Colts head coach Frank Reich commented on whether Houston should rest quarterback Deshaun Watson this weekend.
Thanks to seemingly every team in the crammed AFC playoff picture refusing to budge, the Indianapolis Colts have had little margin for error over the last two months.
While it would be understandable if a team built around a young core of players succumbed to that pressure, they have impressively answered the call by winning four of their last five games, including victories over genuine championship contenders in Green Bay and Tennessee.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, they can’t take their foot of the gas pedal just yet, as they face a stiff test (albeit at home) against the Houston Texans, who — if not for a Deshaun Watson goal line fumble — could have easily pulled off an upset over them two weeks ago.
With the Texans’ season all but over, there’s been growing speculation about whether they should be proactive and bench Watson on Sunday in the name of keeping him healthy. Ironically enough, Colts head coach Frank Reich spoke on this subject and his answer was incredibly predictable — though it did shed a deeper light on how he coaches his guys.
"“I think that the Texans absolutely should do that, at least for this one game,” Reich told members of the Houston media. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.”"
To put it simply, the Texans benching Watson would almost guarantee Indianapolis a win this weekend, so even the normally-buttoned-up Reich couldn’t pass on the opportunity to provide his input. If the decision were genuinely up to him, however, the two-time Pro Bowler would be under center against the Colts on Sunday.
Later during virtual press conference, Reich touched on how he would never consider benching his starting quarterback, let alone one of superstar caliber, in a lost season.
"“I would not adhere to that philosophy, and I don’t think players do either” Reich noted. “I think players think they’re paid to play and that’s their job. Now, if a coach wants to make a decision and override that then the player has to respect that. There’s factors that go into that. So, I’m not going to say that that would never happen.”"
The rest vs rust debate isn’t even an argument in Reich’s eyes.
If we learned anything about his comments on Watson, it’s that his best players will see the field for heavy snap counts if the Colts’ playoff fate is determined with a week or two remaining in the regular season. That’s simply how it oughtta be.
And if the Texans wanted to put their best player on the bench Sunday, he’d be alright with that, too.