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Jeff Saturday Has Puzzling Admission On Matt Ryan's Health

Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday

The Indianapolis Colts looked overmatched Sunday night in a 54-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Colts' biggest issue was one that has plagued them all season: turnovers. Indianapolis turned the ball over five times during the loss, leading to 35 Dallas points.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, in particular, struggled with ball security. Ryan, who leads the NFL in turnovers this season with 18, threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.

The day after the loss, Colts interim head coach Jeff Saturday was asked whether the shoulder injury that sidelined the 37-year-old Ryan earlier this season has played a factor in his struggles. Saturday's answer came as a bit of a surprise.

According to James Boyd of the Athletic, Saturday claimed that he has no idea whether Ryan's shoulder is impacting his play, saying he doesn't talk to his players about injuries.

"I don't think so," Saturday said. "That'd be a question you'd ask him, in all honesty. I don't get into injuries with players. They tell me they're good to go, I believe them and I've never questioned anybody. So, I haven't asked him if his shoulder is hurting him. I leave that to the trainers and to him. If he had something, he would tell me. But otherwise, I go as (if) everybody's ready to rip, and that's the way I look at it."

It's not uncommon to hear coaches say they let team doctors or trainers deal with injuries; they simply get the injury report and work with the players who are available.

But the head-scratching aspect of Saturday's answer is that he was talking about the team's quarterback, and one who has clearly been struggling. It would stand to reason that a coach might talk to such a player to determine how big a factor injury has played in those struggles and evaluate whether it might be best to sideline him for a week or two so that he can return to full strength.

Of course, very little about Saturday's tenure as the Colts' acting head coach has been conventional. Saturday, who played center for the team from 1999-2011, had never coached in the NFL or in college football prior to being hired by owner Jim Irsay to replace the fired Frank Reich. He was working for ESPN as a television analyst at the time of his hire.

The Colts had started second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger for the two games prior to Saturday's hire, citing Ryan's shoulder injury. Upon taking over, Saturday reinstated Ryan behind center.

Ehlinger struggled mightily, throwing for 304 yards, no touchdowns and an interception across his two games. But if Ryan were to be returned to the bench, the team could also turn to Nick Foles, the veteran who famously led the Philadelphia Eagles to a win in Super Bowl LII.

Saturday and the Colts will have extra time to determine who plays quarterback before they face the Minnesota Vikings in their next contest, as the team has a bye in Week 14.