Frank Reich Addresses Unique Challenges to Week 1 Against Houston Texans

Frank Reich

Getty Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich will face Lovie Smith in his first game as Houston Texans head coach on September 11.

The Indianapolis Colts will face a division rival in Week 1 for the second time in the last three years. But that hardly guarantees familiarity between the Colts and Houston Texans when they meet in Week 1 on September 11.

The Colts-Texans matchup will be one of five games in Week 1 of the 2022 season that will see the two teams debut either a new head coach or quarterback. While the Colts will feature a new quarterback, the Texans have a new head coach and offensive coordinator.

Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich discussed with the media on September 5 the unique challenges of facing a new coaching staff during Week 1.

“Every team faces [the element of the unknown] Week 1 for the most part, even if it’s the same coordinator,” Reich said. “You’ve had the whole offseason to work on a couple change-ups, a couple complements to things that you’ve done. So, just got to play good, sound football.”

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Texans to Debut New Coaching Staff

The Texans will start the same quarterback, Davis Mills, as they did in the first matchup against the Colts last season. But Houston has a new head coach in Love Smith and new offensive coordinator in Pep Hamilton.

Smith served as Houston’s defensive coordinator last season and was promoted to head coach after the team fired David Culley, who was the Texans head coach for just one season.

With Smith remaining heavily influential in Houston’s defensive game plan, the Colts can expect to face the same scheme on offense as last year. But that’s not entirely true on defense.

“With Pep [Hamilton] being the coordinator, there is that little bit of element of unknown,” said Reich on September 5.

While it’s unclear how Hamilton will utilize Mills and the offensive players on Houston’s roster, it’s not as though the Colts are completely unfamiliar with Hamilton. In fact, Indianapolis fans are quite familiar with him.

Hamilton served as Colts offensive coordinator from 2013-15. Since then, he’s bounced around between other NFL staffs, the college ranks and even the XFL. But he was on the Texans coaching staff last year as the team’s quarterbacks and passing game coordinator.

Smith has an even longer coaching resume. He served as Chicago Bears head coach from 2004-12 and then was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach from 2014-15. He owns an 89-87 record in the NFL.

After getting fired from the Buccaneers, Smith became head coach at Illinois. He’s been either a defensive coordinator or head coach since 2001. Smith is entering his 21st season as an NFL coach.

Unknown With Matt Ryan Behind Center for Colts

There will be an element of unknown for the Texans on September 11 too with Matt Ryan making his Colts debut.

Houston has preseason film it can study, but Reich said the team was careful not to showcase too much of its plan during the meaningless August games.

“That’s why in preseason we did nothing. We did nothing,” Reich said. “We were so generic in every way. So, use that to our advantage – even if it’s just a little advantage, right? I think it is just a little advantage, but whatever little advantages you can get in this game add up.”

Reich did admit that his offense plans to utilize a little of what Ryan did in 14 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. But how much is unclear.

The Texans will find out exactly how much in Week 1.

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