Frank Reich Hot Seat Meter: 60% (Once again warming up)
The Colts’ defense was once again amazing, and for the second game this season they did not allow a single touchdown. Gus Bradley has elevated this unit to the next level, as what they sacrificed in turnovers forced they more than make up for it with a stingy defense that makes opposing offenses work a ton for first downs. The run-defense once again returned to form against Henry, holding him in check for just a bit over 4 yards per carry, and the pass defense held Tannehill in check. The defense as a whole did more than enough to win the game, holding the Titans to just 12 points, 16 first downs, and 254 net yards of total offense. The defense has to be pissed right now, because they are playing dominant football and the offense is just laying egg after egg.
The offense as a whole was once again terrible, and this is now the absolute worst offense I have seen in the Frank Reich era through 7 games. First and foremost, yes, the offensive line has crumbled. Matt Pryor is a revolving door anywhere he plays, your starts of the line in Ryan Kelly and Quenton Nelson have regressed noticeably, and left tackle Dennis Kelly is serviceable but not spectacular and struggled against Bud Dupree yesterday. Quarterback Matt Ryan just looks helpless in the pocket, he is flinching, the constant pressure is clearly starting to get into his head and yesterday he threw two very bad interceptions, one resulting in a touchdown for the Titans. Perhaps Frank can explain why Ryan threw the ball an astounding 44 times while Jonathan Taylor got just 10 carries. Keep this in mind, Matt Ryan had 243 passing yards on those 44 attempts, resulting in 5.52 YPA, while Taylor got 58 yards on his 10 carries, a 5.8 YPC clip. JT got a higher YPC number than Ryan had YPA, yet Taylor got just 10 carries and Ryan passed the ball 44 times. Let that sink in, that is awful mismanagement by Reich, a coach that has looked outmatched seemingly every single game, leading an offense that cannot establish any sort of rythm and tempo, and he stubborningly refused to do the one thing that was actually working. There is still plenty of football left to be played, but 7 games is a reasonable sample to take assumptions from, and it seems like Matt Ryan is just not the answer, and that Frank Reich could, and probably should, realistically be out of a job this offseason.
Keeping offensive line coach Chris Strausser
Seriously how on earth is Strausser still employed by the team? It makes me believe that he either has dirt on Reich or Ballard, or perhaps the Colts are actively trying to get Ryan killed? The offensive line has drastically regressed over the past two seasons, and despite having plenty of talented linemen, they have been among the worst units in the NFL so far. Someone’s head has to roll for that, and it has to be Strausser, as soon as possible.
Having your starting punter run sprints in Training Camp
Remember punter Rigoberto Sanchez tearing his Achilles while running sprints in training camp? Well yesterday his backup had perhaps the worst punting performance not influenced by wind I have ever witnessed. I am just partly serious on this one, as that was mostly bad luck, and I stand by the thinking that the punter is part of the team, so he has to run, but Haack was just so bad yesterday that I really miss Rigo.
I have been among Reich’s harshest critics from the beginning, but I would give him at least a few more weeks of tolerance as he has proven in the past that his offenses improve drastically as the season moves along. The thing is, this offense has shown us nothing thus far, there is literally nothing to be excited about. Despite having some talented playmakers like Jonathan Taylor, Pittman Jr., Nyheim Hines, and Parris Campbell, while adding some productive rookies like Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods, this offense is just boring to watch, and that falls mostly on Reich.