Frank Reich: Having familiarity with a player accelerates progress

Frank Reich and the Colts have a new quarterback — one Reich has worked with before.

It’s a situation fairly similar to last year, when Indianapolis signed Philip Rivers. Reich had worked with Rivers for three years in San Diego, first as the quarterbacks coach and then as offensive coordinator.

Reich, of course, was Carson Wentz‘s offensive coordinator for the first two years of the QB’s career from 2016-2017.

Reich can’t publicly talk about Wentz until the trade sending him to Indianapolis becomes official at the start of the new league year. But during his press conference on Thursday, Reich talked about how having a previously established relationship with a quarterback affects the acclimation process.

He discussed it in the context of Rivers and 2020, but the implications for Wentz are clear.

“It really accelerated [progress], especially in the unique circumstances that we’re in with COVID and the limited offseason that we had,” Reich said, via Stephen Holder of “It just helped accelerate the learning process of the offense. The relationship that has to be built, there’s a personal aspect to the coaching of players. This isn’t just in a vacuum. There’s a personal element to it. So, anytime there’s a personal connection with a player and a familiarity with the offense and the terminology, and what you’re trying to accomplish and the vision for what you’re trying to do, it can help accelerate. I think Philip showed that very clearly. For him to be able to come in and play the way he did and to lead the offense and the team the way he did, I think it helped a ton.”

The relationship between Reich and Wentz should help the quarterback get off to a fast start with his new team, especially because the structure of the offseason program remains a mystery at this point. But Wentz will still have a lot of work to do to improve after a poor 2020.