Four years ago, the unexpected decision of Josh McDaniels to jilt the Colts forced the franchise toward Frank Reich. What impact will Sunday’s expected loss to the previously 2-14 Jaguars have on the organization?
As potential surprises go, it would have been far less stunning for Colts owner Jim Irsay to fire Reich on Monday than it was for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to fire Brian Flores. The Colts had consecutive win-and-in opportunities, at home against the Raiders and then at Jacksonville. They blew both of them.
The low-water mark was Sunday’s loss, an uglier-than-the-score defeat that, coupled with the Steelers beating the Ravens, ended Indy’s quest for the postseason.
Irsay has very high expectations for his team. In October, Irsay promised two Super Bowl wins this decade. “As sure as the sun rises and the season’s change, it’s COMING,” he said. “Don’t you ever doubt that, EVER! YOU WILL SEE GREATNESS. BELIEVE AND YOU WILL SEE.”
On Sunday, Irsay saw the opposite of greatness. As one source with knowledge of the dynamics in Indianapolis told PFT, Irsay currently is “devastated.” He possibly had the “urge for a moment” to change coaches. However, G.M. Chris Ballard would likely be able to calm Irsay down and talk him out of it.
Reich, who has missed the playoffs in two of the last three years, is still trying to overcome the sudden and unexpected retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck. If, however, Reich served as the champion for the trade Carson Wentz (which ultimately cost Indy a third- and first-round pick), Irsay could have even greater concerns.
The Colts have talent. They led the league with seven Pro Bowlers. Ballard’s position should be more than secure.
As to Reich, who knows? Ballard may to spend some time talking Irsay out of making a change. Given Irsay’s sky-high expectations and Sunday’s bizarrely poor performance, it’s not unreasonable for Irsay to at least wonder whether a change should be made.