4-12-1. Head coach Frank Reich fired mid-season, Jeff Saturday taking over and doing the worst job any interim head coach has ever done, injuries, regression, organizational drama. This was most likely the absolute worst case scenario one could have envisioned before the season started.
My expectations for this season were really high, even though there certainly were some cracks in the foundation. The main one, and the undoing of the season and this team was a rather simple one: no backup plan at right guard. Chris Ballard took a big gamble with former tight end in college turned center Danny Pinter penciled in at right guard, with the only backup plan being former 7th round pick Will Fries. There also was the issue of trusting Matt Pryor at left tackle, once again, with the only backup plan being Bernard Raimann, a third round pick with just two years at all playing football. As Murphy’s Law states, basically everything that could go wrong went really wrong for the offensive line. During the first seven games, no offensive lineman allowed more pressures than Pryor. He was literally the worst pass blocking offensive linemen in the entire NFL, allowing a whopping 28 pressures (for the sake of comparison, Bernard Raimann allowed just three pressures in the last seven games of the season). Not only was Pryor a complete liability protecting the blindside of sitting duck Matt Ryan, but right guard Danny Pinter was also more than struggling to hold his own. Dragging the entire interior offensive line with him as a result, as it was evident that center Ryan Kelly was more worried about covering for Pinter than making the correct protection calls.
Matt Ryan was rocked every single game, getting rocked so hard that he even injured his throwing shoulder, and his timing was clearly off. Running back Jonathan Taylor dealt with some nagging ankle injuries and was just not the same, and the lack of proven, reliable passing weapons also hurt the team. Then, after the worst offensive showing I have ever seen from a Colts’ team, and just a week after firing the offensive coordinator, Frank Reich was fired. This was a rather confusing move, especially after the hire of former ESPN analyst and former Colts’ center Jeff Saturday, who had no prior experience at all in coaching.
After a mirage win against the Las Vegas Raiders, it all came crushing down splendidly for the team, as they dropped their final seven games of the year, and securing the #4 overall pick in the process. Tank completed, as the Colts are now in a premier position to select one of the three top quarterback prospects this class has to offer in Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State C.J Stroud, or Kentucky’s Will Levis. Either one of the three would give the Colts a young quarterback to mold and build a team around, a thing they have not had since Andrew Luck. So hopefully this abhorrent season will reward us that.
Now let me get just one thing clear as the search for the new head coach starts, by no means at all do I think that Jeff Saturday deserves to even be in consideration for the job. He has no prior experience and this season was a flat out disaster, and he has not taken any sort of blame for that, excusing himself because of the staff he inherited and saying it was already bad before he got here. There are clearly much better options for the job, too many to list, as I cannot even think of a worst option than Jeff.
So buckle up Colts’ fans. While the season may have ended, it was only one step towards what will be the defining moment of at least the next 5-7 years. A new head coach, a new quarterback, a new overall beginning. Something this team was very much in need of after the Luck debacle.