As the Indianapolis Colts gear up to face the Carolina Panthers, one name looms large in their minds: Frank Reich. The man who was at the helm of the Colts just a year ago is now leading a new team, and it’s a reunion that’s sparking a range of emotions among Colts coaches and players.
Colts Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley acknowledges the unique challenge of facing a coach who knows the team so well. He recognizes that Reich likely has insights into their defensive schemes but suggests that the Colts have evolved since their time together. This game will be a test of strategy and adaptation for both sides.
I think that it’s changed some since we were together. He’d probably say, just like I said before, ‘Boy, it looks like they’re bringing more pressure.’
Head Coach Shane Steichen, who spent two years with Reich in San Diego, speaks highly of his former colleague. He praises Reich’s intelligence, leadership, and wisdom as a former player. While acknowledging the familiarity between the two teams, Steichen emphasizes the need to switch things up to keep the element of surprise.
The two years I was with him out there in San Diego, just the wisdom he brought being a former player, his leadership abilities. I’ve got a ton of respect for him and looking forward to seeing him on Sunday.
Linebacker Zaire Franklin shares his first impressions of Frank Reich, describing him as genuine, down-to-earth, and competitive. He expects some surprises from the Panthers’ offense, knowing Reich’s competitive nature.
...just a genuine person, very down to Earth, humble, competitive, knew he was a Pennsylvania guy like myself, Big-33 alum like myself. I think that was something that we connected on early. I feel like he just lived up to everything that I thought about him, to be honest with you.
Running back Jonathan Taylor expresses his anticipation of seeing Coach Frank Reich again. Despite the business at hand, he emphasizes the personal connection and admiration he has for his former coach.
Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, speaking highly of Frank Reich as a coach, delves into the personal side of their relationship. He recounted a touching moment from 2020 when Reich attended his baptism, highlighting the coach’s caring nature and the deep connections he forged with his players.
...he is one of the greatest men I have ever met... back in 2020 when I got baptized, I wasn’t expecting any coaches or anybody to be there besides really my family. I had a bunch of teammates that showed up and a bunch of coaches. Frank (Reich) was one of them. It just showed me there was a lot more beyond football. My head coach took the time out of his day during the bye week to come watch me get baptized and had some really encouraging words. It just meant a lot to me.
Facing Frank Reich means more to the Colts than just a football game. There’s a deep respect, admiration, and affection for their former coach. While they prepare for a competitive matchup on the field, the bonds forged off it remain strong.
As the Colts and Panthers clash this Sunday, fans can expect a game beyond the scoreboard. It’s a reunion of sorts, where the emotions and memories of a shared journey will be on full display. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is sure: Frank Reich’s impact on the Colts goes far beyond the Xs and Os of the game.