Coaches

Jeff FitzGerald
Linebackers Coach
College:
Oregon State
Hometown:
Burbank, CA
Experience:
22

Jeff FitzGerald enters his fourth season as the linebackers coach for the Indianapolis Colts. The 2015 campaign will mark FitzGerald’s 22nd season coaching in the NFL ranks.

 

In 2014, FitzGerald coached starting linebackers Jerrell Freeman, D’Qwell Jackson and Erik Walden. For the first time since 2011, two Colts linebackers (Freeman and Jackson) topped 100 tackles on the season. In his first year in Indianapolis, Jackson earned his first career Pro Bowl nod after starting all 16 games for the fourth consecutive season and leading the team with 184 tackles (111 solo). He set single-season career highs in sacks (4.0) and fumble recoveries (four). Freeman topped 100 tackles (144) for the third straight year, while adding 1.5 sacks, six passes defensed and one forced fumble. In three postseason starts, he added 37 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Walden recorded 57 tackles and a personal-best 6.0 sacks on the year.

 

In 2013, FitzGerald led a group of linebackers that featured Freeman, Pat Angerer and newcomers Kelvin Sheppard and Walden. Freeman led the Colts in tackles (169) for the second consecutive season, while setting career highs in sacks (5.5), forced fumbles (six), fumble recoveries (two) and interceptions (two). His forced fumbles total tied him for third in the NFL and first among inside linebackers. Angerer finished with 87 tackles on the season and one interception, while Sheppard added 62 tackles and 1.0 sack in 15 games played. Walden recorded 58 tackles, 3.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 15 starts.

 

Colts linebackers accounted for three of the top five tacklers on the team in 2012, including Freeman (203), Kavell Conner (73) and Angerer (57). The linebackers combined for 22.0 of the team’s 32.0 sacks while adding five of the six recorded forced fumbles. Another bright spot during the 2012 campaign was the emergence of Freeman. Following a three-year career in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2009-2011), Freeman joined the Colts and led the team with a franchise-record 203 tackles (116 solo) while adding 2.0 sacks, one interception returned for a touchdown, one forced fumble and two passes defensed. He became the first undrafted NFL player to return an interception for a touchdown in his debut since 1987.

 

Prior to joining Indianapolis, FitzGerald spent the previous four seasons (2008-2011) as the linebackers coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. In 2011, the Bengals defense was among the best in the NFL, ranking seventh overall (316.3 ypg.), ninth in passing defense (211.6 ypg.), 10th against the run (104.7 ypg.) and ninth in points allowed (20.2 ppg.). FitzGerald coached linebacker Thomas Howard who led the team in tackles (120) in his first season with the club. In 2010, Cincinnati linebackers Dhani Jones, Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga finished first, second and third on the team in tackles, respectively. 

 

FitzGerald directed the Baltimore Ravens linebackers for four seasons (2004-07). In 2006, he became only the second linebackers coach in NFL history to have four of his players named to the Pro Bowl in the same season (Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs and Adalius Thomas). He also mentored linebackers for the Arizona Cardinals (2001-03) and Washington Redskins (1998-99).

 

FitzGerald started his NFL coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, assisting with the defensive backs and special teams for four seasons (1990-93), while also working on the development of the advanced computer and video systems in use today.

 

Prior to entering the NFL, FitzGerald served as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati (1985) and the University of Alabama (1986-87), where he earned a master's degree in education, before being promoted to a full-time assistant at Alabama (1988-89). He also served as a linebackers coach at San Diego State University from 1994-97.

 

FitzGerald is a native of Burbank, Calif., and played linebacker collegiately at Oregon State University before transferring to Cal State-Northridge. While attending Cal State-Northridge, he worked as an assistant coach at John Burroughs High School (1981-82) and Burbank High School (1983-84).

 

A professionally trained race car driver, FitzGerald enjoys spending his time off racing and instructing new drivers. FitzGerald has traveled extensively with many stops throughout Europe, Australia and Asia.

 

Coaching Career

1985                University of Cincinnati           Graduate Assistant

1986-1987       Alabama                                  Graduate Assistant

1988-1989       Alabama                                  Assistant Coach

1990-1993       Tampa Bay Buccaneers         Defensive Backs/Special Teams

1994-1997       San Diego State                      Linebackers

1998-1999       Washington Redskins             Defensive Assistant/Linebackers

2000                Arizona Cardinals                    Quality Control Coach

2001-2003       Arizona Cardinals                    Linebackers   

2004-2007       Baltimore Ravens                   Linebackers

2008-2011       Cincinnati Bengals                  Linebackers

2012-2015       Indianapolis Colts                    Linebackers

Jeff FitzGerald enters his fourth season as the linebackers coach for the Indianapolis Colts. The 2015 campaign will mark FitzGerald’s 22nd season coaching in the NFL ranks.

