Frank Reich Shares Snap Count Plan for Starters in Week 2 of Preseason

Frank Reich

Getty Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich told the media how much he's planning to play the team's starters in Week 2 of the preseason.

Head coach Frank Reich played the Indianapolis Colts starters for a significant amount of time in the team’s first preseason matchup against the Buffalo Bills on August 13. But that won’t be the case in Week 2.

Reich told the media after facing the Bills that no starters will play against the Detroit Lions on August 20. Reich also shared that running back Jonathan Taylor, who was Indianapolis’ only starter to not play versus the Bills, will not play at all during the preseason.

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Pros & Cons to Playing Starters

Reich explained to the media on August 6 that a major reason for playing the starters more this preseason was to have the team better prepared for September.

“We’ve had four seasons, three out of the four have had slow starts,” Reich said. “So, a little bit [of playing more during the preseason] is to address that.”

Last season, the Colts started 0-3. They own just a 5-9 record in September with Reich as head coach since 2018. Reich has gone 10-5 in October, though, including a 3-2 mark during 2021.

If Reich’s squad gets its “September blues” out of the way in August, then conceivable, the Colts can start playing like they normally do in October a month earlier.

But the downside to playing starters during the preseason, of course, is injuries. Although they weren’t to starters, two Colts players, cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and wide receiver Keke Coutee, suffered injuries versus the Bills on August 13.

Putting the starters through two “game-like” atmospheres in a single week could lead to injuries as well. With no need for that risk, Reich has already decided to play the starters in joint practices against the Lions rather than in the preseason match on August 20.

Taylor Sitting Out Preseason

The 23-year-old running back was the only exception to Reich’s desire to play the starters more snaps than normal in the team’s first preseason game. Then after the matchup, Reich revealed Taylor won’t be placed in game action until the regular season.

Such is life as the reigning NFL rushing leader. Taylor doesn’t need game repetitions like Matt Ryan and the passing game in order to be ready for the regular season. Any gains Taylor might make by preparing in a preseason game could easily be off set by an injury suffered during a meaningless contest.

Colts beat writer Nate Atkins of The Indianapolis Star reported the Colts will use the joint practices against the Lions to get Taylor ready.

Taylor led the NFL with 1,811 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. He also had a league-high 332 carries and has 640 touches in his first two NFL season. There’s no need to add to that during the preseason.

Protecting Taylor doesn’t come without its drawbacks, though. Without him available during the preseason, more responsibility falls on Nyheim Hines, who is expected to be a major part of the Colts offense. Hines will serve as Taylor’s backup but can also line up as a receiver.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Hines set a new career high with 150+ touches this season. He already had 10 touches against the Bills in Week 1 of the preseason.

Hines’ workload will probably remain high without Taylor until September, but it would be prudent for the Colts to find ways to work rest in for Hines as well.

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