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Colts assistant Parks Frazier will call plays for the first time under Jeff Saturday

It appears that the Indianapolis Colts are leaning into inexperience this Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier is expected to serve as the offensive play-caller starting Sunday against the Raiders, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

This news comes after team owner Jim Irsay announced Monday that the Colts fired head coach Frank Reich and named ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday, who has no NFL coaching experience, as their interim head coach.

Like Saturday, the 30-year-old’s new role is something he has never done before. Frazier played quarterback at Northeast Mississippi Community College and Murray State. He went on to work at Samford University, Middle Tennessee State, then Arkansas State in what a profile describes as “low level grunt” roles. In 2018 he landed a “sudden” break as Reich’s personal assistant, having reportedly been homeless until landing that role.

Frazier has experience preparing practice plans and offensive calls sheets for games at Reich’s discretion. He's also routinely thrown passes to players before games and during practices. Still, he has never called plays before.

Frazier and his boss became so close that last year Reich officiated his wedding, to a Colts team reporter no less.

Implications of the Colts’ new coaching appointments

While this development in Frazier’s is almost movie-like on the surface, paired with Saturday’s appointment, it further challenges the notion of meritocracy in the NFL. With no experience in the roles they’ve been given, some have concerns about how Frazier and Saturday’s appointments will impact experienced minority coaches who already have a difficult time securing jobs.

Irsay addressed Saturday’s lack of coaching credentials in the introductory news conference Monday night.

“I’m glad he doesn’t have NFL experience,” Irsay said. “I’m glad he hasn’t learned the fear that’s in this league. Because it’s tough for all our coaches. They’re afraid. They go to analytics and it gets difficult. I mean, he doesn’t have all that. He doesn’t have that fear.”

Irsay hired Saturday without needing to satisfy the Rooney Rule because of the interim status, though his intentions appear to be for the appointment to become permanent. Now that Frazier has also secured a new title without much experience, the Colts’ unconventional situation and its implications could ripple across the league.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, left, speaks as interim coach Jeff Saturday listens during a news conference at the NFL football team's practice facility Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is making some waves with the unconventional hiring of Jeff Saturday and the new promotion of Parks Frazier to offensive play-caller. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)