The Indianapolis Colts finished the 2022-23 season with a 4-12-1 record, good for third place in the AFC South, and back-to-back seasons in missing the playoffs. The run game failed to continue last season’s momentum as star Jonathan Taylor deal with numerous injuries, and the team’s overall struggles led to head coach Frank Reich’s firing after starting the year 3-5-1. Interim head coach Jeff Saturday saw little success himself, closing out the season with a 1-7 record.
Indianapolis' next head coach will inherit a solid defense along with talented offensive pieces such as Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., and Alec Pierce. Yet there is a clear hole at quarterback after Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger, and Nick Foles struggled when given respective starting chances.
Here are the odds for the Colts’ next head coach at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Top 10 favorites for new Colts head coach
Jim Harbaugh +350
Ben Johnson +550
Eric Bieniemy +600
Dan Quinn +750
Leslie Frazier +750
Raheem Morris +1000
Aaron Glenn +1200
Shane Steichen +1200
Ejiro Evero +1200
Demeco Ryans +1500
Jim Harbaugh, +350
Harbaugh’s connection to the Colts is a clear one as he played for the franchise from 1994 through 1997, making him a strong candidate for the position. Jim Irsay clearly values candidates with ties to the organization, after hiring Saturday as the interim head coach this season. But whereas Saturday’s clear lack of experience hindered him, Harbaugh’s track record of success would quell any concerns.
He has a 44-19-1 record during his tenure as coach of the San Francisco 49ers, reaching two NFC Championship games and appearing in one Super Bowl. His success in reviving Alex Smith’s career, while also sparking Colin Kaepernick’s rise as a starter, likely makes him an attractive candidate for a QB-needy Colts team. The big question, if Harbaugh were to take the job, is exactly who will be under center for him.
Ben Johnson, +550
The trend of hiring a rising and young offensive coach would continue if the Colts filled their head coaching vacancy by hiring Johnson, who saw incredible success this past season as the Lions’ offensive coordinator. Despite many others’ criticisms of Jared Goff, Johnson helped lead a Detroit offense that ranked third in the NFL in yards and fifth in scoring. After their struggles this season, it’s clear that Indianapolis would be well-suited to welcome an innovative play-caller on offense.
The Colts finished 27th in yards, 31st in points, and dead last in turnovers as they were severely limited by poor quarterback play. Taylor’s presence in the backfield should help make it easier for a young signal-caller to step into the starting role, as many presume Indianapolis will draft a quarterback. Pairing said signal-caller with an offensive-minded coach would set up the Colts with a positive upside heading into the 2023 season.
Dan Quinn, +750
The Colts have a promising unit on the defensive side of the ball, and hiring someone with Quinn’s experience would take their defense to the next level. Although he’ll be remembered for coaching amid the Falcons’ collapse in the Super Bowl, he has revived his head coaching prospects with his success as the defensive coordinator in Dallas. Over the last two seasons, the Cowboys have ranked seventh and fifth respectively in scoring defense.
As a defensive-minded coach, however, he’ll be tasked with picking the right offensive coordinator for this Colts team. The clear question mark at quarterback is a lofty obstacle, but perhaps some clarity with an innovative OC hire can help steer the franchise toward a solution at quarterback, whether it be via the draft or free agency.