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Frank Reich On Decision Not To Utilize Fullback, Philip Rivers' Unique Throwing Motion

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich spoke to reporters today via video conference. He explains why the team ultimately decided to cut fullback Roosevelt Nix, his observations from years of watching Philip Rivers’ unique throwing motion and more.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich spoke to reporters today via video conference. He explains why the team ultimately decided to cut fullback Roosevelt Nix, his observations from years of watching Philip Rivers' unique throwing motion and more.

You can catch that entire session above, but here are some top takeaways:

» Rest days for Blackmon, Hilton: First off, Reich said safety Julian Blackmon and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will be given rest days and won't be practicing on Wednesday. Blackmon on Monday was removed from the Active/Non-Football Injury (NFI) list after working his way back from December knee surgery, and is being given a chance to rest after practicing two days in a row.

"Other than that we're in pretty good health and (are) looking forward to a good day of practice today," Reich said.

In other injury-related news, wide receiver Parris Campbell, who was involved in a minor car accident on Aug. 25 and was placed in the league's concussion protocol, made his return to practice on Tuesday; he was wearing a red no-contact jersey.

» Just not enough time to implement a fullback into the offense: The Colts hadn't used a full-time fullback in their offense since the 2013 season, so they raised some eyebrows earlier this season when they signed free agent fullback Roosevelt Nix, who was a Pro Bowler in his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers and also known as a solid special teams contributor.

Reich said today the initial hope was that the Colts could utilize a two-back set with Nix in at fullback for about 10 percent of the offensive plays each week once the regular season hit.

But ultimately, the lack of on-field offseason time created by the COVID-19 pandemic led Reich and his staff to the conclusion that they just wouldn't be able to get enough reps in to fully implement Nix into the plan this season. The Colts released Nix on Monday.

"Rosy's a really good football player — he's a winning football player. It wasn't his fault we had to let him go," Reich said today. "We just weren't at a point where we had the confidence that this was going to be 10 percent of our offense.

"In Rosy's defense, it was more about the lack of an offseason," Reich added. "We feel like we're such a good one-back offense team, we didn't have time to develop the two-back offense for the team that we wanted to."

» Why Reich compares Philip Rivers' arm motion to golfer Jim Furyk: Not many coaches across the league have spent more time analyzing Philip Rivers' throws than Reich, who was his quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers from 2013-15, and now finds himself reunited with the quarterback as the Colts' head coach and playcaller.

Anyone who has watched Rivers over the past 16 seasons knows he has one of the more unique throwing motions around. In fact, Rivers explained today that it was early in college that an NFL coach, Mike Holmgren, studied his quirky throwing motion and told his then-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Norm Chow, that as long as Rivers' throws aren't consistently knocked down at the line of scrimmage and he's accurate, that he should be left alone.

Rivers has gone on to become one of the greatest passers in NFL history.

Reich on Wednesday likened Rivers' throwing motion to golfer Jim Furyk's swing — it might not be pretty, but it gets the job done.

"When you see Furyk when he was in his heyday and you see him through impact and see how pure he is … the things that make for a good passer, you see that in Philip," Reich said. "Even though the delivery style is a little different, it's how he gets it there."

Reich said he wouldn't necessarily teach any quarterback to throw like Rivers, but added his motion is "unique, but is pure and it's beautiful."

"It's a beautiful thing," Reich said.

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