INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich on Thursday night joined the NFL Network's "Schedule Release '20" show to talk about his initial reaction to the 2020 schedule, as well as what he believes new quarterback Philip Rivers is bringing to the table.
You can listen to Reich's conversation with Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner above, as well as check it out in its entirety here:
You've been through this whole schedule release thing as a player and now as a coach. I know as a player the first thing I looked at was were we gonna play any cold-weather games? I'm just curious: what's you're mindset as a coach when you open up and see your schedule for the first time?
Reich: "Yeah, I mean, the first think you look at is, you wanna see your home opener. Every team, I think, wants to get off to a good start, and when you're playing at home, you want to see, 'Who's that home opener against?' Are you on the road to start? Are you at home? So, for us this year, we're on the road to start, so now you've got the uniqueness of, 'OK, who's that opener? And then the next week we've got our home opener.' And then, as the former quarterback, I do exactly what you do Kurt — then I'm looking in December, and I'm saying, 'Hey, what weeks are we in a dome, and where are we playing outside?'"
You talked about a fast start — you actually have six of your first seven games against non-playoff teams from a year ago, and then you have a stretch of five games against playoff teams. So when you looked at that the first time, after you got past your home opener and stuff, what jumped out at you the most, either from a positive or maybe a, 'Hey, this is gonna be a struggle for us during this stretch of the season,' mindset?
Reich: "Well first of all I don't fall into the trap of, 'Hey, these are non-playoff teams/playoff teams.' Every year is a new year; we see how things turn around in this league. I know we're starting on the road against Jacksonville, a division opponent — we haven't done real well down in Jacksonville, so we've gotta get that thing going. And then, in that first stretch of six games against those 'non-playoff' teams, we've got the Bears, who are a good football team — I know they're gonna be ready to roll — Cleveland is a very talented team. Then we've got our bye, and now we've got a big stretch against those playoff teams — you know, the Baltimore, the Titans twice, Green Bay, Houston — that'll be a really good stretch. It gives us a chance to really establish who we are as a team and be ready to go."
We know the fortunes of most teams in the NFL, it comes down to that quarterback play. Obviously you went out in the offseason and invested in a Hall of Fame-type quarterback in Philip Rivers. What made you guys think he was the right guy for this time at this time?
Reich: "Well, first of all, we had the pre-existing relationship, with Nick Sirianni, our offensive coordinator, and myself and Philip. Philip knows our system. He is, we believe, a future Hall of Fame quarterback; I believe what he does here the next couple years will contribute greatly to that. … He's got the right leadership, he knows our offense, especially given this virtual offseason where it's more important, right, that he knows everything. This guy is still elite physically — we watched all the tape; I feel like he hasn't lost anything physically. He's got great leadership."
See the Indianapolis Colts full 2020 regular season in photos.