If he wasn’t on the hot seat previously, he almost certainly is now after an 0-1-1 start, including a 24-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The defeat was Indianapolis’ eighth straight on the road against Jacksonville.
Sportswriter Peter King of NBC Sports didn’t flat out write that Reich is on the hot seat entering Week 3. But King did include Reich on his short list of NFL players, coaches and units who should be “very nervous” following their Week 2 performance.
The others on King’s “very nervous” list were Matt Rhule, Jameis Winston and the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line.
Frank Reich on the Hot Seat?
In addition to Reich making the “very nervous” list, King included the Colts on his list of “Goats of the week.” Keep in mind, in this case, King is not using “goats” as an acronym for “greatest of all time.”
“They just aren’t that good,” King wrote. “Of all the games of the Ballard-Reich Era, Sunday’s 24-0 loss at Jacksonville is the most embarrassing.”
ESPN’s Stephen Holder concurred.
“This is one of the worst halves of football I’ve ever seen the Colts play,” Holder tweeted. “And this is my tenth season in Indy.”
The poor play from the Colts to begin the season doesn’t reflect well on Reich. Indianapolis returned 7 Pro Bowlers from last year and then added a former MVP quarterback and ex-Defensive Player of the Year winner at cornerback. There’s no reason for the team to turn in a performance like it did in Week 2.
Since an impressive 22-16 road victory against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Day, Reich’s team is 0-3-1. During that stretch, they’ve lost by double digits twice to the Jaguars, who had the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Also in the 4-game winless streak, the Colts have failed to score more than 20 points. That too reflects poorly on Reich, who is the team’s offensive play caller.
GM Chris Ballard Sharing the Blame for Colts
Colts writer Kevin Hickey of USA Today didn’t mince words. He flat out wrote that Reich is on the hot seat. But he included Colts general manager Chris Ballard on the hot seat as well.
“Reich and Ballard deserve their share of the blame,” Hickey wrote. “Almost an equal amount of blame must be placed on the shoulders of the players as well.
“But Reich and Ballard set this roster on its current path.”
The position groups that seem to be receiving the most blame after the Week 2 debacle are the Colts offensive line and wide receivers. Obviously, Ballard put together both units.
Spotrac reported the Colts dedicated 19.84% of the team’s salary cap to the offensive line. That’s the most of any team in the league, and yet, the Indianapolis offensive line has vastly underperformed through 2 games.
Left tackle has been a particular weak spot. Inexperienced Matt Pryor has started at left tackle for the Colts in the first 2 weeks, and he has struggled.
At wide receiver, the Colts have no proven pass catchers beside Michael Pittman Jr. With Pittman inactive because of a quad injury against Jacksonville, quarterback Matt Ryan had little time to throw because of the offensive line and no open receivers due to the lack of depth at wideout.
“It’s unlikely that Jim Irsay will clean house during the season unless things really go off the rails, but if the Colts miss out on the playoffs again, both Ballard and Reich should be out of jobs,” argued Hickey.