Skip to content

Saturday 'shocked' to get Colts job, Irsay 'glad' new coach lacks experience

Rob Carr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Jeff Saturday was as surprised as anyone to learn the Indianapolis Colts picked him to take over as the team's new interim head coach.

"Shocked would be an understatement," Saturday told reporters Monday night during his introductory press conference.

After firing Frank Reich earlier Monday, the Colts hired Saturday as their interim head coach. Saturday, who played 13 seasons for Indianapolis, comes with no professional coaching experience in the NFL or college football.

Saturday's hiring has received criticism due to his lack of experience. However, Colts owner Jim Irsay defended the decision, calling his former center "fully experienced" and "fully capable" of doing the job.

"I'm glad he doesn't have any NFL experience. I'm glad he hasn't learned the fear that's in this league because it's tough for all our coaches," Irsay said. "They're afraid, they go to analytics, and it gets difficult. ... He doesn't have that fear."

Irsay added that he expects a maturation curve for Saturday but downplayed the significance of needing coaching experience.

"We don't build rockets to go to Mars," Irsay said. "We're not nuclear scientists; that is none of our jobs here. It's a very simple job that we do here."

Saturday described the process of taking over for his former team as a "12-hour whirlwind." Irsay also told reporters that the club didn't offer the interim job to anyone else.

Asked why he passed over current coaches on the staff, Irsay replied: "He's the best man for the job. There's no question about it in my mind."

Reich's firing is the franchise's latest change in response to a disappointing 3-5-1 start. The Colts also dismissed offensive coordinator Marcus Brady and relegated veteran quarterback Matt Ryan to the bench.

Saturday said he hasn't chosen who will call plays on offense for the team's Week 10 game against the Las Vegas Raiders but has interviewed assistants on the offensive side of the ball and will make a decision later Monday night.

"There are fantastic coaches on this staff," Saturday said. "I have no fear I will pick the right guy, and we will ride with it."

Despite the Colts' shakeup, Irsay added that he expects general manager Chris Ballard to return for the 2023 season.

Indianapolis heads into its next contest on a three-game losing streak, with an offense averaging a league-worst 14.7 points per game.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox