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Bill Polian Gives Colts' Frank Reich Hiring His Thumbs Up

Former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian knows Frank Reich well, having been involved in drafting him as a quarterback with the Buffalo Bills and in giving him his first NFL coaching opportunity. Polian said today Reich is the right man for the Colts’ head coach opening.


INDIANAPOLIS —Bill Polian's belief in Frank Reich goes back more than three decades.

Then the Buffalo Bills' Pro Personnel Director, Polian had a hand in picking Reich to be the team's backup quarterback in the third round of the 1985 NFL Draft. About 20 years later, Reich came to Polian with an interest to get into coaching at the NFL level, and Polian, now the general manager of the Indianapolis Colts, was able to get him on head coach Tony Dungy's staff as an intern.

Now retired from the NFL, Polian remains a trusted confidant of Colts owner Jim Irsay. And when the team's head coach job opened back up last week after New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels accepted, and then backed out, of the position, Polian didn't hesitate when offering Irsay his advice.

Frank Reich, Polian told the Colts' brass, is the right man for the job.

On Sunday, Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard agreed, hiring Reich to be their new leader.

Polian today joined's Matt Taylor and discussed his views on Reich and the Colts:

On what he saw in Reich early in his coaching career that made him successful:

"Well, he had a great presence about him. He understood the game completely. He was very, very smart, great communicator, and he had a terrific football mind. So it was pretty apparent right from the beginning that he had the makings of what it took to be a good coach. And I'm thrilled that he's with the Colts and everything's headed in the right direction. It's going to be a bit of a haul — you know, the team didn't get in this state overnight, and Chris and Frank are not going to change it overnight, but they've got the right people in the right place and they'll get it done."On if going through the ranks as an intern, position coach and then offensive coordinator makes Reich appreciate this opportunity even more:

"Well, he's certainly paid his dues. There was no situation in the game that he's not encountered, and he will certainly bring that perspective to bear on the job. But as Marv Levy's fond of saying: he's all-football; he's (an) all-football coach, he's done everything you have to do to advance in the game, as he's succeeded at everything he's ever done in his life. So there's no reason to belief he won't succeed at this."

On what he thinks Reich will bring to the Colts' offense:

"It's going to be personnel-based. The best example of that is the fact that they altered the Philadelphia Eagles' offense to accommodate Nick Foles. Previously, the offense was designed to accommodate the gargantuan talent of Carson Wentz. But Frank and Doug Pederson — principally Frank in concept — adjusted it during the bye week, and you saw the results, all the way through the Super Bowl. So he'll be pragmatic in that regard. But there are certain things that he believes in, which Colts fans have seen before: up-tempo football, big-play football, those kinds of things. On the other hand, he takes a very balanced approach to the running game. So if you're thinking about when they finally get all their personnel pieces in place what the offense will look like, it's going to look a lot like it looked when Frank was here the last time."

On Reich's strengths when it comes to developing players, particularly those on offense:

"Well, he knows the game. And he understands what it takes to play the game — the technical side of it, both from an X's and O's standpoint; a technique side of it. And he's a great motivator and, you know, a very positive guy. He's a wonderful guy to play for, because he's motivated and he's positive and he keeps things on an even keel. So he's a tremendous coach at the NFL level in every respect."

On the fact that the Colts hired three new assistant coaches, including a defensive coordinator, prior to hiring their head coach:

"Well, it's not unique. Many, many times a new coach comes in and there are coaches who are retained from a previous staff, either because they have tremendous expertise or because the new head coach wants them or agrees with their philosophy. …Tom Moore and Howard Mudd, there's no question they were staying when Tony Dungy came in. So it's not unique with the Colts, nor is it unique with any other franchise. So that's that part of it. Philosophically, Frank is in complete agreement with what Matt is going to install on the defensive side of the ball; I think he knows the offensive line coach quite well, and he's on board with it. If he isn't on board with it, he would've told Chris that, and I think they would've made other arrangements. So I know he's fine with the defensive philosophy and approach, so it'll work out fine. And, again, it's not uncommon in the National Football League."

On how important this offseason is for the Colts now that they have hired a new head coach and are looking at the No. 3 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft:

"Well, every offseason is important. But decisions are decisions — it's what you do after you make the decision that's the most important thing. For example, the reason Frank Reich is the coach is because a decision that Chris Ballard and Jim Irsay had made, through no fault of their own, went south. So they did the immediately correct thing, regrouped, interviewed people and hired the right man. That's how you solve problems in the National Football League, and there are problems every single day that you have to solve, and you just have to keep working at it. So this offseason's going to be no more important than any other offseason; every offseason presents different problems, different challenges, and you have to solve them. So they've got the right people in place, and no question in my mind that in Chris Ballard and Frank Reich the right people are in place to lead this franchise back. It's not going to be an overnight fix — you can't do that in the NFL when you're in the type of personnel situation the Colts are in now — but they'll get at it every day and they'll solve the problems one at a time, and the end result, I think, Colts fans are going to be very happy with."

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