On Sunday, we’ll find out the answer to the absurd question: can you pull a guy off the street (or out of a TV studio), make him an NFL head coach, and six days later… win?
It’s worth noting that Jeff Saturday, the man who was brought in here midseason to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, isn’t exactly some dude who calls on the radio saying he could do better with his favorite team.
The 47-year-old is a two-time All-Pro and Super Bowl center champion known not only for his brawn but also for his brains on the field. It’s not exactly Ted Lasso.
However, this man never even worked a day as a modest assistant coach at the professional or college level (he led a small high school team in Georgia). He hasn’t even been in the NFL since 2012, which in football terms represents roughly three generations of schematic innovation. Does he know the play? Does he know the players?
It’s not like Tom Brady is trying to make the transition from front-line meetings and strategy sessions as a player to a head coach role. Even that would be wild.
Whatever the case, it’s happening and that means anything can happen when Saturday coaches Indy against Las Vegas. This has to be the most exciting game between a 3-5-1 team (Colts) and a 2-6 team (Raiders) in NFL history.
This is genius? Is this a farce? Is this a work in progress? Saturday has a temporary job after Frank Reich was fired and could get a full-time job.
Can the Colts, 5-point underdogs, really start winning and change the fortunes of their season?
May be. Who the hell knows what is the best part of this. It’s not often you see something completely new.
Even Saturday rightly says that he is not sure.
“Maybe I’m terrible at it,” he said this week. “And after eight games, I’ll say, ‘God bless you. I am bad. I can be really good. I have no idea, but damn it, I’m definitely not going to back down. I can tell you this.
“… I am quite satisfied with the kind of man I am,” he continued. “I know I can lead men. I know that I know the game of football and I am passionate about it. I have no concerns about, “Are you as qualified as anyone else?”
If he succeeds, it could overturn conventional football thinking. Maybe experience doesn’t matter?
“I’m glad he doesn’t have NFL experience,” said Colts owner Jim Irsay, who believes too many coaches today are paralyzed by groupthink and analytics.
Irsay has always been the underdog among the underdogs that make up the property of an NFL team; an uncouth trust fund kid with a bizarre collection of guitars and a history of substance abuse problems. He definitely doesn’t care about anyone or anything. So he gave us this experiment.
And there’s not much to lose.
Indy is one of the most frustrating teams in the NFL. Despite trading for another quarterback savior, former MVP Matt Ryan, the offense is anemic. His 14.7 points per game is the worst in the league. That’s 315.1 yards per game and 4.8 yards per game, ranking them 27th and 30th, respectively. Last week, he scored just 121 points in a 26-3 loss to New England.
So what exactly is the risk here?
Irsay is adamant that the Colts don’t fail and still believes this season can be saved. “We don’t tank in Indianapolis,” he said. “We are in this business; 9-7-1 takes us out… We will do our best to win.”
That’s funny? Perhaps, but who knows with these trainers? The Colts will play the Raiders and freshman Josh McDaniels. He arrived in Vegas with a lot of experience (two years as head coach in Denver, squeezed by two long stints under Bill Belichick). But raiders are terrible.
Saturday is a smart guy and knows he doesn’t know everything. He will most likely cede all or most of his defensive control to Gus Bradley. Reich basically did the same, and defending the Colts is not an issue here; he ranks 13th in points scored (20.3).
On offense, Saturday named 30-year-old assistant Parks Frazier as the game’s host. Frazier has never called a playoff in an NFL game before, but he fits the bill here. If nothing else, it’s just a change of attitude.
“He came in with energy,” quarterback DeForest Buckner told the Indianapolis Star after Saturday’s first practice. “This is what we need right now.
Can it help fix the offensive line, fire up the offense and win matches? Can Saturday make split-second decisions while the clock is ticking? Can it continue even if there is initial success?
Is it real or movies?
The whole league will soon know about it – most likely, boom or bust. What is beyond doubt is that the hissing Colts are suddenly charming.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler and Sportzshala Sports’ Fantasy Analyst Matt Harmon discuss the Colts’ firing of head coach Frank Reich, and hiring of Jeff Saturday as interim head coach. Austin gives his perspective as a player on how an in-season coaching change can disrupt a locker room. A.E. shares his thoughts on Jim Irsay’s decision to passover the numerous head coach candidates throughout the league for someone who’s never been a coach of any kind in the NFL. Catch fresh episodes of Ekeler’s Edge every Wednesday on Sportzshala Sports and your favorite social media platforms. Listen to Ekeler’s Edge on the Sportzshala Fantasy Football Forecast wherever you get podcasts.","thumbnailUrl":"https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/rDBJNW62Vvymbbyt7o9Ifw--~B/dz0xOTIwO2g9MTA4MDthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg--/https://s.yimg.com/os/creatr-uploaded-images/2022-11/32118a40-5fd0-11ed-bbad-dd36c2188f67","uploadDate":"2022-11-09T01:47:06Z","duration":"PT4M34S","contentUrl":"https://video.media.yql.yahoo.com/v1/video/sapi/hlsstreams/4e86518c-4123-3f42-aabb-07fc49830c54.m3u8?site=sports®ion=US&lang=en-US&devtype=desktop&src=sapi","embedUrl":"https://sports.yahoo.com/video/colts-rude-awakening-following-hiring-014706487.html?format=embed","identifier":"4e86518c-4123-3f42-aabb-07fc49830c54"}