Raiders expected to request GM interview with Ed Dodds

The Raiders are expected to request a GM interview with Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds.

Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds seems to be a busy man this offseason as the Las Vegas Raiders are expected to request an interview for their vacant general manager role, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

After firing general manager Mike Mayock, the Raiders now find themselves among the teams looking for a new person to lead the front office. Dodds appears to be a popular candidate for several teams this offseason.

Though it isn’t clear if they have yet, it appears the Raiders will have some interest of interviewing Dodds for their now-vacant general manager role.

Dodds already interviewed with the Chicago Bears on Monday and could very well see more opportunities among teams looking for new general managers.

As the right-hand man to general manager Chris Ballard, Dodds has been a key figure in building the roster for the Colts since being promoted to assistant general manager in 2018.

We’ll see what happens but there is a chance this is the last offseason Dodds is with the Colts.

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Bears interview Colts’ Matt Eberflus, Ed Dodds

The Bears interviewed Colts DC Matt Eberflus and assistant GM Ed Dodds on Monday.

The Chicago Bears interviewed Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and assistant general manager Ed Dodds for vacancies on their coaching staff and front office on Monday.

The Bears announced the interviews on Monday afternoon. Eberflus interviewed for the vacancy at head coach after the firing of Matt Nagy while Dodds interviewed for the vacancy at general manager following the firing of Ryan Pace.

Eberflus has been the defensive coordinator for the Colts since taking over the role in 2018. He’s been a popular candidate for a few years now and after his defense finished as the No. 8 unit according to DVOA, he’s expected to have a number of interviews.

Meanwhile, Dodds has been the right hand man since being promoted to assistant general manager in 2018. He has had a major hand in selecting and developing the roster that the Colts currently have now.

This will certainly be something to watch as the Bears make their offers but it appears they have some more interviews set for later in the week so it may not be for a few days before we hear any news.

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Colts’ Darius Leonard dubbed best run defender by PFF

PFF named Colts LB Darius Leonard the best run defender in the NFL for the 2021 season.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard took home another award after a strong 2021 season and continues to get recognized for his efforts during his fourth season.

Leonard, who earned his third All-Pro nod, was incredible when it came to making impact plays. On top of that, he was named the best run defender in the NFL by Pro Football Focus as a part of their year-end awards.

BEST RUN-DEFENDER

LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Darius Leonard was a turnover machine this season. He has perfected the art of the “Peanut Punch” tackle, forcing fumbles without risking the play if his attempt to jar the ball loose isn’t successful. Leonard had four forced fumbles in the run game, twice as many as any other linebacker, and his average depth of tackle was just 2.87 yards down field.

Run defense goes beyond just those statistical plays, however, and is about how you deal with blocks and whether you can negatively impact the blocking scheme or the path of the running back, spilling him toward other defenders who can make the play even if you can’t. Leonard understands offensive tendencies and keys as well as any defender — he was consistently pointing out plays and reading things before they happened, alerting teammates to what was coming and blowing up the play to let them clean up behind him. He was the best run defender in football in 2021.

It was a spectacle watching Leonard play in 2021. It seemed that in every game he was finding a way to force out a ball from the hands of a ball carrier. The precision he had when it came to his punches was uncanny.

Now the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL, Leonard continues to be the heart of the defense while making a spectacular impact against the run.

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3 Colts named to 2021 All-Pro First Team

The Colts had 3 players named to the All-Pro First Team, including the unanimous selection of Jonathan Taylor.

The Indianapolis Colts had three players named to the 2021 All-Pro First Team and two players named to the All-Pro Second Team, the Associated Press announced Friday.

The three players that were named to the First Team include running back Jonathan Taylor, linebacker Darius Leonard and long snapper Luke Rhodes. The two players that were named to the Second Team were left guard Quenton Nelson and special teamer/wide receiver Ashton Dulin.

Taylor was one of only five players to be voted unanimously to the First Team. The other four players included Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and T.J. Watt.

Leonard added his third All-Pro nod in four seasons while Rhodes capped off a stellar season with his first All-Pro selection. Rhodes was also named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

Nelson snapped his streak of All-Pro First Team selections in his fourth season. He received the nod in each of his first three seasons and was the only offensive lineman in NFL history to do so. Meanwhile, Dulin was an active part of Bubba Ventrone’s special teams unit.

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Colts’ Scottie Montgomery to interview for Panthers OC job

Colts RBs coach Scottie Montgomery will interview for the Panthers OC job.

Indianapolis Colts running backs coach Scottie Montgomery will interview with the Carolina Panthers for their offensive coordinator role, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

As the Panthers continue their search for a new offensive coordinator under head coach Matt Rhule, Montgomery will be the second assistant coach for the Colts to interview in Charlotte.

The other assistant coach to interview for the same role was wide receivers coach Mike Groh.

It isn’t clear when Montgomery will be interviewing for the job but it isn’t a shock that so many assistants for the Colts are getting opportunities to present their cases. Even with the disappointing end to the 2021 season, the Colts have a strong nucleus of coaches on the staff.

Montgomery was the position coach for Jonathan Taylor’s historic season. Taking over for acclaimed running backs coach Tom Rathman, who retired before the 2021 season, was never going to be easy. But Montgomery proved his worth.

Most of Montgomery’s coaching career has been in college with Duke as the wide receivers coach (2006-2009) and associate head coach, offensive coordinator/passing game, wide receivers coach (2013-2015). He was also the head coach of East Carolina (2016-2018) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Maryland (2019-2020).

His NFL experience came under Mike Tomlin with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their wide receivers coach (2010-2012).

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Colts’ Matt Eberflus to interview for Bears HC job on Monday

Colts DC Matt Eberflus will interview for the Bears HC job on Monday.

Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus will interview for the Chicago Bears head coach job on Monday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Bears have taken a keen interest in the Colts as they look to replace both their general manager and head coach. Eberflus is one of the options they are looking at to replace former head coach Matt Nagy while the Bears have also requested to interview Ed Dodds and Morocco Brown to replace former general manager Ryan Pace.

It will be interesting to see if this job is appealing enough for Eberflus to leave the Colts. He’s had opportunities in the past but decided to stick with Indy.

The Bears have some promising pieces on both sides of the ball, starting with quarterback Justin Fields.

Regardless, this will be something to watch as Eberflus goes for his first interview of the offseason.

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Colts DE Kwity Paye named to PFF All-Rookie team

Colts DE Kwity Paye was named to PFF’s All-Rookie team.

Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye was named to Pro Football Focus’ 2021 All-Rookie team following the 2021 regular season.

As the No. 21 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, there was a lot of hype for Paye after the selection was made. His character, athleticism and upside led many to believe he has the makings of being a cornerstone piece in the front seven for years to come.

While it wasn’t a dominating rookie season, it was one that showed plenty of promise for Paye. It was enough to earn him a spot on PFF’s All-Rookie team.

There were no questions about Paye’s athleticism coming out of Michigan. He posted a 99th-percentile bench press among edge defenders, a 97th-percentile 40-yard dash and a 76th-percentile vertical jump. And those results leave out the agility drills, which Paye would have likely crushed too, had he tested them officially.

That athleticism flashed in some high-quality pass-rush wins that led to Paye leading all rookie edge defenders with a 71.3 pass-rushing grade. The sack numbers (4.0 sacks) weren’t quite there, but those should come if he continues to win his pass-rushing reps at the same rate he did in 2020.

Finishing his rookie season with 4.0 sacks isn’t all that impressive. However, his 39 total pressures were tied for the fourth-most in the NFL among rookies. There are certainly worse starts to a career than that.

Paye flashed enough upside to warrant optimism moving forward. He must continue working on his technique and pass-rushing plan, which should help with the inconsistent nature of play he saw during the 2021 season.

The Colts need to address their pass rush again during the 2022 offseason but Paye’s rookie season showed enough that they may not be starting at square one.

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Colts’ Jim Irsay gives stern message: ‘The buck stops with me’

Colts owner Jim Irsay gave a stern statement about the state of the franchise.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has plenty of thoughts on the direction of the team following what turned out to be an extremely disappointing ending to the 2021 season.

Irsay held a meeting with general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich immediately after the shocking loss to the Jaguars that ended the season.

Even after that demanding meeting, Irsay felt it was necessary to put a message out to the fanbase.

“When we started 0-3, we knew the rest of this season would be an uphill climb. We all were hopeful we could dig our way out of the hole and reach the playoffs, and we should have. But we ended our season in perhaps the worst way possible and missed our chance to compete for history.

The buck stops with me, and this experience makes me even more determined to bring Indiana a contending team. We are already working toward the future, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to put us in a position to win next year and for years to come.

As always, thank you for your support of the Colts in 2021. This was a rough way to end our year, but this bad taste will fuel and motivate us even more for next season. I promise you there are some exciting days to come.

Sincerely,
Jim Irsay
Owner & CEO”

It’s clear that Irsay is emphatic about changing some things around this offseason. He made that abundantly clear in talking to Fox59 about changes needing to be made.

Seeing as Reich and Ballard are still with the team—as expected—it will be interesting to see what kind of changes are made.

Maybe it comes with the quarterback position after Reich declined to commit to Carson Wentz in 2022. Maybe there’s a bit of a shake-up with the coaching staff. Maybe there will be a bit more spending in free agency as a change in philosophy from the last five offseasons.

The entire offseason is still ahead of us so we will be speculating for a while but it will be interesting to see what kind of changes will be made in the coming months.

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Colts’ Mike Groh interviewed for Panthers OC job

The Panthers interviewed Colts WRs coach Mike Groh for their vacant OC role.

Indianapolis Colts wide receivers coach Mike Groh was interviewed by the Carolina Panthers for their vacant offensive coordinator job, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Though the Panthers retained head coach Matt Rhule, they did part ways with offensive coordinator Joe Brady during the season. In their search for a new offensive coordinator to work under Rhule, Groh was one of the candidates to get an interview in Charlotte.

Groh has been with the Colts for two seasons now. He joined Frank Reich’s staff as wide receivers coach after spending two seasons (2018-2019) as the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles where he was also the wide receivers coach in 2017.

Groh has been in the NFL since 2011, mostly holding the same role. He was the wide receivers coach for three seasons with the Chicago Bears (2013-2015) while also serving as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach for the Los Angeles Rams in 2016,

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Bears request to interview Colts DC Matt Eberflus

The Bears have requested to interview Colts DC Matt Eberflus for their HC role.

The Chicago Bears have their eyes on a few members of the Indianapolis Colts organization as they requested to interview defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for their vacant head coach role.

The Bears parted ways with Matt Nagy, who took over in 2018. They’ve also requested to interview assistant general manager Ed Dodds and director of college scouting Morocco Brown for their vacant general manager roles.

Eberflus is expected to be a popular candidate in the coaching circles. He already got a request from the Jacksonville Jaguars for an interview after they parted ways with Urban Meyer.

His defense enjoyed a strong 2021 season even if it was a bit inconsistent at times. According to Football Outsiders, the Colts defense ranked eighth in DVOA, seventh in weighted DVOA, third in run DVOA and 17th in pass DVOA.

Eberflus has also been commended for his ability to get his defense to play with an extremely high motor. That discipline will go a long way in interviews.

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