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Frank Reich Should be Colts Top Choice to Fill Head Coach Vacancy

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

We thought we were all done with this. Our wait was over. Well now we know that so much can change in a 12-hour span and, again, we’re looking for the next head coach for the Indianapolis Colts. A couple of candidates for the new process have set up interviews — Frank Reich and Dan Campbell — and there will likely be at least a couple more to come in the next 24-48 hours.

Now, I know the Colts aren’t ‘competing’ with any team for the services of their candidates, but to this point I have to believe that the right guy for the job is pretty obvious. Reich isn’t the guy who will come in with a decade’s worth of play-calling on his resume, but he’s certainly got a decade of NFL coaching experience.

Reich has a past with the Colts and was an journeyman NFL quarterback himself for 14 years. From 2009-2011, Reich worked as the Colts quarterbacks coach/tight ends coach/offensive assistant so there is certainly a familiarity there.

Naturally, Reich’s most recent success is from his part (offensive coordinator) of the Philadelphia EaglesSuper Bowl run this season. This includes his part in the offensive staff helping develop Carson Wentz very quickly between his rookie, and second seasons in the league as well as the preparation of Nick Foles to finish out the season and successfully making his way through the playoffs.

Reich has worked under some great offensive minds and could possibly bring another hot name along with him to Indianapolis as well. Whether you like Jim Caldwell or not, he’s done great things with some of the offenses he’s run. Both Caldwell and Bill Polian were big fans of Reich and his ability to assist quarterbacks and the offense in general with similar sentiments being offered from Ken Whisenhunt, and now, Doug Pederson.

Pederson thinks very highly of Reich as Patrick Finley relayed in a piece in the Chicago Sun-Times in November of last year.

NFL: Preaseason-New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Pederson on Reich: “He relates well to the players. He does a great job with the offensive staff, and he’s got the right demeanor. He’s got the mindset, the mentality, the leadership qualities that you see. I think it is a matter of time. Obviously, the more success you have as a team, a lot of places are going to look. And I was fortunate a couple of years ago to be in that position. I see Frank maybe one day having another opportunity.”

Reich hasn’t just been surrounded by great minds, as he was drafted in the third round in 1985 the backup to Jim Kelly in Buffalo, so you see, he’s got a pedigree of his own. Maybe an ironic comparison here, but Reich’s first career start came when Kelly suffered a shoulder injury and in relief, came in to lead the Bills to two big wins.

The following year (1990), Reich again was thrust into the starting role due to a Kelly injury and repeated his performance with two more key wins to gain home field advantage for the Bills. Two years later, Reich completed a 32-point comeback (the largest in NFL history) against the Houston Oilers in the Wild Card round, and went on to take out the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week in the divisional round.

This remind anyone else of the Foles situation?

Now, as I mentioned, Reich could bring a hot name along with him if the stars were to align. John DeFilippo has been talked up in the current head coach circuit over the past several weeks, and is now a target to get an offensive coordinator position with a couple different organizations.

Something that the Colts don’t appear able to combat is that DeFilippo will reportedly be interviewing on Thursday with the Vikings, while Reich won’t be sitting down with Ballard and the Colts until Friday. However, should the Vikings stall, or choose not to hire DeFilippo, Reich may get a boost in the Colts search by finding a way to bring him along for the ride.

This would give the Colts more than just a great offensive staff to work with Andrew Luck and Jacoby Brissett going forward. DeFilippo has been considered to be a year or two away from realistically becoming a head coach candidate himself. Yes, it’s possible that he could get lured away after a couple seasons in this scenario, but it’s also possible that he could theoretically become a head coach in waiting — assistant HC — for the Colts as well.

For my money this offers the best chance for some continuity and stability for Luck and this offense in the future. Luck has already had 3 offensive coordinators in his first 5 seasons, he’ll be getting a fourth with the new regime and it’d be a shame for him to have to worry about having yet another anytime soon.

This situation has gotten out of hand in a hurry with McDaniels’ actions. Alas, there is at least one very good candidate out there, and somehow landing a package deal with him and one of his current assistants would go a long way towards erasing this nightmare from our memories — and quite possibly set the organization on to a much better path for the future.