The Indianapolis Colts moving on from Frank Reich mid-season is more proof why teams should at least consider pulling the plug on a coaching regime gone wrong prematurely.
When was the last time coaching in the NFL has been this horrific this regularly?
Well, with 10 teams hiring new head coaches this past offseason, as well as the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts parting ways with theirs mid-season, the overall product on the field has suffered greatly from this. However, we should commend teams like the Panthers and Colts who ripped the band-aid off and admitted to their fanbases that this is not good enough.
Here is why the Colts and Panthers are proving firing head coaches in-season is not an awful idea.
Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers in-season firings are working out for them
At the start of the season, Matt Rhule and Frank Reich firmly entered the 2022 campaign on the hot seat. Carolina had a good defense, but rampant quarterback issues and an inability to score points were what caused Rhule to lose his job. As far as Indianapolis was concerned, the Colts needed to push the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South race, but Reich puttered around aimlessly.
These are not the first times we have seen interim head coaches like Steve Wilks and Jeff Saturday have varying levels of success on an extended runaway, and they surely will not be the last either. However, you have to give owners like David Tepper and Jim Irsay some credit for recognizing a lost cause at head coach and then charting a new course of action for the organization to navigate.
Although it is highly unlikely that Wilks or Saturday will get the gig full-time, they are taking full advantage of the opportunities they have to build their resume. Wilks was wrongly ousted after only one season leading the Arizona Cardinals. Nobody is winning with Josh Rosen at quarterback. While Saturday was coaching high school ball in Metro Atlanta, he is an improvement over Reich.
When owners like Irsay and Tepper decide to make a change at head coach this early into the campaign, it may initially come across as punting on the season. While some of their fans may be turned off by this, most tend to agree with the move, as they could not have stomached another Sunday watching their team get worked by another due to poor and consistently lousy coaching.
In the locker room, yes, it may be divisive, but it also may be invigorating. Players and coaches do not tank, organizations do. These men are playing and coaching for each other, as well as giving them the best chances at having success next year, possibly somewhere else. The overall ceiling may be lowered with an interim at the helm, but the floor does not feel like a bottomless abyss…
Not only does going with an interim prematurely give an organization ample time to conduct a thorough coaching search, but it affords opportunities to players and coaches to prove their worth. They can show how much heart and passion they have left in what otherwise looks to be a lost season. You can find silver linings in situations like these, as opposed to delaying the inevitable.
Even after the death of one regime, you can see life in the early healing processes with the interim.