Frank Reich’s comments tell different story about Jonathan Taylor

Colts RB Jonthan Taylor (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Colts RB Jonthan Taylor (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Colts head coach Frank Reich’s comments about RB Jonathan Taylor following Sunday’s loss to Baltimore don’t add up.

The narrative surrounding Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has turned on its head since the start of the season as he’s gone from a potential candidate to win some rookie accolades to a player who’s seen his workload dwindle in dramatic fashion over the last four games.

Per GM Chris Ballard and the coaching staff, Taylor was drafted to split reps with starter Marlon Mack, but those plans changed before the Colts could even determine the committee’s potential when Mack suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the first game of the campaign.

We won’t go as far as to say that Taylor struggled after being thrust into the workhorse role because game script hasn’t worked to his benefit. However, he didn’t exactly put a stranglehold on the job either considering he’s failed to rush for more than 70 yards in all but one game since Mack went down. That came in Week 2 against the Jets.

Fast forward to the present and the 2020 second-round pick is fresh off committing a back-breaking fumble that was returned for a touchdown and tied up the game at the end of the first quarter against Baltimore on Sunday. Taylor received just one carry after that, and that makes head coach Frank Reich’s latest comments on the young back difficult to believe.

"“I can tell you this, there was never any discussion over the headset about, ‘Hey, let’s get the other guys in there,’” Reich told reporters on Monday. “That was not talked about. It was, ‘He has to get over it and get ready to go.’ We have confidence in him, all the confidence in the world.”"

If Reich hasn’t lost confidence in Taylor, then why did he receive just one carry over the final three quarters of play on Sunday? It’s not like Week 8 breakout star Jordan Wilkins was enjoying much success against the Ravens’ stingy defense, as he averaged just 3.5 yards per attempt.

Furthermore, if Taylor still has Reich’s complete trust, then why hasn’t he logged more than 12 carries in a game over the last month? We get the concept of trying to keep opposing defenses guessing by throwing them different looks, but we’re talking about a player who shattered all sorts of FBS records over three years at Wisconsin. Why isn’t he being unleashed?

Taylor isn’t a normal rookie and there are plenty of other first-year RBs — James Robinson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, D’Andre Swift and JK Dobbins, to name a few — who are still getting sizable workloads each week despite not playing mistake-free football.

We would honestly have zero problem if Reich came out and admitted that the former Badger is in the doghouse, but for him to assure the media and fans that he hasn’t lost confidence in him despite the fact that he’s totaled 17 carries over the last two games comes off as disingenuous, and that’s never a good look, no matter the circumstance.