Frank Reich Hot Seat Meter: 75% (People, me included, are starting to ask for his head)
Involvement of the tight ends in the passing game
Reich has always loved utilizing his tight ends in the passing game. This season, the Colts lacked a true starting tight end, something they always had in Jack Doyle throughout Reich’s tenure. To his credit, Frank has been getting all 3 tight ends involved in the passing game. Mo Alie-Cox had a breakout game, catching 6 passes for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns, Kylen Granson is getting consistent usage in the offense, and rookie Jelani Woods made an amazing play in the little snaps he got.
Getting rookie Alec Pierce involved
Rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce is clearly a very talented player, but the thing with rookie receivers is that they usually struggle out of the gate as they get accustomed to the rigors of the NFL. This is why good head-coaches often have to simplify things to get the young guys touches to develop their confidence, which is something I have seen Reich do with Pierce. After being blanked in his first NFL game, and missing Week 2 because of a concussion, Pierce has over 60 receiving yards in both of the past two games.
Benching Danny Pinter
Danny Pinter was clearly not the answer at right guard, and Reich quickly realized that and adjusted with what he has, which is also not that good, but better. Backup Will Fries was not spectacular by any means, but he was better than Pinter, and the offensive line as a whole seemed a better unit with him at right guard.
Defensive scheme against a short handed opponent
The defense played another good game yesterday. Two of the three touchdowns they allowed came on very short fields after turnovers, and they held the Titans’ offense to just 243 total net yards. In the second half, the Titans had just 3 first downs, and 28 net yards of offense. Bradley has done a good job with the unit, and while they are not creating turnovers at the same clip they did so last year, they are still a solid unit that does its job.
All right, I am about to go off here. Frank Reich is a head-coach in the NFL because of his offensive prowess, and so far this season, it has been abysmal to say the least. This is not the result of a lack of talent, the Colts offense has plenty of it. You have 3 Pro Bowl caliber offensive linemen, you have a superstar young wide receiver, you have an MVP candidate at running back, and you have a serviceable veteran quarterback. Offenses with far less talent than this team are doing a lot more.
Some of the blame has to go to Chris Ballard for the way this offense was built. I am not going to go into the details of it on this article, but the Colts offense is not suited for today’s NFL. The MO for a succesful offense is simple, get a mobile quarterback, receivers that can get separation fast, and a serviceable offensive line, and you are in business. Still, the Colts went the opposite direction, electing instead to prioritize the offensive line. What baffles me is how after commiting an absurd amount of capital to the left guard, center, and right tackle position, the Colts went with a left tackle with no experience playing that position (the most important one in the offensive line), and a right guard with no experience at all in the NFL.
Now back to Reich, the Colts rank dead last in points per game. LAST. No team in the NFL has scored less than Indy, and keep in mind that one of those touchdowns came after a muffed punt in the 4-yard line by the Chiefs. They scored a touchdown on just 46% of their trips to the redzone, 6th worst in the NFL. They are second in giveaways with 9. They have the 6th worst YPC number. They rank 1st in sack yards lost... I honestly could go on all day with this, but I am assuming you get the point of it, the Colts offense has been terrible. The biggest part of the blame for this has to go to Reich, who is the engineer and leader of the unit, and it has not executed so far. The only bright side I can found is that it cannot get any worse than this, right? The passing game looks uninspired, Ryan is getting pressured on what seems like every single passing attempts, there has been an absurd amount of sloppy exchanges between Kelly and Ryan (two veterans), several cases of miscommunications, dumb turnovers, no holes for Jonathan Taylor. After getting a big extension in the offseason, I have seen no creative usage of Nyheim Hines, who has just 25 touches through the first 4 games. I cannot recall a single creative running play to get the offense going. Remember last year, where the Colts ran some creative schemes to get Taylor in the open field with Quenton Nelson in front of him? i
To finalize this, I am going to make it official and put into writing that I am off Frank Reich’s ship. I always had my doubts and reservations about him, not only as a play-caller, but as a leader, and as a competent head coach, but there were enough positive aspects about him where I thought that there were no better options than Frank. That is now over, I think he lost the locker room, I think he lost his edge as a play-caller, and I think he should be fired as soon as possible. I lost all faith in Frank Reich as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.