INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich recently sat down with Colts.com's Matt Taylor to give his final thoughts on Sunday's 2020 Week 4 matchup against the Chicago Bears. What did Reich have to say about the Bears' two dramatic come-from-behind wins so far, his past with Nick Foles and what he does well, improving on third down and more?
Here is that entire conversation, which you can also listen to above:
What's most impressed you about your team the last two weeks with big wins over the Vikings and Jets?
Reich: "You know, just keeping distractions out and focusing one play at a time — not getting too caught up in the results of one single play or one single game. Just fighting to get better. We're looking to win games, but not just win games, we're looking to play better football each week; given no offseason, no preseason games, I feel like these games are really important not only to win, but to figure out how to get better. So I think our team's doing a good job with that."
Up next are the Bears, and they're an interesting team — they're 3-0 and have not folded in the face of adversity, winning two games already in which they've been down by 16 or more points heading into the fourth quarter. What strikes you about their resiliency as a team?
Reich: "You talk about teams doing that, you're talking about a team that's well-coached, you're talking about a team that has high-character players, and then has some playmakers to be able to put them in position. So it'll be a good challenge for us."
Rarely does a 3-0 team make a switch at quarterback, but the Bears last week replaced starter Mitchell Trubisky mid-game with Nick Foles, who is now their starter moving forward. What do you make of that switch, and how challenging is that from a preparation standpoint?
Reich: "Yeah, I mean, it is a unique situation where a team switches quarterbacks when they're 3-0, but obviously for a good reason here; Foles is a proven great player. I'm sure Coach Nagy is making a move that he thinks is best for his ballclub; I'm sure he feels like he's got good quarterbacks that they can win with, and that this just puts them in the best position. You know, I have a lot of respect for Nick with my past history with him, so I'm just looking forward to the challenge of our defense going up against Nick and this Bears offense. They do a good job, but I think we'll be ready and we'll have to play our best game of the year."
You talked about your familiarity with Foles going back to your days together with the Philadelphia Eagles. What does he do particularly well at quarterback that you have to be prepared for?
Reich: "He throws the deep ball very well, he does all the RPO stuff very well. Nick, he's an excellent passer — he's strong in the pocket. I mean, he's just an excellent quarterback, so a good opportunity, really, for him to come and take over that team."
On defense the Bears are very good in terms of getting pressure on quarterbacks, leading to the lowest opponent completion percentage in the league so far. What is the balance of gameplanning for the scheme but also planning for their game wreckers like Khalil Mack that can really get after you?
Reich: "Yeah, it's a combination. You've got to know where he is, you've got to account for him, you've got to plan for him, but you can't (stop him) on every play. I mean sometimes we're gonna have to win our one-on-one matchups and get the ball out on time and in rhythm, we'll have to win outside — win our matchups outside — so the quarterback can stay and throw in rhythm, and you've got to do it for 60 minutes. And they might get to us once or twice — that's not the end of the world; that happens when you play a good team. We've got to be able to overcome adversity when it hits us if we have a bad play. When you play a good team, that's bound to happen, but good teams find a way to overcome those mistakes."
I know you want to see that third down percentage improve, but the Bears come into Sunday's game with the second-best third-down defense in the league through three games. What do they do well on the money down that's going to be a challenge?
Reich: "They get pressure on the quarterback, they play tight coverage, and then they also do a good job of mixing up their coverages, as far as disguising; so when they play their zone they do a good job of disguising. A good defense, for sure — really good on third down."
The Bears have a guy who controls field position in returner Cordarrelle Patterson. You've had terrific play out of your kickoff coverage unit to this point of the season, but Patterson is one of the best at breaking big returns in NFL history. What makes him such a weapon?
Reich: "Speed, vision, fearlessness, and then just his run strength; he doesn't go down easy, he's got great balance. He is definitely a unique returner."
What are your keys to the game heading into this one against the Bears to give them their first loss of the season?
Reich: "Offensively, we're going to have to run the ball some. If you get in a pass-only mode, their guys are so good at rushing the passer, it could be a long day. We want to be able to mix the run and the pass on offense, and as you said earlier, we want to be better on third down (and) continue, the last game, we were better in the red zone, and we need to score touchdowns when we get down in there. And then on defense, same thing: we want to stop the run. We want to stop the run and we want to put pressure on Nick Foles in a variety of ways by the way we rush the passer, the way we disguise coverages — make it as hard on him as we can. And then special teams, like you said, we have a unique challenge here with our kickoff coverage team — a really big challenge for them this week. We've been doing a great job, but this will be the toughest test of the year."