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Patriots’ Josh McDaniels is the only real candidate for the Colts head coaching job

That about settles that, right?

NFL: DEC 24 Bills at Patriots Photo by Icon Sportswire

While there’s a lot of dust around the New York Giants head coaching vacancy and which candidates are the front runners, the Indianapolis Colts head coaching position is still up for grabs- except only one coach appears to be in the running.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Colts are not interviewing Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks because “they appear more focused on offensive coaches.”

Three offensive coaches have been linked to the Colts. Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy was a projected favorite, but he accepted the Chicago Bears head coaching job. Baylor head coach Matt Rhule was a second option, but he has withdrawn his name from consideration in favor of returning to Baylor.

So that just leaves New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as the only candidate for the Colts.

The Colts have also interviewed rising defensive coaches Mike Vrabel, the Houston Texans defensive coordinator, and Kris Richard, the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator, but if Indianapolis is truly looking for an offensive coach to pair with franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, then McDaniels is their only option.

Will McDaniels accept the job? It depends on the health of Luck and what his relationship projects to be with general manager Chris Ballard. Ballard has functioned in an organization with a similar Bill Belichick-Nick Caserio dynamic, as Andy Reid had final say on the Chiefs roster where Ballard worked prior to becoming the Colts general manager. So there’s a chance that style would work for McDaniels and make the job more desirable than the Giants opening.

But that’s a major question that McDaniels needs to answer and perhaps he’d be willing to wait out another year to join a team where he gets to pick the general manager. I still think Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub has a chance to be the Colts ultimate selection as head coach and that would mean McDaniels could return to the Patriots for another season.

Unless the Colts are hiding more coaching candidates, though, McDaniels is clearly at the top of their list- and perhaps the only one on their list at all.