Three Replacements For Frank Reich as Colts Head Coach

Byron Leftwich
Byron Leftwich / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

This year has been absolutely awful for the Indianapolis Colts and Frank Reich paid for it with his job. Adam Schefter reported on Monday that the Colts had fired Reich, one day after his team went 0-14 on third down and lost 24-3 to the New England Patriots.

It is a bit of a surprise Reich got canned. He didn't exactly have the best tools to work with over the last few years and still managed to keep the team competitive. The fact that Indy is only 3-5-1 this year is an accomplishment given Matt Ryan's steep drop-off. But someone had to pay for the roster underperforming at large.

How attractive this job is will be entirely dependent on what the Colts do in the draft. If they get a high pick and land one of this year's elite QB prospects, Indianapolis could be set up to win immediately with the impact players it boasts on defense. If they fail to do that, it'll be a long-view rebuild because Jim Irsay is probably sick and tired of trading for quarterbacks at this point.

Who could end up replacing Reich in Indy? Here are a few options.

DeMeco Ryans

Ryans is the current defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers and a very popular pick to become a head coach in short order. He was in the running for both the Vikings and Raiders' jobs last offseason and will be a popular man this offseason, too. Ryans brings plenty of defensive experience to the table and would be an incredible mentor for Shaquille Leonard in the middle of the defense. Offense has been a bigger problem than defense but as far as a hard reset goes Ryans should be a top choice after helming an excellent Niners defense last year and continuing on the same path this year.

Eric Bieniemy

Maybe this time around will be it for Bieniemy. He's been an extremely popular interview candidate for several consecutive offseasons now and has yet to land the big job. It's pretty weird, honestly. Usually the offensive coordinator for extremely successful offenses get a shot by this point. The Colts will probably bring him in for an interview at the very least and he would make a lot of sense as far as the direction the league has been trending-- a good, young OC who can craft an offense that will produce regardless of who is under center.

Byron Leftwich

Perhaps nobody's stock has tanked harder in the first half of the 2022 season than Leftwich. He was a highly-sought head coach candidate last summer and the only reason he didn't leave is because Jacksonville wouldn't fire Trent Baalke. Then this year started and the Buccaneers have had a stunningly anemic offense that makes one wonder just how important Bruce Arians was to the whole operation.

But a strong second half would make everyone forget those concerns. Like Bieniemy, Leftwich fits the mold of the kind of head coach teams value these days. As a former QB he'd be a great mentor for whoever the Colts have under center next year, whether it's Sam Ehlinger or another young signal-caller. Right now Indy would probably avoid going after Leftwich but if Tampa Bay finishes the season well on offense Leftwich is absolutely a front-runner.