Frank Reich arrived as head coach of the Colts shortly after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels took the identical job, assembled a workers and risked nuking his skilled profession by backing out at the final minute.
Reich stood behind a podium and watched proprietor Jim Irsay and common supervisor Chris Ballard speak about the surprising retirement of Andrew Luck simply earlier than the begin of the 2018 season, a 12 months after Reich left a Tremendous Bowl championship staff that trusted the heroics of a backup quarterback whom Reich had to put together after the staff’s MVP candidate went down with a torn ACL.
He oversaw devastating accidents, coached the staff via middling quarterback play and has confirmed, typically, to be the type of individual you’d need using shotgun when the automobile begins sliding off an icy street into midnight blackness.
His catastrophe preparedness credentials acknowledged, it’s honest to marvel how he will work his manner out of the state of affairs he finds himself in now. We’re not saying Reich needs to be eliminated from his submit on Sunday night time, after his staff misplaced its second straight recreation to an interim coach to value itself what felt like a near-concrete playoff spot. Far from it, actually. If the Colts irresponsibly opted for a reactionary head teaching change, they’d launch a candidate onto the market who would instantly be the No. 1 alternative for nearly any staff with a gap.
However what lies forward of him now—recovering from arguably the worst common season loss in franchise historical past—could also be the best problem he’s ever confronted in a teaching profession already improbably loaded with outsized mountains to climb. In the matter of a few months, he’ll be tasked with mending a prickly Carson Wentz state of affairs. Wentz’s middling efficiency on Sunday towards the Jaguars, even when paired with MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor, wasn’t sufficient to beat the worst staff in soccer. He’s going to have to assist justify the use of a first-round choose to get Wentz in the first place. He’s going to have to clarify why we might solely see the former No. 2 choose’s greatest moments in microscopic glimpses this 12 months.
Reich goes to have to recruit free brokers realizing that the Titans are solely getting more healthy, the Jaguars are solely getting higher and the Texans are, in some unspecified time in the future, going to emerge from this tender tanking try with some critical draft fairness. Somebody goes to have to sternly reply for the indisputable fact that the Colts, regardless of being one among the most forward-thinking organizations in the NFL, a staff that appears to make one painfully smart choice after the subsequent, can in some way have completed Reich’s fourth 12 months with just one playoff win underneath its belt.
That is the hassle with being a good coach: Dropping a recreation like this feels so international and sudden. The Jaguars entered the week as the worst offense in the league and, arguably, the worst protection in the league. Rookie Trevor Lawrence entered the recreation with out a single recreation with a quarterback ranking over 100, and his solely multi-touchdown recreation coming towards the Texans.
And but, from the first drive, Lawrence and an offense with scattered skill-position expertise walked down the discipline as in the event that they’d lastly managed to burn each City Meyer web page from their playbook. Permitting the Jaguars to whoop their clown costume–laden fan base into a frenzy felt like a loss of life sentence for a staff with no margin for error.
These are the sorts of losses franchises don’t recover from instantly. Exterior of blowing a 28–3 lead in the Tremendous Bowl, dropping to one among the worst groups of the final decade a week after dropping to a second staff working with out its head coach to knock your self out of the playoffs is as emotionally devastating as one run can get. What do you say as the gamers filter out their lockers? How do you fumigate the collective psyche of a staff that was unprepared to deal with a tap-in? The 26–11 loss to the Jaguars wasn’t even notably shut. It was flat. Heartless.
Reich has trudged via some swamp land earlier than. He didn’t sound like a individual attempting to make excuses or give up on Sunday after the recreation. Possibly teaching Darwinism has led him to a level of steadiness. However one has to marvel if he is aware of how badly this will sting or for a way lengthy. One has to marvel if Reich has extra magic left in him.
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