INDIANAPOLIS – As Jeff Saturday approached his locker on Monday afternoon, he turned around to face the media assembled with the same stoic look he has carried with him through 13 seasons as a member of the Colts.
Yes, the Colts were coming off a 62-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints in front of a national television audience, but the most experienced piece of the offense already is looking toward this Sunday.
"I'm not happy with where we are as a team, not happy with losing, there is nothing positive we take out of last night," Saturday said. "The only thing is we get another chance Sunday, and that's the saving grace of this game."
Saturday is filled with integrity and character, and he enjoys a natural give-and-take with media around the team. In the depths of a tough defeat, he mildly kidded with those around him about the days ahead.
"I'm going to have to hear from you guys (reporters) for the next six days," said Saturday. "Hopefully, we can shut you all up, put together a win and go talk about that."
The Saints jumped on the Colts from the start on Sunday and by the end of the first quarter, the visitors were trying to fight their way out of a three-touchdown deficit. Indianapolis was facing a team that had not played at home and was primed for a return in front of its fans.
With week seven in the rearview mirror, the Colts now must focus their attention on a divisional game at Tennessee. It is the third of a season-long three-game road streak.
Saturday was blunt about his assessment of the game. He pointed out he believes there is a resolve present in his teammates, and that the resolve will have the team looking forward to its next chance to compete.
"We got out-played by a very good football team. The Saints are a good team and we did not put forth a very good effort to try and match their style of play, and they put a good one on us," Saturday said. "The reality is, like I said, in six days I got to go play somebody else and they're not going to feel sorry that I just got beat 62-7. They could care less. They're trying to get a win as well.
"The one good thing about the game that we play is you get another shot at it pretty quick. That's what we'll tell our guys. I hope everybody in this locker room understands there ain't no quitters around here. We are going to fist-fight until the day ends. I've got faith in the guys I play with. I've got faith in the coaching staff. We are going to put together a good plan, and we'll come back against Tennessee and put forth a good effort."
The first question Saturday was asked Monday afternoon was in response to reports that he said the Colts were 'out-coached' following Sunday night's defeat. Saturday quickly refuted the notion and cleared the record.
"I didn't say that," said Saturday. "I said that as a team, we were out-played, we were out-coached. There is nothing that we did better than they did yesterday. I've been in this game way too long to try to lay the blame on anybody else. No coach put pads on. We did, and we didn't play well at all. There is no scapegoat in this. If you can't look at all 53 guys and know we screwed it up and we all got beat, as bad as you can get beat. There are not enough fingers to go around. We all share the same burden here and the same blame. We've got to get it fixed and go play better next week."
Head Coach Jim Caldwell cleared up any confusion regarding Saturday's comments by saying the center was just reiterating what Caldwell told the team in the locker room following the game.
"Well, I think what he was referring to was the exact, same thing I told the team," Caldwell said. "I told them we were out-played in every phase and I told them I was, as a coach, myself, that's who I was referring to, that I just didn't think I did as good of a job for them that I should have done. Obviously, that was in the way in which we played. … I think that's what probably he was referring to, more so than anything else, my statement in that regard."
In times of struggle, the 53 players in the Colts locker room turn to the leaders and veterans who have experienced the triumphs and tribulations of the National Football League.
Offensive tackle Quinn Qjinnaka was once again thrown into the fire at right tackle Sunday night when Ryan Diem could not go due to an ankle injury. Despite only being signed three weeks ago, Qjinnaka knows the voice to turn to in the Indianapolis locker room.
"He's one of the five guys that's been here forever," Ojinnaka said of Saturday. "We all have to look to him for leadership. I'm sure he's been in this situation before when the team isn't winning as we're used to. He is a good leader, and he's going to lead us."