Colts: Is Frank Reich approaching hot seat after 3-5 start?

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - OCTOBER 17: Head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - OCTOBER 17: Head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

We have to tread over this topic more carefully than any other. We don’t want to upset the apple cart. We just want to walk near the apple cart and blow on one of the apples, simply to ask questions (via breath) about the stability of the apples.

Based on … what we’ve seen … in 2021 … sloppy defense, confused offense, occasional lack of effort … capped off by a colossal bet on potentially the wrong quarterback … is there any chance the Indianapolis Colts will undergo a changing of the guard with Frank Reich this offseason?

After all, with a better-coached and mistake-free game on Sunday against the Titans on the team’s ledger, they’d be chasing down a Derrick Henry-less group needing to make up just a single game.

Instead, after the disaster we just witnessed, their AFC South hopes are still as good as dead, and their extension-filled future (Braden Smith?) is looking less secure than ever.

Is it … too much … to at least speak about Frank Reich (and Chris Ballard!!) approaching the hot seat?

And, if it’s not, when can the conversation be broached? What qualifies as total organizational failure? This team is a rain-soaked game away from 2-6.

What will it take for the Colts to fire Frank Reich?

In essence, outside of a complete cultural collapse, featuring myriad Colts calling out the franchise’s infrastructure in the public square, Reich will still be in charge of this team when 2022 dawns.

But, knowing that, is it fair to at least criticize his recent confusing spat of play-calling? We’d say it is. Jonathan Taylor’s usage has never made less sense, and several late-game chances for the top-five back to salt away significant yardage and clock were absolutely missed by Carson Wentz … after four quarters of the game plan deemphasizing is top option, of course.

To be perfectly honest, it’s not just the commenters and trolls of the world who’d like to take a serious look at Reich’s stewardship, especially after Sunday’s meltdown, where a 14-0 lead turned to momentum-swinging mush before the second quarter. Gregg Doyel of the Indy Star blamed Reich and Wentz for ending the team’s season on Sunday; that seems like a harsh enough indictment of a coach and player to merit a reevaluation of long-term plans.

From Wentz’s confounding screen pass in the end zone to the failure to lean on Taylor, there was more then enough to quibble with in this disaster, a game that felt a lot like a rock rolling down a hill, all grasp rescinding midway through the second quarter.

Reich, though, will likely retain his job and duties unless extremely unfavorable leaks start exiting that locker room — nothing short of a JT28 trade demand will end his tenure ahead of schedule, no matter how loud the trolls feel like screeching.

That doesn’t mean he’s approaching perfection, though. It just means Jim Irsay and Co. have put their trust in him to steady the ship, and won’t be cutting bait unless irreversible disaster strikes.