By: Aaron X.
Original Date: 11/18/22
Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio blog. The Indianapolis Colts just finished one the oddest, most bizarre, and tumultuous weeks in recent franchise history. They have been under media scrutiny for all the wrong reasons. The team has floundered on the field. The Colts were expected to compete for the AFC South championship. Instead, they have struggled to find points.
Their offensive line, which was considered one of the best (and certainly highest paid) in the league, has been wholly ineffective. Eccentric owner Jim Irsay has been extremely erratic, and has started to interfere (more?) with the day-to-day operations. He made public comments about the owner of the Washington Commanders, Dan Snyder, and his feelings that Snyder should be forced to sell the franchise. He said what many owners would not say to the media. He was widely applauded for the statements.
This seemed to embolden Mr. Irsay. The Colts lost to the Commanders that week, and he started to take action. He fired OC Marcus Brady (even though Brady did not call plays – HC Frank Reich did). He insisted that second year QB Sam Ehlinger be instituted in lieu of a mostly ineffective 37-year old Matt Ryan. It did not work. The Colts traveled to New England, and were lambasted by the Patriots. Ehlinger was sacked 9 times and the Colts had 123 yards.
Irsay terminated HC Frank Reich the next day. Within hours, it was announced that Colts Ring of Honor and Super Bowl Champion center Jeff Saturday would serve as interim HC. Saturday, who was working as an ESPN announcer prior this move, was a high school coach of a small school in Georgia, but has no college or professional coaching experience. The media was twitterpated with the news. There were complaints that Irsay had skirted the “Rooney Rule” by not interviewing minority candidates. This argument was misplaced as the rule does not apply to interim coaching vacancies.
Further, the coaching fraternity was irritated that so many inspiring coaches were passed over for a commentator that had no experience. There were odd press conferences held after the hire, clearly showing a sharp contrast between Irsay and his GM, Chris Ballard. Ballard was defensive and seemed, at times, to blame the media for the Colts on-field shortcomings.
Jeff Saturday also made some perplexing decisions that added fuel to the media maelstrom. He appointed a young assistant, Parks Frazier (30 years old) to take the OC reins. Fields had no previous experience calling plays. Also, Saturday, at the last moment, inserted QB Ryan back into the starting lineup, likely against the wishes of Irsay. What could go wrong?
The Colts, unbelievably, responded well to Saturday’s leadership, and beat the Las Vegas Raiders 25-20. The offensive line played considerably better, kept Ryan upright, and blocked for RB Jonathan Taylor’s highest rushing output of the season. The question remains: Have the Colts been lacking in leadership, and is a change of style the boost they needed? Or, is this a temporary blip and the Colts will immediately revert to the mean? Was the win because the Raiders are quite poor this season, and masked the preexisting warts?
The questions remain. As a Colts fan, this was one crazy week. Indy will certainly be tested when they play the Eagles next week. Will Saturday be the answer on Sundays? We will be discussing it on Monday, for sure! Check out The Crossroads Pod with Aaron X. on Saturdays at 11 AM Est/8 AM PST, as well as all of the other great shows during the week on IESR. Shout out to our Patreon supporters and all you loyal fans who continue to help our network grow. Thank you all for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.
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