11:59am: In a surprising move, the Colts have announced former center Jeff Saturday as their interim head coach. The 47-year-old spent all but the final season of his 14-year playing career in Indianapolis, earning a total of six Pro Bowl nods. A member of the team’s Ring of Honor, he has since worked as a consultant with them, along with a role as an ESPN analyst.
The decision to hire from outside the organization is noteworthy, given the presence of far more experienced options in Bradley and Fox. This will mark Saturday’s first coaching role at the college or NFL level, making this a borderline unprecedented hire. A press conference is scheduled for later today.
10:34am: The second in-season head coach firing has taken place in the NFL. Frank Reich has been let go by the Colts, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The team has confirmed the news.
Reich had increasingly become the subject of scrutiny this season, his fifth leading the Colts’ sideline. The team has run into unexpected offensive struggles, and as the unit’s play-caller, the 60-year-old bore the brunt of criticism. Just last week, however, it had appeared as though his job was safe for at least the immediate future.
Yesterday, Indianapolis suffered a 26-3 loss to New England, representing another low mark on the campaign with respect to the offense. Second-year passer Sam Ehlinger was making his second career start, after being installed as the starter in place of veteran trade acquisition Matt Ryan. That decision, it was later revealed, was driven not by Reich, but rather team owner Jim Irsay.
Another sizeable move came last week, when offensive coordinator Marcus Brady was fired. He did not handle play-calling duties, though, leading to questions of how much of a difference that move would make. It also pointed to Reich’s time with the Colts potentially being in jeopardy barring a significant turnaround. That certainly didn’t take place yesterday, and the team now sits at 3-5-1 on the year.
Indianapolis has faced inconsistency along the offensive line – once the undisputed strength of the team, and one of the best units in the league – and star running back Jonathan Taylor has missed time with injury. Even when healthy, however, he has not played to the potential his first two seasons demonstrated. In the passing game, the team actually ranks in the top-10 in yards per game (257), but Ryan’s struggles with turnovers hamstrung the league’s lowest-scoring team and greatly influenced his benching. The lone move the team made at the trade deadline was sending backup running back Nyheim Hines to the Bills.
Reich will depart with an overall record of 40-33-1. Three of his past four seasons had ended with winning records, but the team’s late-season collapse in 2021 cost them a playoff spot. A return to the postseason was considered a baseline expectation for 2022, especially given the stability Ryan was expected to provide after years of searching for a long-term Andrew Luck replacement. It appears likely the Colts will be kept out of the playoffs once again this year, making the remaining weeks an evaluation period for Ehlinger and the team’s other young players.
The Colts’ remaining staff includes a pair of coaches with HC experience: defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and defensive assistant John Fox. Former DC Matt Eberflus became the Bears’ head coach this offseason, one year after former OC Nick Sirianni departed for Philadelphia to do the same. Now, all three mainstays on Indy’s sideline are gone, with plenty of uncertainty surrounding the team moving forward. Reich joins ex-Panthers bench boss Matt Rhule as coaches now on the lookout for their next employer.
71 comments on “Colts Fire HC Frank Reich, Name Jeff Saturday Interim Replacement”
He’s probably relieved. What a poop show.
Reich was the poop show. Has been for a while.
Who would have thought that sifting through other teams’ QB trash (Rivers, Brissett, Wentz, Ryan) would not end well for him…
Rivers was decent. He got them to the playoffs at least.
Brissett was/is not considered to be a savior or even a starter.
Weird, coaches usually start to excel once the owner meddles in the depth chart.
Who could have predicted Irsay deciding on QBs would have backfired. Obv he doesn’t have quite the situation of Snyder but he’s not that far off (owner incompetence not org culture). He got insanely lucky he had Manning and Luck all those years.
Reichs a good coach he’ll land on his feet somewhere. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them can Ballard after the season too.
That’s exactly the point I’d make. Who the heck does Jim Irsay think he is to complain about bad ownership? Literally in the same league/category as Dan Snyder. Think I’d prefer Snyder (though without Bruce Allen).
Too bad Reich can’t fire Irsay.
I can’t see how Saturday could be the interim, when Irsay is already the permanent head coach.
If I were a team looking for a new head coach this offseason, he’d be high on my list. Not that the guy has been blameless in Indy, but he’s overall been a very good head coach, despite several rounds of tough luck. Pun unintended, but how different things might have been without Luck’s retirement. He stepped in for McDaniels and righted the ship. He kept the team competitive with a revolving door at QB. I think he would be a notable step up for a bunch of teams right now.
Well, hopefully he needs a stint as an OC first, because he’s the best OC candidate I see mid-season if the Steelers fire Canada.
But I doubt he’d take something this year. Collect his money and relax with family until the hiring cycle begins next year, see if he can land a HC job as you suggest.
I think he’s absolutely a HC candidate, and as you said, I can’t imagine he’d take a coordinator job midseason, let alone with a non-competitive team. (And making an in-season move like that doesn’t sound like the Steelers.)
If I were a Steelers fan, I’d love to see them bring in Joe Brady next season. He looked like a HC candidate before he became fall guy for a Panthers team with an impatient owner, in over his head coach, and no QB plan. He could be a great fit.
I could be sold on that. Amazing how open minded one becomes watching a team struggle to break double digits week in and week out!
Yeah, it’s still quizzical that they gave him the job, and it will be malpractice if he’s still OC next year somehow.
Aaron rodgers perfect landing spot! Packers need to rebuild
The perfect landing spot for Rodgers is a team that’s become a quarterback graveyard with a weakened line and receiver group?
sadly i would say the packers are worse on both accounts than the colts on both accounts and with the deal that the packers and rodgers has i cant see them having cap space to right the ship in the near future especially with the way they draft for the offense.
