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On Super Bowl Sunday, the long-awaited announcement for Colts fans was finally unveiled. The next Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts is… Shane Steichen.

With this news, the Colts have taken their first step in rebuilding/reloading their team. While some fans wanted to wait until Steichen shows up for his press conference and has pictures of him signing his Colts contract, thankfully nothing crazy occurred. Steichen will be the next Head Coach of the Colts. The coming months will see assistant coach hirings, free agents added to fit the new team direction, and a fresh class of draft picks to potentially set the foundation for the Colts roster.

Before we can fully dive into an analysis of what to expect from this offseason, let’s take a look at who he is, what he has done in his career, and what he brings to the Colts.

Who is Shane Steichen?

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Shane Steichen is a 37-year-old NFL coach hailing from Sacramento, California. Steichen had his start in football as the starting QB at Oak Ridge High School, guiding them to a Conference Sectional Championship title and winning MVP in 2002. After a 4-year high school career, Steichen was recruited by UNLV as a 2 star QB prospect. At UNLV he studied journalism and media studies, became the 12th all-time leading UNLV passer, and worked as a student assistant and offensive graduate assistant. After working for his alma mater, he spent 1 season as a full-time offensive assistant at Louisville before getting his start in NFL coaching in 2011.

NFL Coaching Career

Year Position Record Playoff record
2022 Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator 14-3-0 2-1
2021 Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator 9-8-0 0-1
2020 Los Angeles Chargers Offensive Coordinator 7-9-0 0-0
2019 Los Angeles Chargers Interim Offensive Coordinator 2-6-0 0-0
2019 Los Angeles Chargers Quarterbacks Coach 3-5-0 0-0
2018 Los Angeles Chargers Quarterbacks Coach 12-4-0 1-1
2017 Los Angeles Chargers Quarterbacks Coach 9-7-0 0-0
2016 San Diego Chargers Quarterbacks Coach 5-11-0 0-0
2015 San Diego Chargers Offensive Quality Control Coach 4-12-0 0-0
2014 San Diego Chargers Offensive Quality Control Coach 9-7-0 0-0
2013 Cleveland Browns Offensive Assistant Coach 4-12-0 0-0
2012 San Diego Chargers Defensive Assistant Coach 7-9-0 0-0
2011 San Diego Chargers Defensive Assistant Coach 8-8-0 0-0

Initially hired by the San Diego Chargers as a Defensive Assistant Coach in 2011-2012, Steichen had a quiet start to his coaching career. In 2013 as the Browns’ Offensive Quality Control Coach, Steichen got his first NFL opportunity to work with players of his old position. Unfortunately the QB situation in Cleveland that year was a mess, starting 3 different QBs over the course of the season due to injuries. Despite the turnover of Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, and Brandon Weeden at QB, each was able to have flashes of moving the ball down the field. For the 6th time in NFL History, the team had 3 different QBs get 300-yard passing performances in a season.

After his stint with the Browns, Steichen returned to the Chargers in 2014-2015 as their Offensive Quality Control Coach. During which he was tasked to work with the Wide Receivers predominantly.

In 2014, the Chargers spread the ball around to 3 of his players at a high rate, with Eddie Royal, Keenan Allen, and Malcolm Floyd each reaching 50 catches, 770-850 yards, and 4-7 TDs. During this time, he worked on the coaching staff with several familiar faces to Colts fans: Frank Reich (Current Panthers HC, Colts HC 2018-2022, was OC for the Chargers) and Nick Sirianni (current Eagles HC, Colts OC 2018-2020, was Chargers QBs Coach).

In 2016, after Frank Reich got hired as the Eagles’ OC, the Chargers reshuffled their coaching staff under new OC Ken Whisenhunt, promoting Steichen to be the QB Coach and Sirianni moved to the WR coach. Steichen stayed in this role as QB coach even after the Chargers changed Head Coaches with Anthony Lynn being brought over in 2017. During this time another familiar face joined the Chargers staff: Gus Bradley as their Defensive Coordinator (current Colts DC). As the Chargers’ QB coach, he helped Philip Rivers earn 3 straight Pro Bowls in 2016-2018. Rivers threw for 17,824 passing yards (2nd in NFL), 1,446 completions (4th), and 116 TDs (4th) during that 3-year stretch.

Mentoring Justin Herbert

Midway through 2019, the Chargers promoted Steichen to be interim OC for the final 8 games of the season. During this time the Chargers did see improvement in their offense, ranking highly in Total Yards (5th), passing yards per game (6th), 3rd Down conversion rate (7th), and Pressure Allowed (9th lowest). After impressing in his interim OC duties, he retained the job for 2020 to mentor the next Chargers starting QB. After working with Philip Rivers as his starting QB for his entire time on the Chargers, Steichen was in charge of developing Justin Herbert.

Coming out of Oregon, Herbert was highly regarded for his physical gifts. With a cannon for an arm, solid escapability, and leadership qualities, there was plenty to love about him. However, he did have a rawness to him. With a one-read, heavy offense, he didn’t consistently display his field awareness and seemed hesitant to throw deep. His play dropped off when under pressure, with hurried throws and dangerous fumbles becoming too frequent due to a slower release. He needed to speed up his field scanning ability, develop stronger pocket presence, and change his mindset on what to look for in his throws and which throws to take shots on. There were inconsistencies on tape, but definite flashes of his ability remained.

