Despite success, Colts fire Josh McDaniels’ coaching hire

Two-time champ Dave DeGuglielmo sparked massive improvement on the offensive line.

Dave DeGuglielmo
Dave DeGuglielmo, shown on the Patriots sidelines during the 2014 season. –AP Photo

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts announced they have dismissed offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and confirmed assistant offensive line coach Bobby Johnson has been hired by the Buffalo Bills.

No reason was cited for the firing, but DeGuglielmo was one of three coaches initially hired by Josh McDaniels last January. Frank Reich retained DeGuglielmo after McDaniels changed his mind and returned to the Patriots, and NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo reported both that Reich wants to make his own hire and that the Colts head coach is recommending the 50-year-old elsewhere.

DeGuglielmo and Johnson helped a young, revamped line make a dramatic turnaround. One season after allowing a league-high 56 sacks, the line cut the number to a league-low 18. It also cleared the way for Marlon Mack to rush for 100-plus yards in five games — the highest single-season total by a Colts running back since Joseph Addai in 2007.


NFL Network also noted the Colts ranked No. 2 in the NFL in pass blocking and No. 4 in run blocking, per Football Outsiders’ metrics. Matt Eberflus, the defensive coordinator hired under the expectation he’d be working for McDaniels, is expected to be retained. Mike Phair’s defensive line also drew raves.

DeGuglielmo’s Patriots tenure was sandwiched by Dante Scarnecchia. DeGuglielmo was hired in 2014 to replace the retiring 13-year line coach and 30-year Patriots institution, then left in what was termed a mutual parting after the 2015 season, paving the way for Scarnecchia to rebuild the offensive line. DeGuglielmo’s line faded badly in that final season, which ended with Tom Brady being hit 20 times and sacked four in an AFC Championship game loss at Denver.

In addition to winning a ring with the Patriots team that beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX, DeGuglielmo — a four-year football player at Boston University and 13-year NFL coach — was the assistant offensive line coach for the Giants team that ended the Patriots’ undefeated season in Super Bowl XLII.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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