Why Frank Reich could win Coach of the Year

Can the Colts head coach win COTY?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

According to the Draft Kings Sports Book, head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts has odds of +2500 to win Coach of the Year in the 2021 NFL season. This really could be an excellent value choice, or a “sleeper” pick, considering his situation this year. The award is not strictly based on who coached the team with the most wins, but instead, it takes into serious consideration the relative success of the team compared to several other factors such as major organizational changes, overcoming adversity, and exceeding team expectations. Using this criterion, Reich has a real chance to win the Coach of the Year award this season.

The Carson Wentz Factor

Nothing qualifies more as a major change than making a blockbuster trade to acquire a quarterback in the “prime” of their career while also being in the middle of a huge contract. That is exactly what the Colts did this offseason when they made a move for Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for two draft picks. The move wasn’t so much about how much the Colts gave up to get Wentz, but more about taking on the money that he is still owed despite coming off of an extremely disappointing season in 2020. He is signed through the 2024 season and the Colts owe him nearly 100 million dollars over that span.

This could be a very solid deal for the Colts if they are getting the MVP caliber version of Wentz but that may not be the case. Back in the 2018 season, Wentz was having the best season of his career before suffering an unfortunate season ending injury. Through 11 games that year, he completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 3074 yards with 21 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. His 2020 season, comparatively, was an absolute disaster. In 12 games, before being benched for rookie Jalen Hurts, he completed just 57.4 percent of his passes for 2620 yards with 16 touchdowns and an alarming 15 interceptions. This is clearly a major drop off and what really makes this trade a huge risk for the Colts.

One of the main reasons why the Colts acquired Wentz is because of Frank Reich. When Wentz was having his success in Philadelphia, Reich was actually their offensive coordinator. The belief is that by reuniting the pair in Indianapolis, it will help Wentz get back to the version of himself that was one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. This is the type of move that really could be make or break for the head coaching job of Reich. If it works out the way they hope it does, the Colts are a sleeper to be contenders for the Super Bowl, and will greatly improve the chances of Reich winning Coach of the Year. If it doesn’t, then the contract will set the franchise back several years by wasting a team roster that is built to win now, and could even cost Reich his job.

Team Expectations

Last season, with Philip River as their quarterback, the Colts finished with an 11-5 record and made an appearance in the NFL playoffs. They believe that Wentz is a significant upgrade at quarterback, despite the fact that Rivers had a much better season than Wentz last year. In 16 games, Rivers completed 68 percent of his passes for 4169 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Regardless, if the Colts are right that they improved at this position, while keeping the large majority of the rest of the roster together, then it’s fair to expect an even more successful campaign in the 2021 NFL season. If this is true, that means that the Colts will not only make the playoffs this season, but advance further than their first round exit last season. All things considered, if the Colts are able to accomplish their goals this season, then Reich will be right in the mix to win the Coach of the Year award.

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