 

In 2014, FitzGerald coached starting linebackers Jerrell Freeman, D’Qwell Jackson and Erik Walden. For the first time since 2011, two Colts linebackers (Freeman and Jackson) topped 100 tackles on the season. In his first year in Indianapolis, Jackson earned his first career Pro Bowl nod after starting all 16 games for the fourth consecutive season and leading the team with 184 tackles (111 solo). He set single-season career highs in sacks (4.0) and fumble recoveries (four). Freeman topped 100 tackles (144) for the third straight year, while adding 1.5 sacks, six passes defensed and one forced fumble. In three postseason starts, he added 37 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Walden recorded 57 tackles and a personal-best 6.0 sacks on the year.

 

In 2013, FitzGerald led a group of linebackers that featured Freeman, Pat Angerer and newcomers Kelvin Sheppard and Walden. Freeman led the Colts in tackles (169) for the second consecutive season, while setting career highs in sacks (5.5), forced fumbles (six), fumble recoveries (two) and interceptions (two). His forced fumbles total tied him for third in the NFL and first among inside linebackers. Angerer finished with 87 tackles on the season and one interception, while Sheppard added 62 tackles and 1.0 sack in 15 games played. Walden recorded 58 tackles, 3.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 15 starts.

 

Colts linebackers accounted for three of the top five tacklers on the team in 2012, including Freeman (203), Kavell Conner (73) and Angerer (57). The linebackers combined for 22.0 of the team’s 32.0 sacks while adding five of the six recorded forced fumbles. Another bright spot during the 2012 campaign was the emergence of Freeman. Following a three-year career in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2009-2011), Freeman joined the Colts and led the team with a franchise-record 203 tackles (116 solo) while adding 2.0 sacks, one interception returned for a touchdown, one forced fumble and two passes defensed. He became the first undrafted NFL player to return an interception for a touchdown in his debut since 1987.

 

Prior to joining Indianapolis, FitzGerald spent the previous four seasons (2008-2011) as the linebackers coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. In 2011, the Bengals defense was among the best in the NFL, ranking seventh overall (316.3 ypg.), ninth in passing defense (211.6 ypg.), 10th against the run (104.7 ypg.) and ninth in points allowed (20.2 ppg.). FitzGerald coached linebacker Thomas Howard who led the team in tackles (120) in his first season with the club. In 2010, Cincinnati linebackers Dhani Jones, Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga finished first, second and third on the team in tackles, respectively. 

 

FitzGerald directed the Baltimore Ravens linebackers for four seasons (2004-07). In 2006, he became only the second linebackers coach in NFL history to have four of his players named to the Pro Bowl in the same season (Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs and Adalius Thomas). He also mentored linebackers for the Arizona Cardinals (2001-03) and Washington Redskins (1998-99).

 

FitzGerald started his NFL coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, assisting with the defensive backs and special teams for four seasons (1990-93), while also working on the development of the advanced computer and video systems in use today.

 

Prior to entering the NFL, FitzGerald served as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati (1985) and the University of Alabama (1986-87), where he earned a master's degree in education, before being promoted to a full-time assistant at Alabama (1988-89). He also served as a linebackers coach at San Diego State University from 1994-97.

 

FitzGerald is a native of Burbank, Calif., and played linebacker collegiately at Oregon State University before transferring to Cal State-Northridge. While attending Cal State-Northridge, he worked as an assistant coach at John Burroughs High School (1981-82) and Burbank High School (1983-84).

 

A professionally trained race car driver, FitzGerald enjoys spending his time off racing and instructing new drivers. FitzGerald has traveled extensively with many stops throughout Europe, Australia and Asia.

 

Coaching Career

1985                University of Cincinnati           Graduate Assistant

1986-1987       Alabama                                  Graduate Assistant

1988-1989       Alabama                                  Assistant Coach

1990-1993       Tampa Bay Buccaneers         Defensive Backs/Special Teams

1994-1997       San Diego State                      Linebackers

1998-1999       Washington Redskins             Defensive Assistant/Linebackers

2000                Arizona Cardinals                    Quality Control Coach

2001-2003       Arizona Cardinals                    Linebackers   

2004-2007       Baltimore Ravens                   Linebackers

2008-2011       Cincinnati Bengals                  Linebackers

2012-2015       Indianapolis Colts                    Linebackers