Jeff Saturday Won His First NFL Game, But Critics Of His Head Coaching Hire Remain Vocal

(Screenshot/Direct TV)

The Colts fired head coach Frank Reich and replaced him with former Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday, a move that sent shock waves throughout the league, considering Saturday’s only experience is a couple of seasons on high school sidelines.

It is the first time since 1961 that someone with no prior college or professional football coaching experience was made an NFL head coach.

Confusion and befuddlement as to how Colts owner Jim Irsay could bring in someone with no coaching experience to lead his NFL team were the prevailing sentiments. Many called Saturday “unqualified”, and others called it “a smack in the face” to other coaches who have paid their dues.

During a recent episode of “Good Morning Football,” former Cleveland Browns All-Pro and future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, spoke his piece on the matter. And let’s just say he wasn’t happy.

“It is one of the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen in my entire life to the commitment, the lifestyle and the experience that it takes to be an NFL coach — any coach — much less he head coach of the Indianapolis Football Colts.

“You have to be kidding me that this is something that Jim Irsay and Jeff Saturday, who’s not blameless for accepting the job, could have talked and decided that this was the best thing for the Indianapolis Colts at this juncture of the season.”

Thomas is only saying what so many wanted to say but probably didn’t know how to because of the utter shock behind the egregious move.

Irsay Says Saturday’s Lack Of Experience Could Be A Good Thing

During the introductory press conference for Saturday, owner Jim Irsay stated that he believes having someone with less than typical experience could be a good thing. 

“Glad Saturday doesn’t have any NFL experience.”

“I’m glad he hasn’t learned the fear that’s in this league because it’s tough for all our coaches. They’re afraid, they go to analytics, and it gets difficult. … He doesn’t have that fear.”

Of course, Irsay would say things like this because he’s the one who made the move to bring his former player and close friend.

All This Disarray Stems From Bringing In Retread QBs Instead Of Developing One

During former head coach Frank Reich’s tenure, the team went 40-33-1. In those 74 games Reich never had a QB he could develop lead the franchise. There were veterans like Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan, along with journeymen Jacoby Brissett and Bryan Hoyer. Not exactly a great group of signal-callers to choose from, and Reich still managed to post a winning record.

Amidst the chaos and disarray brought on from by Irsay over the last few weeks, the team seemed to respond to Saturday on Sunday. Led by the trio of quarterback Matt Ryan, Jonathan Taylor and Parrish Campbell, they played inspire football in a 25-20 road win over the hapless Raiders.

Ryan, the savvy vet responded with a 21-for-28 passing performance with 222 yards and a touchdown after previously being benched for backup Sam Ehlinger.

Taylor, who was questionable all week with a nagging ankle injury, toted the mail for 147 yards. And Campbell caught seven ball for 76 yards with a paydirt touch, and four of his grabs went for first downs. While this could still turn into an unmitigated disaster, for at least one week the Colts seem to buy in to what the old offensive lineman Saturday is selling.