Rookie Head Coach Expectations for 2018 and Beyond: Frank Reich

There were many teams who had disappointing 2017 seasons. Some teams, like the Cleveland Browns, who finished with an 0-16 record, decided not to fire their coach. Others, however, like the Indianapolis Colts, decided not to clean house in the coaching department. There were a whopping seven head coaching changes in the past year, and it may be difficult to diagnose what those coaches should and/or will accomplish in their endeavors with their respective teams. In this edition, I will be analyzing the expectations for 2018 and beyond for newly hired Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Frank Reich.

2017 was an extremely disappointing year for the Colts, who finished with a 4-12 record. Colts’ star quarterback Andrew Luck had had injury trouble since 2015, but fought through it until early in the 2017 season when he was forced to sit out a couple of weeks with some serious shoulder pain. Andrew Luck returned to practice in October and looked ready to go before he re-aggravated his shoulder injury. Luck was finally placed on IR in November and would not return for the rest of the season. Luck was replaced by former New England backup Jacoby Brissett who flashed potential at times but never became consistent. Colts’ GM Chris Ballard fired head coach Chuck Pagano following the conclusion of the 2017 season, with Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels expected to be hired after the Super Bowl. McDaniels and the Colts officially announced that he would become the next Colts’ head coach shortly after the Patriots lost to the Eagles, but just a few hours later McDaniels announced that he had had a change of heart and decided to remain as New England’s offensive coordinator. At this point, all of the top head coaching prospects had been hired, which sent the Colts into a frenzy. They decided on Eagles’ offensive coordinator Frank Reich. It will be a very intriguing to see how Reich will fare, because he did not call plays in Philly and Carson Wentz’s success has been mostly credited to former Eagles’ QB coach John DeFilippo. That is why I am here to break it down.

Indianapolis’ defense his filled with massive voids of talent. They do have 2017 first round pick Malik Hooker at FS, but he his coming off of a knee injury. John Simon is a solid linebacker, but there really isn’t much else on this defense. Looking at the offensive side, 2018 sixth overall pick Quenton Nelson is the lone bright spot on a sorry-looking offensive line. T.Y. Hilton is a great wide receiver, but is the only proven wideout on this roster. Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle are two solid tight ends. Really the only good overall group is the quarterbacks. Andrew Luck is a star when healthy, but will need a good running back and a good offensive line in order to do that. So, really, the future of the Colts does not rest on Reich’s shoulders. It is up to Chris Ballard to build around Andrew Luck and save this franchise, which is quite the job considering the awful roster that this team has. So when I make this prediction, I could be completely wrong or completely right.

I know this has been a very short article. It will probably be the shortest of this entire series, but there just isn’t much to talk about. So if things keep going in the direction that they are going, Reich will have an average win % of about .334, which is an average record of between 5-11 and 6-10. This roster has too many holes and if Luck can’t be protected he will not last in this league, I don’t care how talented he is. No one can handle getting beaten up repeatedly for sixteen games every year. It is very sad, but the way it looks, the Colts will have broken and wasted a rare talent in Andrew Luck. I don’t think Reich is a bad coach, I think just the opposite. It just seems that this roster and organization is unsavable, unless someone like Bill Belichick were to go there. Hopefully I am wrong, but the Colts’ future looks very bleak at the time this was written.