When Colts owner Jim Irsay hired an interim coach last week, he opted for a former Colts player not currently on the coaching staff. Irsay, however, already had a former Colts player on the coaching staff.
Reggie Wayne joined the team in March as receivers coach. He was asked on Thursday whether he could have accepted the interim gig.
“Shit yeah,” Wayne said, via Zak Keefer of TheAtletic.com. “Why wouldn’t I?”
He wasn’t offered the chance. No one other than Saturday was, apparently.
It would have been easier to sell Wayne or any other current member of the coaching staff. It would have been easier to sell Saturday, if he’d accepted either of the two offers to become the team’s offensive line coach. He made it harder for Irsay to justify the hire by not grabbing an oar and rowing, before becoming the captain.
Irsay may have gravitated toward Saturday due to his experience as an offensive lineman. As Keefer explains in a separate article, Saturday successfully pushed the buttons of the team’s underachieving blockers in Sunday’s win at Las Vegas.
Regardless, it’s working. For now. And if it keeps working, it opens up a new avenue for owners to find head coaches.
There’s still a potential impact of this approach on the current coaching industry. Assistant coaches toil under the vague promise of upward mobility, with a head-coaching gig serving as the primary motivator to keep grinding.
In law firms, for example, partnership is the carrot that gets dangled to persuade associates to outperform their current compensation levels. If, all of a sudden, the firm will be passing them over to add partners who never even went to law school, that would affect the morale of the associates.
With it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, you get the point. It’s not about Jeff Saturday. It’s about owners finding a way to short-circuit the traditional hiring process — and possibly saving plenty of money along the way.