFL Network.
3. Let's burn the hours between now and August with some rankings, shall we? ESPN rated the 2018 Super Bowl contenders into five tiers. Only one team (Cleve)landed in the bottom category. Meanwhile, Danny Kelly put together the NFL Stability Index, with the Falcons coming in at No. 1.
4. New Panthers defensive coordinator Eric Washington says he thinks about his late mother every day, and he credits her with helping him rise as far as he has—a moving profile in The Charlotte Observer.
5. Philly fans still clinging to Super Bowl euphoria can relive Thursday's celebratory parade, including Jason Kelce's "epic speech," and read about how 'Philly Special' was "emblematic of Nick Foles' bond with Doug Pederson."
6. "As a competitor, I wanted that opportunity, just to be able to showcase and help a team win ball games," A.J. McCarron said of his near-trade to the Browns in October. "I think I would have had some success playing for Hue [Jackson]. I would've loved the opportunity to go up there and get them a win, more than one win. As a competitor, that's all you can ask for." Next week, an arbitrator will rule on whether McCarron ought to become an unrestricted free agent now. Here are the details of that upcoming decision.
7. Panthers interim General Manager Marty Hurney is on paid leave after being accused of harassment by his ex-wife.
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Did you miss Doug Pederson's web gem during Thursday's parade?
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