The Denver Broncos are likely moving on from Nathaniel Hackett at season’s end at the latest. Could Frank Reich be the best option for the team in 2023? The next head coaching search is going to be hugely important. The team is tied to Russell Wilson for the next several years and needs to do everything in its power to maximize him.
Because of that, many have said that the next head coach should be a veteran mind, perhaps someone who has been a head coach before. The next coach being an offensive mind is also something that can’t be ignored.
We’ll eventually find out who the front office thinks is the best candidate to lead the Denver Broncos, and I think there are multiple options for that role, but Frank Reich sticks out to be perhaps a bit more than the other ones.
I recently wrote of the five best head coaches for the Denver Broncos in 2023, and Jim Harbaugh was at the top of my list. Right now, there is no indication that Harbaugh is wanting to make the jump to the NFL. There appeared to be some interest in his services last year, but nothing materialized.
Seeing as Frank Reich most recently coached in the NFL and seeing what his track record is, Reich might be the best head coach for the Broncos. Jim Harbaugh might be the best head coaching candidate overall, for any NFL team who has an opening.
Reich began his head coaching career with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. Andrew Luck had missed the entire 2017 season with an injury and was coming back after his rehab. The 2018 season also happened to be the most efficient of his career and was the first year of Reich as the HC.
Luck set a career-high in completion percentage at 67.3%. He also threw 39 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, earned a passer rating of 98.7, and won Comeback Player of the Year. Luck was quite the quarterback before Reich arrived, but it’s clear that he took his game to a new level in 2018. In 2018, the Colts had the 5th ranked scoring offense.
Luck retired before the 2019 season, so the Colts had to turn to Jacoby Brissett all of a sudden. Frank Reich was able to squeeze as much out of Brissett, a backup-caliber quarterback, as possible. Brissett threw 18 touchdowns to just six interceptions. His passer rating was 88.0 and the Colts still fielded the 16th-ranked scoring offense, scoring 22.6 points per game.
With a backup quarterback.
The Broncos would be in the driver’s seat in the AFC if they could score 22.6 points per game. In 2020, the Colts realized they needed to upgrade their quarterback situation, so they took a chance on Philip Rivers. Philip Rivers’ last season with the Chargers was not good.
Rivers threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his last season as a Charger. He was incredibly inefficient during his age-38 season. Many thought his future in the NFL was done at that point.
But not Frank Reich!
The Colts got their hands on Philip Rivers and were able to turn him back into a solidly efficient passer. In 2020, Rivers threw 24 touchdowns, just 11 interceptions, and earned a passer rating of 97.0, almost 10 points higher than his passer rating the year before.
The Colts went 11-5 and had the 9th-ranked scoring offense. After Rivers retired, the Colts again needed a new quarterback. They’ve had a similar quarterback carousel to the Broncos in all honesty.
Indy went and traded for Carson Wentz, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. The year before the Colts acquired Wentz, he endured his worst season as a pro. In 2020, Wentz was arguably the worst starting QB in the NFL.
He threw 16 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, completed just 57.4% of his passes, and earned a passer rating of 72.8. In his first and only year with Frank Reich and the Colts, Wentz threw for 27 touchdowns, just seven interceptions, and earned a passer rating of 94.6. Indianapolis again had the 9th-ranked scoring offense.
You see, the case for Frank Reich is clear. Reich has a track record of squeezing production out of veteran quarterbacks. He did it with Luck, Brissett, Wentz, and Rivers. Russell Wilson has been a better passer than each of those players and is easily more talented than Brissett, Wentz, and Rivers.
The Denver Broncos may not fire general manager George Paton, but evidence is piling up against him the more time goes along.
The fit between Reich and the Broncos makes too much sense.