Earlier this week, the Indianapolis Colts made one of the most surprising moves in recent memory. Indianapolis fired then-head coach Frank Reich, which wasn’t surprising in itself based on the team’s performance at the end of last season and the beginning of this one.
What was surprising was Jim Irsay’s decision to hire Jeff Saturday as head coach. Saturday has extensive football experience, having played for the Colts for over a decade and being a multiple-time Pro Bowler. What Saturday does not have is coaching experience. The only coaching experience Saturday does hold came in 2020, when he went 3-7 in high school football. Funny enough, during his introductory press conference, Irsay claimed the Colts were very lucky Saturday was available. Where else would he be?
The Colts are a mess and that’s what Jeff Saturday is inheriting
All jokes aside, Jeff will inherit a team that has massively underperformed. Fortunately for him, so has his opponent this week. The Raiders currently sit at 2-6 and have done little to inspire any hope that fans had left for the season.
The version of the Colts that the Raiders will play this week is a shell of its former self. Indianapolis has a first-time head coach, a first-time play-caller, and a starting quarterback who has never won an NFL game. This should be an easy win for Las Vegas, right? Wrong. In fact, the Raiders have found themselves in this very spot once before. Last season, amidst a whirlwind of scandals, Las Vegas hired their first-time head coach in Rich Bisaccia. Rich had absolutely no experience leading a team up until that point, and most talking heads counted the Raiders out pretty quickly.
Those talking heads ended up being wrong, and the Raiders would go on to rattle off four wins to finish the season, making the playoffs against all expectations. Now, this is not to claim that the Colts will be making the playoffs, as their season has been the epitome of rough up until now. Indianapolis currently sits at 3-5-1, although they did have an impressive win over the Chiefs this year. Still, the battle the Colts must win to make the playoffs this season is more than uphill.
Ultimately, there is something to be said about a team with a chip on their shoulder. We saw it with the Raiders last season. A combination of an unfortunate start to a season and a new coach who immediately faces criticism and doubt before ever stepping on the sideline is one that often gives a team extra motivation. It’s something to play for. Besides, the Raiders just blew a 17-point lead to the Jaguars. If there ever was a team that shouldn’t be considered a lock to win a game, it’s this one. So, before you go counting Indianapolis out, remember that they have something to play for, and the Raiders must bring their A-game this weekend.
*Top Photo: Official NFL Website