Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that the Titans have granted the Colts permission to talk to Gray, Tennessee’s defensive coordinator.
This isn’t Gray’s first interview: He recently interviewed for the head coaching vacancy in Tampa Bay, and he was involved in a controversial interview with the Redskins in 2009, which many observers, including Tony Dungy, said was an attempt to follow the letter of the Rooney Rule while violating the rule’s spirit.
Make no mistakes folks: this isn't a move to satisfy the Rooney Rule nor is it the offensive mind some have speculated the Colts are seeking. Rather this looks like the Colts are seeking something specific: bright, capable and ambitious.
A 14-year veteran of NFL coaching, Gray started his NFL coaching career in 1997 as a defensive quality control coach for the Tennessee Oilers. He held that position for two seasons, before being promoted to secondary coach for the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Under his direction, Samari Rolle and Blaine Bishop earned All Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2000; and as a group, the Titans ranked first in the NFL in fewest passing and total yards allowed.
In 2001, Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was named head coach for the Buffalo Bills and Gray went with Williams to become the Bills defensive coordinator. He spent five years as defensive coordinator with the Buffalo from 2001-05. His defenses in 2003 and 2004 each ranked second in the NFL for yards allowed, and both were rated in the top 10 in points allowed. His 2004 defense led the NFL in takeaways with 39, ranked third in sacks with 45 and fifth in red zone defense. The 2004 unit saw Sam Adams and Takeo Spikes earn Pro Bowl selections.
@coltsauth_todd Solid guy, stop the run first, have some size. Beloved he can coach up raw skills.— Paul Kuharsky (@espn_afcsouth) January 18, 2012
I don't at all agree with what Paul K said about stopping the run first, but I like the DVOA numbers I'm seeing generally.
2001 8.8%, 26th
2002 7.5%, 24th
2003 -13.0%, 7th
2004 -28.8%, 1st
2005 7.8%, 26th
Anyone know why the BUF D fell off a cliff in 2005, especially the run D? This could be illuminating. Trend was nice otherwise.
The WAS Pass D during his time there as dbacks coach was mixed, starting out 32nd, jumping to 6th, then hanging around average for the rest of his tenure.
I wonder how often hiring a defensive guy helps a teams defense. Bellichik is a defensive guy with the worst defense and great offense. Dungy was a defensive guy who came from the Bucs who had a great defense and the Colts never had what one of the top defenses that I could tell.
The best Pats teams were lead by the defense, Bellichick has morphed the team into an offense first group in response to the new NFL rules.
You cannot tell me that coaches are still not being hired simply because they are black. This is 2012. That is ridiculous. So I completely dismiss anytime someone mentions the Rooney Rule or says that the "spirit of the rule" was broken. How ridiculous.
@productive11 It wasn't racism specifically, but the Redskins already had planned to hire Shanahan. They had no plans on hiring anyone else, thus this interview was only to fulfill the requirement of the Rooney rule
Interesting. I don't know much at all about the guy, but I like the overall idea of hiring him. A relatively young defensive guy who was a hard hitter when he played. And Buffalo's stats under him are pretty good, including DVOA (all the way up to 1st in 2004). I basically know nothing about this guy but I prefer him to most of the retread options being suggested.
@psvirsky Paul Kuharsky at ESPN points out that he struggled to get an NFL job last year but lots of things play into that. It remains to be seen how serious this is but off-the-cuff the Colts at least are considering defensive guys.