After the 26-3 drubbing in New England on Sunday afternoon, the inevitable finally became a reality. Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay fired Head Coach Frank Reich after 5 seasons as head coach. If you ask any Colts fan, this was one of the worst offensive performances we have seen in the Frank Reich era. Sam Ehlinger was sacked nine times and the offense accrued a total of 121 yards of offense. Yet again, we saw regression from the previous regression. Jim Irsay had no choice but to finally fire the head coach. Reich finishes with a 40-33-1 record during his Colts tenure, with only one playoff win and zero division titles. With a firing, comes a hiring. Jim Irsay announced that former Colts OL/C Jeff Saturday would be taking over on an interim basis.
Who Is Jeff Saturday?
With Jeff Saturday talking over as Colts head coach for the remainder of the season, he joins just a handful of coaches to take over with zero college or NFL coaching experience. Saturday was the head coach of Hebron Christian Academy, a high school in Georgia. During his three seasons, he accumulated a 20-16 record with 3 postseason wins. He is a member of the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor for his time as the starting center during the Peyton Manning era. He was the starting center during the Colts Super Bowl Championship team in 2007. He was also the lead negotiator for the players union during the 2011 NFLPA collective bargaining agreement which nearly de-railed that season when the two struggled initially to come to an agreement. Recently, he has been in broadcasting with ESPN and served as a paid consultant to Jim Irsay and the Colts organization.
Why Frank Reich Had To Go
While the firing of Frank Reich did not come as a surprise to the fans, it’s still rare to see a mid-season firing of an NFL head coach.
As mentioned above he did finish with a 40-33-1 record during his tenure, but we saw no division championships, while playing in arguably the weakest division in football. We saw immense regression from last season and what stood out to me was the trajectory of the regression. They were not improving this season from week to week.
Which legendary NFL defense would love to resurrect?
1985 Chicago Bears
1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
2000 Baltimore Ravens
2002 Tampa Bay Bucs
1986 New York Giants
2013 Seattle Seahawks
The offense was bland, inconsistent, and lacked creativity. Reich also stuck his neck out for Carson Wentz and convinced his bosses to bring him on as the franchise QB instead drafting a young QB and grooming him to be the leader for years to come. Wentz did not live up to expectations for this football team last season and Matt Ryan has obviously underwhelmed this season as well.
The Next Steps For Indianapolis
While the hiring of Jeff Saturday has come as a shock to the fans, it was an even larger shock for the players on the football team. Indianapolis had 2 coaches with former head coaching experience in John Fox and Gus Bradley. Special Teams Coordinator Bubba Ventrone was the person that came to mind when the firing was announced to media outlets.
This would have been a great opportunity for him to have a “trial run” at a head coaching position. For those in Indianapolis that know Jeff Saturday, they know him to be a great leader of men with a great work ethic and high football IQ. When Frank Reich was fired on Monday that left them with zero coaches on the staff that had ever called plays in an NFL game on permanent basis.
Saturday announced that assistant QB coach Parks Frazier will call plays for this team. He has never called plays in any capacity but was a key voice to Frank Reich in building the weekly play calling sheet. He was also the staff member who taught Sam Ehlinger the Colts playbook since he was drafted last season.
The Future For Indianapolis
Recently, this team looked just good enough to stay in football purgatory and having to draft in the middle of all rounds with no ability to get a top draft pick. While this is still a possibility, I think Irsay understands that his odds are now stacked towards finishing in the bottom of the league. For a team without a solidified QB status, that is a great place to be for them. I believe that this is not an audition for Saturday to be the head coach, but for him to be the next general manager when Irsay, most likely, cleans house completely after this season.
Saturday has always been vocal to Irsay about the problems with this team this season and this allows Irsay to have another set of “eye and ears” in the locker room. It’s most fans belief, that current GM Chris Ballard will not return next season. Ballard and Reich have been unsuccessful with the QB situation with band aid solutions.
With a potential franchise QB draft pick on the horizon this coming off season, it appears that Irsay has decided that he doesn’t want the current regime to make that decision in April. Irsay is taking a great risk with Jeff Saturday and his continued nostalgia. With his old age and his daughters beginning to run more of the operation, this could be Jim Irsay’s final stand for one final Lombardi Trophy.
Let us know your thoughts on the Colts, Jim Irsay and Jeff Saturday in the comments below!
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