Colts Notebook: Matt Eberflus Talks Head Coach Interview With Cleveland Browns
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INDIANAPOLIS – Monday was an off day for the Colts.
But prep for the Chiefs is in full swing, as Andrew Luck and many others were in the building for an early start on the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The first day of the work week (in the business world) also meant Matt Eberflus wasn’t juggling a hectic schedule anymore.
On Sunday, Eberflus’ day included finishing up his evaluations from the game against the Texans, starting some Kansas City prep with a 1st and 2nd down run game focus, going off-site to interview with the Browns and then returning to work for more Chiefs attention.
It was quite the day, with the highlight being his first interview for an NFL head coaching position.
“It was certainly a unique situation,” Eberflus said of his juggling Sunday schedule following the Colts’ return from Houston late on Saturday night.
“What you try to do is segment things into boxes so you can focus and hone in on what you are talking about and what you are doing.”
Eberflus said he doesn’t feel at all behind with his prep for the Chiefs, despite the time away from the facility on Sunday.
With this interview complete, Eberflus should have a quieter few weeks upcoming. For one, his name hasn’t been thrown around as a definite interview candidate elsewhere (yet). Two, if the Colts continue to win, Eberflus can’t interview after this week for another job until the Super Bowl bye week.
Of course, Eberflus will have quite the national stage against one of the league’s most explosive offenses in league history to draw even more attention on Saturday afternoon.
Here are some other tidbits from coordinator day at the Colts Complex:
- Speaking of Eberflus, he has quite the challenge this week with the Chiefs. Eberflus was effusive in his praise for the ‘arm talent, accuracy and timing’ of Patrick Mahomes, who led the NFL with 50 touchdown passes this season. The Chiefs are the top-ranked scoring offense in the NFL for a reason. “They really spread the field horizontally and vertically. They make you tackle in space,” Eberflus said on Monday. Decisively breaking out of the zone looks and tackling well is a huge key for the Colts this weekend, along with maintaining their belief of limiting the big play.
- While the Colts offense could really help their defense out on Saturday by playing ball control and pounding the football, Sirianni doesn’t want to go there with formalizing the game plan strictly around keeping Kansas City from having tons of possessions. “I don’t think we can play the game that way,” Sirianni said of having a more ball control approach. Certainly, the goal is to score as much as possible, but ideally if you could keep the ball away from the Chiefs that would go a long way to victory as well.
- A lot of curiosity as to why Nyheim Hines played just 9 snaps on Saturday, by far the fewest for him this season. Hines didn’t have a carry or a target against the Texans. Now, it’s understandable why the Colts wanted to keep feeding Marlon Mack, who played 58-of-72 snaps (a very high number) and carried the ball 24 times. Sirianni said game flow and wanting to keep the hot hand (Mack) going was why Hines barely played in the second half. “A guy gets a role a little bit and you just keep feeding him,” Sirianni said of the huge discrepancy in snaps between Mack and Hines. “(Mack) was feeling it. We just wanted to ride that. Not that Nyheim couldn’t have done that, too, but we just wanted to ride the hot hand at that time. We knew we were grinding it out and the rhythm was good there. That was what we felt like was successful and easy to do, particularly in the second half.” Hines is still a major part of this offense, but Reich did hint last week at a more run-game focused approach coming in the playoffs.
- It’s been pretty amazing how seamless Braden Smith has transitioned to right tackle at this level. Sirianni had this to say about Smith on Monday: “I don’t know if we could have ever thought that he would be this successful this early. What he gives you in the run game is just a powerful man. One of the main reasons I really think the run game got going was because when he stepped in there. He can really move people. He does it differently than other tackles that I’ve been around. He just moves guys and gets guys displaced from their area. And then he’s really held his own in pass protection…Moving forward to this game and future seasons, we know we have a good one there.”
- Yes, I’m looking at weather forecasts 5 days before a football game. Why? Because it could really impact things if the wind is blowing or snow is coming down. Early returns at things for Saturday in Kansas City look at temps around 40 degrees and 20-30 percent chance at precipitation. Honestly, in my opinion, the worst the weather, the better for the Colts. Indy wants to ground and pound it. Whereas the Chiefs want to air it out all day long.
- This was a pretty notable stat from the NFL Network that I spotted inside of Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column: Andrew Luck is now 13-1 against top-five scoring defenses in his career. Pretty darn impressive.
- The Colts are expected to follow their same ‘Saturday’ schedule as we saw last week: walk-through on Tuesday, practice on Wednesday, practice on Thursday and then walk-through/travel on Friday.