13 takeaways from Frank Reich’s offseason press conference

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Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich met with the media for the first time Wednesday since the team returned to their facility at West 56th Street for offseason workouts.

With Phase 1 of the offseason workout program beginning this week, the Colts will have positional meetings while laying the groundwork for Matt Ryan’s introduction to the offense.

As Gus Bradley takes over the defensive side of the ball, that entire unit will be undergoing some noticeable changes when it comes to the scheme implemented at all three levels.

Here are 13 takeaways from Reich’s press conference on Wednesday:

Excited for the fresh start

“After the last couple years of not having an offseason program or different kinds of ones, so excited to get back to work. A fresh start, really phase one as you guys know is all about working out, getting the bodies right, the physical training, getting a chance for meetings. That’s good, right? A new quarterback so an opportunity to kind of dive into the offense with Matt (Ryan) and the rest of the guys because as you guys know, there will be a 10 or 20 percent difference in how we approach things with him. Then obviously defensively with a new staff, excited to have Gus (Bradley) here and his staff, get these guys in and learning a new defensive system.”

How much will the defense change?

“I think that – obviously still a four-down scheme, primarily three deep. That’s Gus’ (Bradley) tradition. I’d say if I had to put a number on it, I’d say 30 percent. A lot of it is still going to be the same, but the way that Gus plays his three-deep zone coverages is going to be a different nuance than what Flus (Matt Eberflus) did.”

Getting right down to business

“So we didn’t have a team meeting [Tuesday] so the plan was we wanted to use this first week – because with the new defensive staff, just to do one-on-one meetings. Kind of get right into it to get to know each other a little bit. We’ll start our team meetings on Monday (April 25) and then we’ll have a team meeting at the beginning of every week. So just to address that there, it will be the normal thing right? It’s phase one so there are no rah-rah speeches. There was a little bit of a transition thing but really it becomes okay, this is a fresh start. What are our objectives? So that’s how we’ll approach it.”

Keeping the Jacksonville loss fresh in mind

“No, I think it’s a both/and. I think that’s the same for 31 teams, right? I mean certainly ours is a unique – we have a unique amends that we have to, but there are 31 teams that need to make amends because none of us reached the ultimate goal except for one team. So, the rest of us are trying to get there and ours was unique the way it ended so are we trying to right the ship there? Of course we are. As we said last year, that scar will be there and I’m reminded of it every day. You look and you say, ‘I remember when I got that cut.’ I’ve thought about that analogy that we talked about then and the more I thought about it, it was a good analogy. It still applies. You look at a scar and you say, ‘That didn’t feel good when I got that. I prefer not to feel that again. So let’s try to avoid that the next time.’”

Giddy about Matt Ryan

“I’m excited about obviously Matt Ryan. Really, just getting a couple days to meet with him in his transition and signing him. Wow, I mean he’s an impressive guy. And really diving into his film from Atlanta, seeing all the things that he has done great over his career. The more I look at his career over 14 years, the more I realize wow – I knew this guy was a great player, but I think he’s had a special career in many regards.”

Confident in the WR room

“We’ll see how things play out with T.Y. (Hilton) and all those questions. Chris (Ballard) will handle that as he always does, on how some of that stuff plays out. When I look down at the depth chart right now and I see those young receivers – I understand what the outside perception is. You’ve got a bunch of guys, and how many catches do they have? I see the side of a lot of upside with those players and looking forward to seeing those guys continue to develop.”

Big roles coming for Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson?

” I’m really excited to get Mo (Alie-Cox). With Jack (Doyle) being retired, and hats off to Jack right? One of the all-time true greats. But this is going to be an opportunity for Mo to step up, Kylen Granson to step up from the tight end position. Then we’ll see who we add.”

A rough outline of OTAs

“Last year was a real scaled back OTAs. It was only a couple of weeks. This year, we’ll have a full nine-week program. However, the last week is going to be kind of a developmental week for the young guys. Really, what the message to the guys is, to the vets, we kind of have an eight-week program that starts this week and goes to like June 9. Then that next weekend in June will be for the young guys, will be more of a developmental week. We’re allowed nine weeks. We’re going to talk all nine weeks again, with the caveat that that last week is kind of a developmental week. I think we all know. When you end the season the way we did, new defensive system, new quarterback – we got a lot of work to do.”

Catering to another QB

“No doubt. I think it helps out guys and I think it keeps us sharp mentally as a coaching staff to know that we always have to be on the cutting edge. We’re not sitting here saying, we know we’re going to run these plays, no. We get to study a quarterback who’s had an incredibly accomplished year and look at what he’s done. What has he done and been very successful with that fits into our offense? What are we going to emphasize that’s different? I can already tell you, in three days, in three meetings, including today, we’ve already changed – I’m just half joking, but we’ve already changed 10 percent.”

Getting off to a fast start

“I’m like you. You look for reasons. I just think we have to find a way to get a faster start. That at some level would seem logical but on the other hand, it’s like this healthy tension. I get that argument, it makes sense to me, but come on. We’re smart guys, these are smart players. We know what we’re doing. Other teams face this, not every team starts slow. So, we’ve just got to do a better job.”

A better roster than last year

“I mean of course I feel that way, I really do because of the collective of the pieces that we added. You add two marquee players on defense. I mean marquee players, proven production at high level. That right there, I mean, that right there – I can’t even tell you. I know I’m the offensive coach so to speak, as Chris (Ballard) and I have talked, I’m like, you get Matt Ryan and a great defense and we’re good. We’re good. We’ll figure it out. I’m just confident we’re going to be good on offense. We already had a good defense, and now we just added two marquee players and a marquee quarterback. I feel good about this team.”

'Refreshing' to have Matt Ryan's insight

“I cannot even tell you how refreshing he is. It is very strong opinion but also very engaging but very humble, like very humble. Very humble but very strong. It’s just good. It’s a really good dynamic, very professional in every way. It’s just a collaboration but he also understands he’s coming in and learning a new offense and he feels that right now, he feels it. We were just in there in a meeting and we’re going through some stuff, calling plays and just getting used to the terminology to try and get ahead of it – like actually saying things. We don’t wait. I don’t want to wait until the season to do that. We start doing that now in meetings and so, there’s certain things you can feel is new and then there’s, oh yeah, you can tell this guy has been around the block a few times. So, that’s fun.”

Strong attendance for voluntary work

“I don’t know the exact number, but I think we’ve got a good crew this week. I think next week because we didn’t have a team meeting this week, I think there’s a couple of guys straggling in. I think we’re going to be real close, if not at 100 percent next week. I think we’ll be real close. There might be one or two guys coming the week or two after that. It’s pretty good right now.”

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