An underrated NFL head coach among hot seat candidates in 2022

NFL Rumors: Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich walks the field as the team warms up to face the Texans on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at NRG Stadium in Houston.Indianapolis Colts Versus Houston Texans On Sunday Dec 5 2021 At Nrg Stadium In Houston Texas
NFL Rumors: Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich walks the field as the team warms up to face the Texans on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at NRG Stadium in Houston.Indianapolis Colts Versus Houston Texans On Sunday Dec 5 2021 At Nrg Stadium In Houston Texas /

While there are obvious head coaches on the hot seat for 2022, this coach in the AFC South could sneakily be on the fiery chair.

There are a few obvious candidates among NFL head coaches who are on the hot seat heading into the 2022 season.  However, I think there is a very overlooked candidate for this unfortunate title of being on said hot seat.

He resides in the AFC South and has won 57% of his regular season games.

His name is Frank Reich and is someone who should be considered to be on the hot seat for 2022.

Some may violently disagree with this, but I think there are more reasons to fire him than not.

In today’s NFL, I think it would be absolutely absurd to fire someone who has had the success that Reich has had, but I do believe there is an argument to be made.

Frank Reich became the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.

In 2018, the Colts went 10-6 and earned a playoff spot, winning a playoff game.

In 2019, the season after Andrew Luck retired, the Colts went 7-9 finishing third in the AFC South, and played a majority of their games with Jacoby Brissett under center.  They obviously did not qualify for the playoffs.

In 2020, they went 11-5 and finished second in the AFC South with Philip Rivers under center.  They lost their lone playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.

And in 2021, they went 9-8 with Carson Wentz under center, failing to make the playoffs.

In three of Reich’s four years, they’ve had a top 10 scoring offense, and have also had a top 10 scoring defense in three of his four years.

He’s also won 37 games in his four years, an average of 9.25 games per year.

So, how could it be that Reich should be on the hot seat?

Well, what exactly have the Colts done with him in charge?  Sure, the statistics I just mentioned are nice, and his regular season record looks very clean, but what else is there to hang on to?

The Colts have done virtually nothing in the playoffs in his four years, a far cry from their previous years in the Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning eras.

His 1-2 playoff record in four seasons isn’t something to be excited about.

Another massive issue is the quarterback position.

Sure, the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck was unfortunate, but the Colts are now approaching their fourth season removed from his NFL exit, and have cycled through too many quarterbacks to count.

You would think, with how highly GM Chris Ballard is thought of around the league, and seemingly how respected Frank Reich probably is in league circles, the Colts would have been able to field a long-term solution at the most important position in sports.

Their roster, outside of a few very good players, isn’t special, either.

They don’t necessarily have a game-breaker on the team outside of Jonathan Taylor, who is a running back, a lower-valued position, and Darius Leonard, an All-Pro inside linebacker.

But, as we know, the inside linebacker position isn’t a position that is seen as very valuable anymore.

The Colts don’t have franchise players at the most important positions like quarterback, cornerback, left tackle, and edge rusher.

Sure, Matt Ryan still might be OK, but he’s far from his prime years and shouldn’t scare anyone.  Plus, he surely only has a few years left.

Being that the Indianapolis Colts haven’t been overly successful in his tenure, and being that the team has cycled through too many quarterbacks to count, I don’t think we should rule out Frank Reich being on the hot seat.

Let’s say the Colts go 9-8 again in 2022 and miss the playoffs.

That would give Reich a 46-36 regular season record, and just two playoff appearances in his five years.

But, let’s think positively for a second.

Let’s say the Colts do make the playoffs.  Are they a team that could be relied on to win a playoff game, especially in the loaded AFC?

Overall, I don’t really see the Colts being that great of a team this year.

I don’t think they have enough firepower on their roster, and Frank Reich hasn’t had a ton of success.

I think the Colts are in a place where both Frank Reich and Chris Ballard could each keep their jobs as long as they keep churning out winning records, perhaps regardless of playoff appearances or wins.

They strike me as a team that can just barely be relevant enough, but not an elite team by any means.

Let’s just think, for a second, of the teams who are simply better than the Colts in the AFC.

Browns (pending Deshaun Watson), Bengals, Ravens, Bills, Dolphins, Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Chiefs, and Titans, depending on who you ask.

I count up to 10 teams that could easily finish above the Colts in the AFC standings.

I think Reich ends up continuing as the Colts’ head coach for the foreseeable future, but I also think he should be on the hot seat.