With day two of OTA’s in the books, Colts head coach Frank Reich spoke briefly in a press conference to cover some of the things he is seeing early. If you were hoping that Reich might offer a better insight into the regular goings on of the team than the past regime, prepare to be disappointed.
Most of what Reich shared was relatively standard coach speak for this time of the year. Stick to the process, blinders on, play with grit, chop wood... Okay, so maybe he didn’t use those phrases, but a lot of what he said felt pretty familiar. But let’s go through the more notable statements.
The Playbooks Are at About 75% Installed
Obviously that is important given that a whole new offense and defense will be run by the team this year. When asked about this, Reich indicated that by the end of OTA’s they would be at around 90%, and move on from there mainly refining and working on situational plays. Based on the way Reich talked about this, it was a pretty standard timeline for teams, and a major focus for them during the course of OTAs.
Andrew Luck is Not Throwing, and Reich Isn’t Worried
Reich was asked if Luck is throwing a regulation football yet. His answer was that he was not. The timeline given by Ballard, Reich, and Luck, has been to be throwing by training camp. Because that is the timeline they’ve set out, this shouldn’t really matter. But can I just tell you how much better I would feel if he was whipping the ball 50 yards downfield to Hilton by now? Reich said he expects Luck will ramp up throwing in the lead up to training camp, and won’t be hindered even if he has not started throwing by the time OTAs break.
Reich Really Likes Jacoby Brissett
Unsurprisingly, Frank Reich is a fan of the kind of backup quarterback who can step up when he is needed. Reich had no shortage of good things to say about Brissett. He was impressed by his decision making, his intangibles, called him a good passer, and said he played a lot of good football last year. Brissett, for his part, seems to be a fan of Reich’s as well. According to George Bremer, Brissett said that Reich’s words carried even more weight because of his extensive experience playing the position.
Reich is definitely a fan of Jacoby Brissett. And the feeling is mutual. Brissett said Reich’s words carry extra weight because he played the position and knows what the QBs are going through. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) May 23, 2018
If there was ever a doubt that Reich would earn the team’s respect, his playing career and demeanor with the players seems to have quelled that.
Slausen and Howard Round Out the Right Side of the Offensive Line
At this point in the season when no pads are involved, it means very little, but as of now, the offensive line will consist of the veterans at right guard and tackle. This is unsurprising, and could even extend into the year provided that Matt Slausen and Austin Howard play well and aren’t injured. But once the pads go on, rookie Braden Smith will like be a serious contender to supplant Slausen on the depth chart. Reich spoke to how their veteran leadership helps in the course of learning a new offense and praised them for adapting quickly. He also said that Quenton Nelson was so far living up to the billing and any expectations for him as far as his ability and character as well as his football IQ.
Regarding ESPN Ranking the Colts 32nd
The statements that Frank Reich makes are very measured in all things. So when he was asked, it was not surprising that his response was to tend toward coach speak regarding ESPN’s ranking of the Colts as dead last.
“Let me just put it this way, I’m confident that the team we will put on the field this year is going to be a highly competitive team.”
While he said all the right things, and shrugged off the idea of putting together bulletin board material, it was clear that the competitive juices aren’t bubbling far below the surface here. Reich just led an offense without their star quarterback to a Super Bowl win. You don’t do that and come out without your share of confidence. Soon enough, we will get a chance to see whether that confidence is to be believed in.