There’s little denying that Frank Reich has done a fine job as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. He’s dealt with constant quarterback turnover, and yet, the Colts have remained competitive in the AFC South.
NFL writer Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports agreed that Reich “has proven” to be a good head coach. But he still argued Reich is on the NFL coaching hot seat entering the 2022 season.
“Indianapolis is the favorite to win the AFC South, so making the playoffs is vital with Ryan leading a talented roster,” Kerr wrote. “The Colts have been more than pleased with Ryan and his command of the offense, but must avoid another late season collapse in order to evade chaos.”
The Colts were 9-6 and in a playoff spot entering Week 17 last year. But Indianapolis lost its final two games, including a blowout defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season finale. As a result, the Colts missed the postseason.
Colts, Reich Must Avoid Another Collapse
Reich has done a lot of good things as an NFL head coach in Indianapolis. He’s posted a .569 win percentage in four seasons and has never lost more than 9 games in a season. He has also led the Colts to 2 playoff appearances and a road playoff win.
To do those things while the team has started a different quarterback every year is quite commendable.
Kerr didn’t belittle Reich’s accomplishments, but he argued that Reich will not be able to survive another late-season collapse unscathed.
“The Colts lost their final two games to miss the playoffs last year, an ordeal for which they placed the blame on [Carson] Wentz and shipped him out to Washington,” wrote Kerr.
“If Indianapolis collapses again, who will [Jim] Irsay and [Chris] Ballard blame this time? Reich is next on the totem pole — and Ballard could be on his way out with him.”
It’s also worth noting that Reich was an advocate for bringing Wentz to Indianapolis. He was the quarterback’s offensive coordinator when Wentz had success early in his career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reich’s Coaching Seat Getting Warmer
While appearing on a podcast from The Athletic in May, Reich admitted to feeling pressure to win in 2022. But he described that pressure as something all NFL head coaches feel.
“I feel the sense of urgency to win now after last year happened. But it’s not because of the way last year ended,” said Reich on the podcast.
“Naturally, there’s pressure to win. That’s the way it should be. That’s what you sign up for. We all know what you have to do and we all know what happens if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.
“This is the NFL, your job security is day to day. When you sign up as a head coach, you know that, you embrace that, you welcome that.”
Kerr concluded it is “highly unlikely the Colts would even consider moving on from Reich” because of the fact that he would get another job “easily.” But he also wrote missing the playoffs this fall would “raise doubts on Reich’s ability to get the Colts to the top of the AFC.”
Reich was ranked at No. 4 on Kerr’s NFL coaching hot seat list entering the season. Kerr wrote that only Dallas Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy, Carolina Panthers’ Matt Rhule and Arizona Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury have hotter seats.