I’ve been so curious about how a team actually has been functioning in the nearly two weeks since all NFL facilities have been shuttered—longer for some teams—and so I reached out to find a team willing to share how the job is getting done, virtually, these days. The Colts agreed to share a few employees with me, and it’s clear they have been affected by the outside world.
“There’s always the sobering reality of peoples’ lives that are affected and from a health standpoint, from an economic standpoint,” coach Frank Reich said. “My wife Linda and I, when we get together as the day is wrapping up, we pray for people . . . We pray for the health-care workers. We pray for the elderly.”
The jobs of some Indianapolis Colts, in these strange times:
Frank Reich, head coach
Working from his home office in Meridian Hills, Ind.
“Information is king. I watched a player’s own pro day-type video on YouTube last night.”
Reich loved that. He wouldn’t say which player’s video it was, but it was important because it was a player whose Pro Day got canceled, and that player was desperate to be seen. Reich texted the kid, telling him he was impressed that the player went to that length to be scouted.
There’s so much for Reich to do, and it’s so different. He’s got to be ready for the start of the offseason program (with new quarterback Philip Rivers) April 20, and he doesn’t know if the program will start that day, and how much he’ll be able to do with his players virtually because in-person meetings are impossible now. He might have to sign off on drafting a prospective quarterback without meeting him in person.
Reich always loved the occasional 10-minute session with a coach this time of year, the office pop-in to talk about a play for the offensive playbook or what he thinks of a particular draft prospect. “You miss a lot of the impromptu stuff,” he said. But he said he reminds his coaches that virtual coaching and scouting still means coaching and scouting. “I do remind them every so often, ‘Hey, just because we’re home, we’re not on vacation. We’re not working half days, we’re working full days. Structure your day. Plan your day.’ “Reich also tells them to lock in with their families during the day if they can—just be sure to have the work done by the end of the day.
Reich feels he’ll be sufficiently prepared for the draft. “I don’t want to say this is better,” he said of hunkering down at home and scouting players on tape, “but as a head coach in your office, you get interrupted 20 times a day. There are no interruptions now.”