April 11, 2021

GridIron365

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Colts head coach Frank Reich on finding the right…

6 min read
Colts head coach Frank Reich on finding the right...



» Reich has talked to Peyton Manning and others about what he should be looking for in a quarterback: While there are few folks in the NFL more qualified than Reich to talk about quarterback play — just look back at his long professional playing career matched with years of coaching experience — that doesn’t mean he’s going to ignore input from others who also know what they’re talking about at that position.

So when Rivers made his decision to retire in January, that gave Reich an opportunity to reach out to some key folks in his rolodex to get their opinion on which way the team should head at quarterback moving forward.

Should the team make a trade? Should it pursue a free agent? What about the upcoming NFL Draft? Reich has his own feelings on those options and has a vision of what his next starting quarterback will look like, but part of that “puzzle,” he says, is getting input from a number of sources.

“It’s a puzzle you put together and there are multiple pieces, so when you’re doing an evaluation you obviously have a lot of confidence in my own evaluation and I’m going to work really hard at it. I’m putting all those pieces together, but I also like talking to other people and from talking to other – you guys know, I talk to Peyton Manning, I talk to other ex-quarterbacks,” Reich said. “Chris (Ballard) and I had a zillion conversations about it. I’ll talk to our offense staff and through all those other conversations, you synthesize all that other information to maybe put in two or three last pieces to that puzzle. I think it would be foolish as an evaluator to think you have all the answers and to not want to hear any other perspective. I think it takes confidence and maturity to want to listen to other people, to learn from other people even in the evaluation process. I have enjoyed doing that over the years, talking to other people about every position, especially the quarterback position as well.”

» Reich is excited about his coaching staff — with some key returners, but also some newcomers — heading into 2021: The Colts under Reich have enjoyed a great deal of continuity on their coaching staff from year to year, but eventually, if you’re successful and have good people around you, other teams are going to come calling for those folks.

As such, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni this offseason was hired as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and he took a few Colts assistants with him, such as cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon, tight ends coach Jason Michael and pass game specialist Kevin Patullo. Other Colts coaching staff moves included the retirement of running backs coach Tom Rathman.

All those departures lead to exciting new opportunities for the Colts and their staff, however. Quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady was elevated to offensive coordinator, and then, on Feb. 9, the team announced the following moves: Joe Hastings as assistant special teams coach, Kevin Mawae as assistant offensive line coach, Scott Milanovich as quarterbacks coach, Scottie Montgomery as running backs coach, James Rowe as cornerbacks coach and Press Taylor as senior offensive assistant. Additionally, Klayton Adams was named tight ends coach, Parks Frazier is now assistant quarterbacks coach, Doug McKenney is applied sports science/conditioning and David Overstreet II is now assistant defensive backs coach.

Add those moves/changes/promotions on top of the returns of defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone, and Reich is extremely excited to really dig in with his new staff.

“We had a unique scenario where we had to hire six new coaches. I’m really excited about that opportunity – to hire new coaches. We think that we really got six quality men, six really good football coaches who fit who we are, have a vision for what we want to do, have a vision of how to get players better, have an expertise and the experience to get done what we want to get done as a coaching staff. So, very excited about that,” Reich said. “In particular, I would note I’m really excited for Marcus Brady to be our new offensive coordinator. Marcus is more than ready for the job. I have the utmost confidence in him. I knew the day we got Marcus in the building he was ready and I figured it would come to this. I knew Nick would eventually get a head job pretty quickly because of the kind of the coach he is and there was never a doubt in my mind that Marcus would be that next man up and that he would be ready for the job. So I am excited for him and excited to work closely with him in that capacity as our coordinator.”

» Other Reich key quotes:

— On where things stand with free-agent-to-be T.Y. Hilton: “It will play itself out, but I’m not going to lie, the discussions we’ve had – I would just echo what Mr. (Jim) Irsay said and what Chris (Ballard) said in an interview or two. I think we’re all hoping and optimistic that there is a way that T.Y. (Hilton) can end his career as a Colt. He’s a special player, he means a lot to us as an organization, but we all understand that there is a business side to it that has to be right. It has to be right for T.Y., it has to be right for the Colts. I’m just hopeful that that can play out. T.Y. has been a great player here, he’s a leader on this team and I hope the business side of that can get worked out to where he can end his career as a Colt.”

— On how important it was to retain Matt Eberflus as defensive coordinator after he got some opportunities to interview for some head coach openings: “Yeah, very important to get Matt (Eberflus) back. Obviously, he was a great candidate to be a head coach. I think the world of Matt as a coach, as a person, as a defensive coordinator – that we can just keep building and have the continuity as you said and just keep building, growing and adapting the system to our players. I’ve just seen Flus continue to grow and develop in that role as well, really connecting with players, making a conscious effort every week to put our players in the best position possible. I think he is extremely intelligent, very focused in and on a vision for how he sees the defense executing and where we want to be as a defense. I’ve learned a lot from Flus over these three years as I’ve sit in there with him, we talk things through and I ask questions. I give two cents here and there, but Flus – I’m really happy to have him back.”

— On how much the possibility of playing Quenton Nelson at left tackle in a permanent role has come up in discussions with general manager Chris Ballard: “There has been lots of discussion between Chris (Ballard) and I. I think the discussion with Quenton (Nelson) is – and you guys would expect this – Quenton wants to do whatever is best of the team. He’s willing to do whatever is best for the team. What I appreciate about Quenton is that he trusts that Chris and I along with the coaching staff will make what we believe is the best decision. We want to get the best five guys on the field at the best positions for them, and they can grow into those positions. So we are still keeping all options open at this point. We obviously have the draft and free agency coming up. We know we have multiple options, multiple good options but each one of those ends up with the vision of us having a top-five offensive line. We are going to find the best five players to put out there and we’re confident. We know those guys have already expressed to us, ‘Hey, just put us wherever you want us. We’re going to make it work.”

https://www.colts.com/news/frank-reich-quarterback-free-agency-trade-nfl-draft-quenton-nelson-ty-hilton

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