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Reich’s Best/Worst Decisions: Week 8 vs. Commanders

Washington Commanders v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Frank Reich Hot Seat Meter: 75% (Seat is most certainly hot right now)

Best Decisions

Benching Matt Ryan for Sam Ehlinger

Sam Ehlinger is clearly the better choice right now for a Colts’ team that has been struggling with poor pass protection every single game this season. Ehlinger actually managed to extend a few plays and get positive yardage with his legs, and was spot on as a passer, as his improved mechanics were on point against the Commanders. Even if Ryan heals from his injury, I think Ehlinger should be the Colts’ starting quarterback the rest of the season. If he is good then you finally found yourself a young quarterback that can be the guy for the foreseeable future, and if he is bad then you at least know 100% sure that he is not the guy and the team gets a high draft pick to be able to get that guy.

Gus Bradley’s defensive gameplan

Gus Bradley has been absolutely amazing for the Colts this season, and other than Kenny Moore I would argue that he elevated every single defensive player this season. The Colts’ defense has now held opponents under 21 points in 5 of the first 8 games (a feat they managed just 8 times last season). Keep in mind that Bradley managed to do this with injuries to several starters throughout the season, and the team’s best defensive player Shaq Leonard has played just 40 snaps overall this year.

Involvement of Parris Campbell in the offense

Parris Campbell has finally found a steady role in the Colts offense and is having by far his best season as a pro. Yesterday he finished the game with 3 touches for 81 yards, and the 3 of them were on designed plays by Reich to get him in space with the ball in his hands.

Worst Decisions

Red-zone playcalling

Once again the offensive play-calling in the red-zone is at the very least questionable for this team. Not a single target to massive tight end Jelani Woods who has been a great weapon near the endzone this year, and the 3rd and goal at the half-yard line call where JT ran the ball out of the shotgun formation was atrocious. Knowing Taylor was on a bum ankle, and that your offensive line has not been having the greatest of days you go and call that? Horrendous call by Reich who seems to have lost that edge that characterized him as a head-coach.

STILL not firing Chris Strausser

Seriously how is Strausser still employed as the Colts’ offensive line coach? The highest paid line in the NFL is playing like a bottom 5 unit, and even despite having to suffer through Matt Pryor there is no reason for struggles like we are witnessing. After 8 weeks and no signs of improvement at all, Strausser needs to be let go as soon as possible.

Getting conservative late in the game

There were two instances where the Colts got too conservative for my taste, though one was certainly not as blatant as the other. The not so grave one was after the Commanders had scored a field goal to make it a 6-point game and the Colts got the ball back with less than 5 minutes remaining. After failing to get a first down by half a yard, Reich elected to punt the ball instead of going for it. With the way the defense had been playing, I can live with that call, but it seemed like the Colts did not go for the kill right there. The other and the worst was the choice to kick the field goal instead of going for the touchdown after Michael Pittman Jr. was ruled short of the touchdown and then the horrendous play call to JT. If you are paying your offensive line so much money, you should be able to get a touchdown on two QB sneak attempts from the half-yard line...

Overall, after this game, I am now convinced that Reich should not be the head-coach next season for the Colts, and that a fresh start is in the best interest of both parties. I am just done with him.