ESPN believes the Colts have a coach that’s already on the hot seat

The Indianapolis Colts have only played two 2023 preseason games, but ESPN believes that Indy already has a coach that’s under a ton of pressure.
Jul 28, 2023; Westfield, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson (56) works with
Jul 28, 2023; Westfield, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson (56) works with / The Indianapolis Star-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Indianapolis Colts are starting fresh in 2023. After a 4-12-1 record last season, Indy hired several new coaches, including head coach Shane Steichen, and also drafted quarterback Anthony Richardson with the fourth-overall pick. Now, the team is embarking on a new era of Colts football.

This era has started with Indianapolis going 1-1 through the team’s first two preseason games, and having some ups and downs. However, there hasn’t been much to takeaway in the preseason, especially with the Colts sitting their starters in the second preseason game. The real questions will be answered once the regular season starts.

Regardless, there have already been some bold takes about Indianapolis, including a coach already being on a hot seat. In a recent power rankings piece for ESPN, all 32 NFL teams were ranked, and someone on the hot seat was named for each team. For the Colts, they were ranked 29th, and Stephen Holder argued that offensive line coach Tony Sparano Jr. is on the hot seat entering the 2023 season.

ESPN says Tony Sparano Jr. is on the hot seat for Colts

Sparano was hired by Shane Steichen this offseason to help the offensive line rebound. Holder acknowledged that, and that’s why he argued that Sparano’s “inclusion here isn't necessarily about his continued employment. Instead, it's a recognition that the Colts are asking a lot of him.” So Holder isn’t really arguing that Sparano could be fired after this season, just that he has a lot of pressure to “resurrect the team's offensive line, and to do so without major personnel changes.”

The offensive line was undoubtedly the biggest problem for Indy last season. The Colts cycled through three different quarterbacks, and they all spent a ton of time on the ground. However, the offensive line started to show signs of improvement late in the season, and Indy ultimately kept the same starters.

The starting group hasn’t played much yet in the preseason, but they weren’t bad in their limited action on the field. The same cannot be said for the reserve linemen. They’ve struggled in the preseason and that’s something that Sparano and the team must get figured out. Depth is important, especially when there’s still question marks along the starting group.

Tony Sparano Jr. may not be on the hot seat exactly, but Holder is right to say that he’ll be under a ton of pressure. With a rookie quarterback under center, and hopes to run the ball, everything will start up front for the Indianapolis Colts.