Frank Reich and the Colts could be in for a terrific 2020 season.
Frank Reich arrived in Indianapolis with the fanbase already a little trepidacious. Despite serving as offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, Colts fans were still questioning the organization’s second choice for head coach after Josh McDaniels chose to back out of his commitment to the Colts and remain with the New England Patriots.
Despite a constantly shifting quarterback room and injuries galore, Reich has compiled an 18-16 record with a road playoff win in his first two seasons in charge in Indianapolis. With the AFC South once again wide open, Reich and GM Chris Ballard have improved the Indy roster enough to once again make a charge towards the postseason that could end up with Reich earning himself some silverware.
Frank Reich, a tremendous offensive mind, just upgraded at quarterback.
Reich, a former quarterback who became one of the best backups of all-time during his tenure with the Buffalo Bills, is entering his third season in Indianapolis, and he’ll end up with his third different Week 1 starting quarterback. After Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement put Jacoby Brissett in the spotlight, the former NC State star showed that he is an excellent spot starter and bridge quarterback, but not someone you can or should build a team around. Reich opted to lure Philip Rivers, whom he worked with during his days in San Diego, over to Indy after nearly two decades as a Charger.
While Rivers is by no means the Hall of Fame-caliber passer that he was during his prime, he is still an upgrade over Brissett and one of the more accurate passers in the league. In a Reich offense that tries to own the middle of the field before letting it rip deep, a player like Rivers has the arm talent and experience to be as successful in that system as Luck was during his final season.
With Brissett at quarterback and No. 1 receiver TY Hilton constantly battling injuries, Indy still managed a solid 22.6 points per game. Imagine what he could do with a healthy Rivers and a plethora of talented skill position players.
Reich is surrounded by enough playmakers on both sides to lead the Colts to the playoffs.
Even when Rivers is taken out of the equation, the Colts still have one of the deepest rosters in the AFC on both sides of the ball. Marlon Mack was the lead dog in a solid Colts backfield and the addition of Jonathan Taylor should make them even more deadly. Drafting Michael Pittman Jr. and adding him to a stable of playmakers that already had Hilton and Jack Doyle should make secondaries sweat. Their offensive line is excellent, as Quenton Nelson is the best guard in football and Ryan Kelly is one of the best centers. On defense, Darius Leonard might be a year away from becoming the best inside linebacker in football, while Justin Houston leads an improving pass rush.
The Colts might’ve gone 7-9 in 2019, but they have enough complementary parts to help Reich turn this ship around soon. Going from 7-9 to the playoffs despite the presence of a Tennessee Titans team fresh off an AFC Championship game appearance and a Houston Texans team led by Deshaun Watson would be unequivocal proof that Reich is one of the best coaches in football.
Even though Reich came to Indianapolis late and has been surrounded by more upheaval than most would perceive, he has built the Colts into a team that could easily come out of a crowded AFC South. If the Colts make a deep run into the playoffs, Reich needs to be at or near the top of most Coach of the Year ballots.