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INDIANAPOLIS – Through two seasons, Frank Reich has coached the Colts to 17-15 record.
After going 10-6 last season, the Colts went 7-9 following the surprise of Andrew Luck retiring.
Even though Reich wasn’t the first choice for Chris Ballard back in early 2018, the GM is thrilled with his head coach.
“I’m fortunate to have a partner like Frank Reich,” Ballard says. “He stands for all the right things, all the right things, as a man and as a head football coach. He makes men better. He makes our players better as men and he’s a heck of a football coach.
“I couldn’t ask for a better partner than Frank. Do we always agree? No, we don’t always agree. That’s natural. But do we work together to get to the right answer? Absolutely, we do. That’s healthy. That is a healthy thing. I love the banter back and forth with both Frank and our staff. That’s healthy.”
Let’s take a closer look at Frank Reich’s first two seasons as the head coach of the Colts:
Offensive Goal Nearly Achieved
Entering his second season at the helm, Frank Reich had a lofty goal of becoming a top-5 rushing attack.
While the Colts did rush for 2,130 yards—a number the franchise hadn’t reached since 1988—they finished the year 7th in rushing yards per game (11th in yards per carry).
Even before Andrew Luck retired, Reich had a clear focus of running the ball at a better, and more frequent, clip. And losing Luck led to Reich wanting (needing?) to rely more on the run game, behind all that offensive line talent.
The Colts are a successful rushing team, but to prove Reich’s point that this is the blueprint necessary to win at a high level, it’s time for Indianapolis to produce against the upper echelon run defenses.
Still Seeing Innovation And Aggression
Despite the passing offense not reaching anywhere near an adequate level in 2020, Reich has still brought a necessary nature of aggression and innovation.
Reich promised that on his first day on the job.
He’s followed that up with creativity offensively and a propensity for not automatically punting on every 4th down.
The decisions haven’t all been perfect, but Reich has implemented a mindset that his players clearly gravitate towards.
When it comes to in-game management/when to challenge plays, the Colts have not had many glaring issues there under Reich.
Acting On Accountability/Competition
In 2018, Frank Reich’s team responded tremendously after a 1-5 start.
In 2019, a 5-2 start tapered off with the Colts losing 7 of their final 9 games.
One of the definite reasons the Colts missed the playoffs in 2019 came from a lack of accountability practiced by the team.
For an organization that constantly preaches the need for competition, Reich and company refused to make any changes to a historically bad placekicking unit.
Failing to follow through on core beliefs shouldn’t, and can’t, be the norm moving forward, but it was costly in 2019.
Handling Of Every Unit
At times we need to remember, Frank Reich is the ‘head coach’ of the Indianapolis Colts, and not only the play caller.
Just because Reich lets Matt Eberflus (defense) and Bubba Ventrone (special teams) handle their respective units, doesn’t mean Reich is absolved of blame when those parts of the game don’t perform well enough.
Reich is the head coach, therefore he has authority of all facets of the team, and must make changes if those units do not improve in 2020.
Poor play defensively, especially in the second half of the season, and terrible kicking were critical factors in the Colts missing the playoffs this past season.
Even though Reich didn’t hire Eberflus, that can’t impact the head coach interjecting and demanding better, with Chris Ballard believing some personnel tweaks are needed defensively, as well.