This is the first time doing the “Saturday B/W Decisions”, where I try to dissect how the head-coach performed and what were his hits and what were his misses. First of all, I want to officially say goodbye to former coach Frank Reich, it was definitely an interesting ride, and while I was among his harshest critics I think he is definitely not a bad coach, and should do well as the offensive coordinator of some other team.
I also want to address the reporters acting like the Saturday hire was a war crime, getting all worked up and angry because of an interim head coaching job. Leadership is among the most important qualities a head-coach can have, and Saturday’s leadership is out of the question here. The Colts came out and played the game with passion I had not seen from them in recent weeks, and plenty of the credit for that goes to Saturday. I still don’t believe that the Colts are in for a miraculous turnaround and an unexpected playoff berth, and I still think we will most likely end up picking inside the top 10, but acting like Saturday was the worst hire ever in the history of the NFL seems a bit much. I am especially mad at Joe Thomas saying that the hiring of Saturday was among the most egregious things he saw in his life... really?! You played for a team that just traded for a quarterback with some very serious accusations on his back, and your career (.270% winning percentage) was wasted by head coaches much more unqualified than Jeff Saturday.
Simplifying offensive playbook
The Colts reportedly used a simplified version of the offensive playbook, and it was rather evident on Sunday that they were keeping things short and simple. No 5 or 7 step drops, no play-action passes that take to long to develop, nothing complicated. Simple runs, quick hitting passes, and let the players do the work. Yes, against better defenses the Colts will need to add some wrinkles and have a few tricks up their sleeve, which I don´t think they will, but against a mediocre defense like the Raiders it worked just fine.
Leadership shown after the game
Jeff Saturday already commands the locker room. Absolutely love to see it. pic.twitter.com/yDKZYFT4bM— Indy SportsOne (@IndySportsOne) November 14, 2022
I understand that Saturday is probably not the long term answer at the head-coach position, and the team will most likely not win a lot of games until the season ends, but it was nice watching his command of the locker room, and the way he was addressing the players and how he got them fired up. Keep in mind this is a guy that was an analyst at ESPN just a couple of weeks ago, and now he has to take command of a broken team, with who knows what going on inside there. He came in, gave Matt Ryan the starting quarterback job back, and the players seem to have really responded well to his coaching style.
QB Sneak inside the 5
FINALLY! Finally the Colts utilized the QB sneak when they needed just one-yard. Matt Ryan executed it to perfection, as the Colts’ interior offensive line got the push and the experienced quarterback got the score. It sucks because I have JT on my Fantasy team and I could have really used the extra touchdown but the QB sneak is proven to be the most effective way to gain a yard, and it was nice watching Saturday acknowledge that.
There were no decisions made by Saturday that made me shake my head or scream at the TV, and while the bar is definitely lower for him than for Frank, I think Saturday coached a perfect debut.