According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay is not considering firing his top leadership, general manager Chris Ballard or head coach Frank Reich at this time—despite a disappointing start to the season and a surprising recent change at starting quarterback:
Colts owner Jim Irsay clarified, rather emphatically, that he is giving no thought to firing Frank Reich as head coach or Chris Ballard as GM.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 30, 2022
"I'm in a great spot with Chris and Frank. We're all re-energized with the move to Sam Ehlinger. Nothing is easy but feel really good."
Regarding Reich, Irsay’s comments were re-affirmed by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport in a separate report:
“What did it (Matt Ryan’s demotion) mean for Frank Reich’s job security?”
“Multiple sources say Reich is in no trouble at all,” writes Rapoport. “His job status is best described as ‘safe,’ sources say, and in good shape.”
Both Ballard and Reich signed contract extensions through the 2026 seasons, and at times, while both have flashed their football intelligence and scouting acumen—the latter in Ballard’s case, the results in wins and losses simply haven’t been up to par yet.
Since Ballard’s arrival in 2017 (and Reich’s a year later in 2018), the Colts have won just one playoff game and have yet to win the AFC South—as they’re the last divisional team to do so, having not won it since 2014.
There’s no doubt Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement just ahead of the 2019 campaign is a significant contributing factor, as the Colts have opened the season with four different starting quarterbacks since then—with recently promoted backup Sam Ehlinger making his first career start today.
That being said, the Colts have had potential long-term answers that the franchise could’ve theoretically otherwise acquired—albeit not without giving up exorbitant draft capital in some cases. Those alternatives include Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, Matthew Stafford, and Justin Fields through more recent offseasons.
It’s also a fair question of whether the Colts have invested too much in too many historically non-premium football positions—and it’s now affecting their on-field play and results, as they cannot keep up with the majority of other NFL teams on the field:
The Colts have big money tied up in Matt Ryan, LB, DT, C, G, RT, DT - and I guess will want to pay Jonathan Taylor— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 29, 2022
Not sure I've seen a team not prioritize LT, WR, CB, EDGE, S like the Colts have...
However, maybe Ehlinger can be the spark the offense desperately needs with his added mobility—that can both open up the running game and extend passing plays outside the pocket. Worst case, these lukewarm 3-3-1 Colts will free fall, and it places them in a better position to hopefully find their future franchise quarterback in next year’s NFL Draft.
We shall see soon enough.