Eberflus 'taken aback' by Colts firing Reich, hiring Saturday originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay stunned the masses Monday when he fired head coach Frank Reich and named former Colts center and current T.V. analyst Jeff Saturday as interim head coach.
Count Bears head coach Matt Eberflus among those who didn't understand the coaching decision at his old stop.
"I will say that I was a little bit taken aback by what happened there," Eberflus said Wednesday at Halas Hall when asked about the situation in Indy. "Obviously, Frank is a very good friend of mine. I enjoyed my time with him. He certainly helped me professionally as a man, as a coach, and I can't say enough good things about Frank Reich."
Eberflus was the defensive coordinator under Reich from 2018 until 2021.
Irsay fired Reich Monday after the Colts fell to 3-5-1 following a loss to the New England Patriots, in which they averaged just 2.8 yards per play.
The decision to tab Saturday, who has no pro or college coaching experience, to lead the Colts in the interim was also a surprise to former Colts head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy. However, Dungy coached Saturday and understands what Irsay sees in him.
"I was probably just as surprised as you all were," Dungy said on the latest episode of the Under Center Podcast. "I personally wouldn't have made the move right now. I would have stayed the course because that gives you the best chance to make the playoffs. But I know what he was looking at. Someone who can lead, who can galvanize, who can bring the group together, and he felt Jeff could do that.
"Also, when they were playing well and they were a playoff team, their offensive line was the focal point of the team. They are a highly paid bunch of guys up there. They are not playing well, and who better to get that group going again and say, 'this is what we are going to build our team around these next eight weeks,' than Jeff Saturday."
Irsay's explanation for picking Saturday was ... all over the place.
"I wanted a winning coach, a winning playoff coach that was proven," Irsay said Monday. "Now, I'm glad he doesn't have NFL experience and that he hasn't learned the fear that's in this league. There was no other candidate. We were fortunate he was available. He has tons of experience."
Irsay said the move to install Saturday is about turning the 2022 season around and that there will be a full hiring process conducted after the season, but he hopes Saturday is around for more than eight games.
The Colts face the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
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