We have completed an interview with Jeff Saturday.— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) January 19, 2023
The 47 year old former Colts All-Pro center was a shocking midseason hire by the franchise with no prior meaningful coaching experience (*only high school). The converted ESPN analyst won his pro coaching debut, beating the Las Vegas Raiders, but the Colts lost their next 7 games and were outscored by an 87 total point differential.
While the offensive line performed at least slightly better—although part of that could be attributed to some much needed personnel changes up front, the Colts went from bad to arguably even worse largely cross the board under Saturday’s initial coaching tenure.
The beloved Colts’ Ring of Honor member is a personal favorite of team owner Jim Irsay’s and to be fair, inherited an already poor performing football team, with little to no opportunity to make meaningful changes in-season—featuring underwhelming starting quarterback and offensive line play collectively. It makes a true evaluation pretty hard, if going off strictly wins and losses.
That being said, it’s hard to argue that Saturday didn’t look overmatched in his first pro coaching stint, while deploying a very conservative mindset in play-calling philosophy.
The initial lowlights included:
-Outscored 33-0 by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter during a loss.
-Suffered a 33-0 blown lead to the Minnesota Vikings during a loss.
-Failed to beat the once lowlier Houston Texans (3-13-1) at home in the season finale.
Saturday may be the sentimental favorite in the eyes of ownership, believing that his true coaching potential can still be untapped. However, general manager Chris Ballard is heading the process, and it’s doubtful his mindset has changed much, if any from initially being against Saturday’s interim hire—as the Colts have brought in a number of more qualified candidates on paper to interview respectively.
Therefore, compounded with the early returns, it appears that the odds of Saturday coming back are fairly unlikely, but given team owner Jim Irsay’s eccentric and sometimes impulsive behavior, his full-time hire can’t be completely ruled out either. So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens this early offseason.