Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich has been a hot topic of conversation with Colts fans and media alike this week.
After a 38-31 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, Reich’s play-calling was called into question after the Colts at one point had 26 straight pass attempts. This was surprising to some as superstar running back Jonathan Taylor was coming off a 185-yard, four-touchdown performance on the ground against the Buffalo Bills.
Reich explained this week that it was not his intention to go away from Taylor, but instead that the Bucs were playing to stop the run and quarterback Carson Wentz had the hot hand. He even admitted that there were multiple play calls to get Taylor involved, it just didn’t pan out as the Colts checked into a pass play.
It seemed the dust had settled on the topic until Wednesday night. On this week’s episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks In Season: The Indianapolis Colts, a clip was played of All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson coming up to Reich in the fourth quarter asking for a straight run call to Taylor.
This once again created a buzz amongst Colts fans. Many said that this was a sign the Colts players did not agree with what Reich was calling. Some even went as far as saying this showed the head coach was losing the locker room.
Neither could be farther from the truth.
“I think it’s cool about Hard Knocks. I want people to see that,” Reich said on Friday. “I want people to see our players and the fire and the passion and conviction. There’s a couple guys that I just have, it’s an understood – not even understood. It’s been vocalized. I’ve told Quenton (Nelson) – this has been four years of this. ‘Quenton, anytime you feel anything, you come up and talk to me.’ He doesn’t do it a ton but five or six times a year. I’ll tell you what, when I think back over the last four years, about every time he does it, he’s right. It backs up.”
Nelson isn’t the only one that has expressed their opinions to Reich about what plays are working and how to get the offense rolling.
Reich continued, “The other one you mentioned, T.Y. (Hilton), I remember – I think it was last year, I don’t think it was two years ago, I think it was last year we were struggling in a game. We were really struggling on offense, had about three or four series where we were just not doing anything. T.Y. comes up to me on the sideline and he is hot. Not at me but he is hot that we’re not – ‘Throw me the ball. I’ll get us going. Throw me the ball, let me give this offense a spark.’ I love that. I embrace that.”
Reich greatly respects the leaders on his football team. Whether it’s the quarterback, guys that have been on the team for years, or his best players, Reich is all ears when they feel passionate enough to offer input in what’s going on during the game. He’s glad fans are getting to see the trust he has in his players.
“Always have that relationship with the quarterback as well, certainly with Carson (Wentz),” Reich admitted. “So, that part of it is fun. I’m really glad Hard Knocks showed it. I knew there could be reading into it the wrong way, but I really wanted it out there just because of the kind of players we have and the belief that they have and the belief that I have in them. I’m not always going to do everything but at the right time, I think it’s appropriate.”
The Colts possess veto power in what is shown throughout Hard Knocks. It’s very telling how the Colts not only allowed this to be seen by the public but wanted it to be seen. They believe this shows the type of locker room they have and the type of leaders they have on this team. A team built on trust is never a bad thing.
So, for those thinking this was in any way a sign of turmoil between a coach in his players, think again. In reality, it’s a sign the relationship between Reich and the players is stronger than ever.
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