Rodgers would feel just like at home in Green Bay. Why he’d want to trade one bad situation for another mystifies me as well. Plus instability at both head coach and psychotic as owner.
On second thought life with the Packers isn’t so bad.
Welcome to Jacksonville!
Come to Pittsburgh. Send Canada back to college where he belongs.
Good plan, but it won’t happen.
Next up Josh McDaniels
And guess where the Colts will be on Sunday? Las Vegas, for the 4:05 special.
I can only hope.
This is the perfect week for Saturday to start. The Raiders are so back assward that the game is in Vegas and its only Raiders +6.5….. I would also place that DE Yannick Ngakoue had +3 sacks.
Here is your game. Raiders go up big, Colts bounce back, the game ends tied up, Carr is forced to drive the field in OT for a game winning kick. Raiders win however the spread is covered and Fanduel/Caesars/BetMGM/DraftKings all make bank.
Maybe they can rehire josh McDaniels!?
Raiders would give away McDaniels for free, he sux
Chargers should replace Lombardi with him
He was “safe” just last week lmao.
Jeff Saturday?? whoa
Absolute clown move.
“Tanking Not Tanking”
Mark schlerth would have been a better move in my opinion.
Hiring an interim head coach with zero coaching experience above the high school level is an embarrassment, when committing to Ehlinger as starter for the rest of the season was already an embarrassment. Irsay is a joke.
The season is already lost, might as well experiment and see what happens.
If there was a chance they could make the playoffs, they wouldn’t have fired Frank
Experiment and see what happens with a head coach who has absolutely no experience for half a season? What is the purpose of that experiment? What is the upside versus the downside? Just because the season is lost doesn’t mean you can’t do more damage.
See also: McCown, Josh.
I feel sorry for Indy. Medlesom owner. Sadly Taylor has been run down, won’t be the same anymore. You got his peak last year. 3 years at Wisconsin where they abused the rap out of him running the ball.
It not the coaching . It the front office thinking getting these aging vets would help the team. They need to rebuild and get youth at QB or at least a Qb who isn’t past 35
The play calling has been absolutely maddening. That’s all Reich.
He’s not the only problem by far, but they should have done this a while ago.
And now they have no one on staff who’s ever called plays and they committed to a 6th round QB with no pro experience. That’ll help!
Maybe he’ll bring in Stephen A Smith, Michael Irvin, Ryan Clark and Rex to round out the staff. They have all the answers
If I was the Colts I would call these 2
Or kellan moore
Jason Garrett? No way in hell.
Don’t think Garrett would like to return to a meddlesome impetuous owner after a decade in Jerryworld, even if he were offered the post.
“Saturday… in the park… I think it was the 7th of November…”
Came looking for this comment, thank you for obliging.
Well-played, but it might have been better if he came in to coach the team in the state next door to its west.
Frank Reich is now the “man selling ice cream”.
How is Jeff Saturday not in the HOF. Dude was one of if not the best center in the league.
For comparison sakes Jeff Saturday ended his career with 154 AV at 37. Jason Kelce is only at 105 as of 2021 at 34. Could be around 120 at 35.
Irsay pulling as many strings as possible to tank. How is nobody talking about this?
Because most people think Irsay is impulsive and erratic, so it’s actually great cover for a tank job.
Even saying this, I’d still lean towards him just making a dumb move vs. tank job.
Well, it’s not the first time that he’s done that. It is sort of ironic, given that he was the one who pushed Wentz out the door for Matt Ryan in the first place…
Too bad Saturday will not make the Colts any better on Sunday.
Colts are clearly shooting to move up in the 2023 draft – as the best way to get there is have no experience at HC and no OC.
Irsay is a bigger buffoon than his father. Jeff Saturday?? This owner is a joke. Meddling gets you a high draft pick,unless you have traded it for a broken down starting quarterback.
Good thing the Colts haven’t done that then.
Check Carson wentz knucklehead.
Andrew Luck wasn’t interested.
If all they wanted was a UDFA as HC they could have offered the job to Adam Vinatieri.
Tanking for Stroud? Don’t think so. This is all about Irsay throwing a temper tantrum at having a lousy team. Reich paid the price.
I’m guessing part of the reason Irsay was able to go outside the organization for this hire is because he’s the interim head coach. If he were the permanent hire, Irsay would’ve had to follow the Rooney Rule or whatever the agreed upon replacement for it is.
Frank had to go. His play calling was horrible. Don’t forget, he’s the one who said he could get Wentz to return to glory. It’s not ALL his fault but he’s the HEAD coach so his head is on the chopping block. Saturday might not be the answer but he played the line. Win the line on BOTH SIDES of the ball and you generally win the game.
SMH I don’t know who ruins the NFL more the Media or the Owners
Seriously? Jeff Saturday??!! Gee, imagine that another typical NFL HC hiring based on his good ol’ boy qualifications! The NFL is a joke when it comes to hiring practices.
I understand the hire. He still consults with the team. This way he gets an in-depth dive what what’s going on and what needs to happen. Most of the time, intern HC’s don’t win hence why the original HC was fired; bad roster, sloppy play et al.
The hire wasn’t to win, but to understand the issues and how to address them.
Totally, Saturday’s like part half-season proxy and part NFL version of ‘the wolf” from Pulp Fiction to go in and sort out the basics of a total OL disaster.
Interim HC’s rarely stay put. Odds are pretty steep that he’d keep the position, but I’m guessing they’re paying him enough to make it worthwhile.