Colts Head Coach Frank Reich – Media Availability – September 19, 2021



Opening Statement:

“Tough loss. Proud of the team and the way we fought back, we overcame some early mistakes and fought our way back into it. Proud of the way the guys played, really played hard and made some plays and just came up a little bit short. What we just talked about in there for a minute was, kind of on the mountain climbing theme is that the mountain is unforgiving. It’s unforgiving when you’re up there and you make a mistake or two and it’s going to cost you. We’ve got to collectively do better coaching, playing, every aspect of the game. We’ve got to be better against a good football team. I give the Rams credit. They’re a good football team, they’re well coached, Coach (Sean) McVay did a good job getting his guys ready, so I give them credit. As far as injuries, obviously, Carson (Wentz) had the ankle at the end, it’s too early to tell. We’ll evaluate it and let you know.”


How did the situation with Carson Wentz’s ankle play out?
“I was more dialed into the game, so I wasn’t listening to all the conversation going on over there. Just from experience, I think what happened was, he rolled it up pretty bad. I had a sense when he walked off the field because I saw it, it didn’t look good. Sometimes if you go back in right away while it’s still warm, you can maybe gut out a few more plays, but the longer we were off the field there it just stiffened up and he tried but there was no chance.”


How did you see the first offensive goal line series play out?
“Very disappointing. We didn’t do a good job on offense. I say offense collectively. We’ve got the ball on the one-yard line, and we didn’t gut it in. We called three runs and we don’t get any of the runs in and the last one is a roll-out pass. We had a little trickery in how we called it with the play before. They were ready for it, so it wasn’t coached well enough. We got to get it in from the one-yard line. That hurt us. I didn’t call the right play and we didn’t execute well enough, so that’s on all of us.”


On the first three downs of the first goal line stand, did you consider throwing on any of them?
“Yeah on fourth down. Get them on a surprise you know, like we went really fast like we were going to run it again and that was the ‘deception.’ It’s something that some teams do, we’ve done it before successfully. We have to trust in our offense and run the football. It felt like the way we moved down the field. I just look at this thing right here. We’re one-for-four in the red zone. That’s basically the story. Every other area was pretty equal. We’ve just got to play better in the red zone.”


On the shovel pass during the second goal line stand, I know Jack Doyle gets knocked down, but is that a normal read for a quarterback?
“Yeah, so what happened on the shovel pass was Aaron Donald made a great play. He gets penetration and Jack (Doyle) is supposed to come behind the line of scrimmage and be able to go past Aaron Donald and then be one-on-one, catch a little shovel pass and have the safety come down. It’s going to be a blow up at the end zone and we have a big tight end and he’s going to get in the end zone. Aaron Donald got penetration, knocked Jack off his path, right at the time Carson (Wentz) was letting it go. You’re reading the defensive end, it’s a shovel pass. It’s got a throw to the back in the flat available if the end comes down. You throw it to the back in the flat. If the end feathers it and plays it soft, you shovel it to Jack. It was coming up, I have to watch the film, but I think it was coming up just like it was supposed to come up. Except, Aaron Donald made a great play.”


How would you evaluate Carson Wentz seven and a half quarters in? He’s taken a lot of shots and has faced pressure.
“I think we all have to get better. I think Carson (Wentz) can get better and will get better. I think he’s done a lot of good things. Overall, I’m happy with how he’s playing, I’m happy with how he feels out there, I’m happy with how well he’s throwing the ball and seeing it. Today seemed like, mentally, he was just really sharp and in command. Some of the pressures are, again, as we said last week, there’s a lot of different factors. Some of them we need to protect better, some of them is we need help from the running backs or the tight ends or we need to get open or one or two of them are Carson is trying to extend a play and make a play. So, there’s always going to be a play or two, when you have the ability that Carson does to extend the play. He’s just naturally going to, if you get, however many times you get hit. A couple of those are going to be times where he tries to extend the play and he makes the plays doing that. Then every now and then you’re not going to. That’s just going to be some of the give and take that we have with him as our quarterback. I’ve seen this before with him. There’s a give and take. We’ve got to be smart, and he’s got to protect himself. I think he’s, generally speaking, doing a pretty good job of that. We have to keep him healthy, we’ve got to get the lead more, get the lead early in the game. I think that helps. It’s a variety of things, but I think we’re getting better.”


Can you address the range of emotions there with seeing Carson Wentz make big plays with his legs and then how today ended?
“When you have a running quarterback who gets hurt, then everybody says, ‘Well, there you go.’ That’s natural. Just look around the league. That’s just the way the league is. Half the guys, half the quarterbacks around the league play like Carson (Wentz) plays and are extending plays and trying to do something like that and have arms. We like the guy we got. I’m really happy about the way Carson’s playing and I think it’s just going to get better. I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged with how he’s playing and where we can go as an offense. I’m just really discouraged about our red zone play in the first two games. If we’re better in the red zone, in the first two games, it could be a different story.”


When Matthew Stafford has a clean pocket and has time to scan the field, how dangerous can he be, especially with Cooper Kupp?
“He made a couple of really great plays. There’s a couple of times when you see him, he throws side arm. He just steps around something and throws something sidearm. Wow, that’s impressive. I give Matt (Stafford) a lot of credit. He played well. Cooper Kupp is a special receiver. So, they obviously have developed a pretty good chemistry early on. I think Coach (Sean) McVay does a good job getting that connection wired up.”