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Tony Dungy Pushes Back On Jim Irsay's Decision To Fire Frank Reich

Former NFL coach Tony Dungy.

The Indianapolis Colts have made headlines for some strange decision-making lately.

First, the Colts benched starting quarterback Matt Ryan two weeks ago in favor of sixth-round draft pick Sam Ehlinger.

Then, this week, they fired head coach Frank Reich. Reich will be replaced by former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who has never coached in the NFL or college football, as interim head coach and by 30-year-old Parks Frazier as the offensive play-caller.

It's not just fans wondering what Colts owner Jim Irsay is doing. Former Indianapolis and Tampa Bay head coach Tony Dungy sounded just as perplexed as the rest of us on an appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show" Tuesday.

Dungy said Irsay didn't reach out to him about how to handle this season, but if he had, he would have tried to talk Irsay into keeping Reich, who went 40-33 in four-and-a-half seasons with the Colts.

"As a fan and a former Colt, I would have said, hey Jim, you’ve got as many wins as the Rams, the defending Super Bowl champs have," Dungy said. "There’s no super teams out there. Get this going, stay with Frank, let’s see if we can win a few games here, get back in the race. If you make the playoffs, you already beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Everybody’s saying they’re going to the Super Bowl. You already beat them. So if you get in, who knows what’s going to happen? So stay with the best course of attack to get you in these playoffs.”

While he may not have agreed with the decision to part ways with Reich, Dungy seemed even more perplexed by the Colts' decision to start Ehlinger behind center.

The Texas product has thrown for 304 yards, no touchdowns and one interception across two starts, and the Colts mustered just 121 yards of offense and three points in a loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Dungy said he could understand benching veteran Matt Ryan, who the Colts traded for during the offseason and whose contract is laden with incentives, but he would give fellow backup Nick Foles a shot. The journeyman famously led the Philadelphia Eagles to their Super Bowl LII victory.

"Matt Ryan, I guess, it’s the fact that it’s contracts and if he plays so much, then you pay this money next year, or if he gets hurt, this much is guaranteed, so you think, alright, we’re not going to make the playoffs or we’re not going to win a Super Bowl, so we’re not going to do that," Dungy said. "But Nick Foles, I can’t understand. I love Nick Foles, and I think in this situation, a guy who can get rid of the ball quick, who knows the NFL landscape, who has done this in the past and led teams on second-half marches, I’m not sure why he’s not playing."

Patrick, like many observers around the NFL, speculated that Irsay is trying to set the Colts up to lose games down the stretch in order to get a higher pick in the NFL draft and have a better selection of quarterbacks available.

We'll get our first inclination Sunday, when Saturday makes his coaching debut against the Las Vegas Raiders.