MOBILE, Ala. — Colts.com is in Mobile, Ala., this week for the 2020 Senior Bowl. Head coach Frank Reich on Tuesday spoke with reporters from Ladd-Peebles Stadium, where he discussed his approach to scouting quarterbacks, the latest on left tackle Anthony Castonzo's status and much more.
Here are some top takeaways from that discussion:
» All Senior Bowl quarterbacks get a fair shake: Reich on Tuesday was roaming the sidelines at the first day of Senior Bowl practices for both the South and North squads, and perhaps not surprisingly he seemed locked in on the play of the three quarterbacks on each team. While Justin Herbert (South) and Jordan Love (North) both lived up to the hype with impressive Day 1 performances, Reich said he came to Mobile with an open mind about the various prospects he'd be seeing at that position. "There's been years where I've watched tape on guys before I come in, knowing we're looking at a certain position … and then there's been years where I don't," Reich said. "I kind of tend to favor, 'Let me come in not knowing a whole lot. I've got plenty of time to do a lot of digging.' I know Chris and his guys have been digging and digging and digging already; I kind of like to come in here with a clean slate. Don't anybody tell me anything about anybody, let me just see what I see, and then start working from (there). This is really, for me, the start date of now I'm gonna start digging down into these guys."
With Reich and the Colts interviewing quarterbacks this week, he said it's important to keep in context what these players have been exposed to in their college systems — which, in many cases, doesn't involve too much pro-style approaches.
"We look a lot at aptitude — you're just getting a sense for a guy's aptitude, and you factor in what he's been exposed to, and then you work up from there," Reich said. "I don't limit a guy just because he maybe hasn't been exposed to a complete pro-style offense, and now there's so much hybrid stuff anyway. It's just like, give everybody a shot. Just give everybody a fair shot — it's early in the process, we've got a long way to go. So we'll get a fair evaluation of the whole deal."
» An update on the status of left tackle Anthony Castonzo could come soon: Castonzo, who just wrapped up his ninth season in Indy in 2019, told the team on Dec. 30 he was mulling a couple possible scenarios heading into 2020: a free-agent-to-be, Castonzo could certainly sign a new deal to return to the Colts, but he also said he was considering the possibility of retirement. Reich on Tuesday didn't have any Castonzo updates, but believes a decision one way or another could be imminent. "I know he's working through that decision," Reich said "Hopefully there will be some news before too long. We'll see how that plays out."
» The Colts are continuing to interview candidates to be their new defensive line coach: With Mike Phair departing for the Carolina Panthers after two seasons in Indy, the Colts have been working hard behind the scenes to find his replacement. Reich on Tuesday didn't say which candidates have been brought in for interviews, but said he's been impressed with that crop to this point. "We've talked to some good guys," Reich said. "We've had a lot of conversations with some guys, and … we got things narrowed down. We're just going to take our time working it out." Reich said he's letting defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus take a big chunk of the lead in finding the team's next defensive line coach.
In terms of the rest of the coaching staff heading into 2020, not much will change, Reich said — which he considers a positive.
"It's rare," Reich said. "It's funny, Chris (Ballard) and I were sitting talking about that the other day. We were going through the staff position by position and just talking about how fortunate we feel. We got a really, really good staff. To build and to try to develop systems and develop players, every one of those spots is really important."
Reich also said that he has discussed with Ballard the possibility of adding a position to the coaching staff, but did not specify where.
Reich also took a few minutes to talk about the value that the Indianapolis Colts place on building relationships during the Senior Bowl.