Steichen helped take the talented but flawed mold of clay that was Herbert as a prospect and fine-tune him into a perennial top-10 QB, even from the start of his career. Herbert’s rookie year was a special one, as his growth as a player enabled him to lead the Chargers’ passing offense to a be a top 10 unit in the following:

  • Total Yards (9th)
  • Passing Yards (6th)
  • Giveaways (4th fewest)
  • 3rd Down Conversion Rate (9th)

Herbert finished 2nd in All-Time Rookie passing yards behind Andrew Luck (trailed by 38 yards despite playing one less game) while boasting a 31:10 TD-to-INT ratio. He boasted the highest passer rating in rookie history of a QB with 500+ passing attempts (98.3), showing consistent poise as the engine of the Chargers’ Offense. The Rookie of the Year passer became well set up for his future success under Steichen’s tutelage.

Adapting to Hurts

After the success of mentoring Justin Herbert during his first year in the league, Steichen was poached from the Chargers by Nick Sirianni to be the OC for the Eagles in 2021. His main goal: adjust his scheme and develop the skills of 2nd year QB Jalen Hurts. Hurts had only 4 games of starting NFL experience in the year prior. While he showcased his dynamic rushing ability and could escape the pocket once it collapsed, his passing field vision, accuracy, deep ball throwing, and pocket presence were all lacking in 2020. A 52% completion percentage thrower (only 60.7% were on target) with 13 turnovers (9 fumbles, 4 INTs) and lackluster deep ball accuracy wasn’t cutting it.

However, with Steichen and Sirianni’s collaborative work, Hurts has improved each year since becoming the full-time starter in Philly. The Turnover rate decreased and his accuracy rate climbed to 78.2% on target throws. This accuracy showed a solid awareness of short to intermediate-throw windows.

He still wasn’t an elite passer by any means, but he showed enough to be viewed as a strong game manager with a good command of the Offense and provide a spark to the ground attack with 784 rushing yards and 10 TDs. But in 2021 he still struggled with deep ball placement and accuracy with 3 TDs to 5 INTs deep and only 35.9% completion % on deep targets (20+ yards). This was a flaw he had displayed even during his college days. At the time I expected it could be improved upon, but didn’t think Hurts would ever be a truly elite vertical passing QB…

But in 2022, I was proven wrong. The addition of AJ Brown made a massive impact on Jalen Hurts’ production deep, but he also showed an increase in his willingness to go deep as well as better accuracy downfield. His field vision improved as well, with him committing the 4th lowest turnover-worthy throw rate in the NFL on deep targets while having the 4th highest DVOA in the NFL in those throws

Combine Hurts’ calming yet energizing demeanor, improved pocket sense, a quicker release, his strong short-intermediate throw success rate, a system tailor-made to his skillset, and his own athleticism allowing him to continue to dominate on the ground? Hurts was a top 5 QB in the NFL in 2022 and was a runner-up MVP candidate behind Patrick Mahomes.

Steichen’s mentorship of Hurts and crafting the offense was vital to Jalen’s development. They adopted a Norv Turner/Air Raid style Offense with a strong mix of deep shots and layered route concepts underneath like Mesh, while also adapting RPOs, Play-Action, and rollout concepts mixed in to take advantage of Hurts’ speed, agility, and adaptability on the move. Add to that a varied run scheme that can throw a lot of different looks at you but if they find one that works they will repeatedly hammer that play at you until a Defense adjusts, and the Eagles boasted a top-flight offense that suited its players perfectly.


Beyond his scheme and success rate in helping two very different QBs thrive over the last 3 years, Steichen brings something else to the table: a fiery personality unafraid to hold players accountable. He is an intense character who will fire up a locker room, but also bring a methodical and in-control personality. He is emotional, yet rational.

Commanding respect in the locker room is no easy feat, it is built up over time. The Eagles players highly respected Shane Steichen, as he displayed an intense yet honest personality. If a player is making mistakes he will point them out, tell them how to fix them, and hold them accountable to adjust accordingly. It might not work with every locker room, but it very well could work in Indy.

What’s Next?

Now Steichen will begin to build the coaching staff roster to his liking. Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley and likely most of his staff will return in 2023, as a big key for the hiring process was keeping Bradley.

But the offensive side of the coaching staff will experience turnover. That is a given. The OC and OL position coach jobs are already open and will be the most vital to fill. Getting another innovative offensive mind to bounce off of Steichen can only further help the Colts’ offense under a new and likely much younger QB.

The Colts’ offensive line that surrendered 60 sacks in 2022 needs new leadership at the coaching position to hold the vets accountable, break bad habits, enable strong communication among the front, and foster a good learning environment for young linemen coming onto the roster. Results have to improve after the disastrous 2022 season offensively. Steichen taking the reins on O will certainly help, but more is needed.

What is unclear is the job security of existing offensive staff on the roster. Will Steichen want to bring in a whole new staff of his guys? Or will he keep some position coaches on offense like WR coach Reggie Wayne? Time will tell.

Once the staff is filled out, the biggest decision of the young Head Coaches’ career will need to begin to be considered: Who will be the next QB for the Colts?

Jay Robins

Twitter: @RobinsLucas Instagram: Lucas._.Robins

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