The Indianapolis Colts are extremely confusing. They continue to make decisions that come out of nowhere and it culminated with another quarterback change on Sunday.
RYAN OUT, EHLINGER IN, REICH OUT
At the end of October, after beginning the year 3-3, then-head coach Frank Reich announced that he had benched Matt Ryan for the remainder of the season. The 37-year-old, who was traded from Atlanta during the offseason, would be replaced by Sam Ehlinger.
Ehlinger, in his second year out of Texas, was named the starter for the rest of the year. Ryan was said to be dealing with a shoulder injury, but even when he was healthy, he would be the backup.
It was quite the shock. Many people believed that Indianapolis was beginning the tanking process. Reich said that was not the case.
“Nobody is waving the white flag. That’s not in my DNA,” Reich said. “That’s not in our players’ DNA. I would never do that in a million years.”
Well, with Ehlinger at the helm, the Colts went 0-2. The second of two losses came last weekend and the Patriots beat them by 23.
One day later, Reich was fired.
Although the writing was on the wall to some degree, the decision to let him go in the middle of the season was unexpected. Reich was “disappointed and hurt.”
And then it got even weirder.
SATURDAY IN, EHLINGER OUT, RYAN IN
Rather than naming Reich’s interim replacement from within, owner Jim Irsay hired Jeff Saturday. The former Colts center was serving as an analyst for ESPN and has zero coaching experience above the high school level. But all of a sudden, Saturday was leading his former NFL team as head coach.
It was a questionable decision, to say the least, and plenty of analysts did not agree with the move.
But for Saturday, it was a no-brainer. If he wins, he might get the full-time job. If he loses, oh well, he was never supposed to be there anyway.
To make a chaotic week even crazier, Saturday’s first big decision as head coach came at quarterback.
In the final two weeks with Reich at the helm, Ryan was not active. He was in street clothes on the bench as a “healthy scratch.”
Saturday started there. He activated Ryan earlier this week.
From the outside, it looked as though Saturday was going to start Ehlinger with a short leash and go to Ryan if needed. That was not the case on all.
Come Sunday, Saturday named Ryan the starter for Indianapolis’ game against Las Vegas.
When making his decision, Saturday likely noticed what the rest of us have been seeing. Ehlinger was not good in his first two starts and Ryan has a track record of success. Seems easy enough, right?
Regardless, the quarterback decision capped a wild month in Indy.
SNIP SNAP, SNIP SNAP, SNIP SNAP
- Frank Reich benches Matt Ryan for Sam Ehlinger.
- Sam Ehlinger loses his first two starts.
- Frank Reich is fired.
- Jeff Saturday is named the interim head coach.
- Jeff Saturday benches Sam Ehlinger for Matt Ryan.
It was like Michael Scott’s Vasectomies.
UPDATE: Saturday’s plan was just crazy enough to work! The Colts took the Raiders down 25-20 in Saturday’s coaching debut and Matt Ryan threw for one touchdown and ran for one more.