Frank Reich plans to bring Eagles-style aggressiveness to the Colts
The Eagles were one of the most aggressive teams in the NFL in 2017, and it helped them win the Super Bowl
One of the biggest stories after the Philadelphia Eagles' Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots was the aggressiveness of the Eagles offense. Between the "Philly Special" play-call that became emblematic of their style of play and the fourth-down conversion to Zach Ertz that kept alive what would eventually become the game-winning drive, Doug Pederson and company showed that going for it in advantageous situations can help a team overcome the odds to win -- and win big.
Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich played a big role in helping Pederson develop that aggressive style of play, and he plans to bring that philosophy with him to his new job as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
That will be a big change for the Colts, who were one of the least aggressive teams in 2017. Take a look at this chart, via Football Outsiders, which shows how often every NFL coach went for it on fourth down. We've highlighted the Eagles and Colts within the chart to make it easy for you to see the massive differential.
As you can see, Pederson was the NFL's most aggressive fourth-down coach, going for it 22 times on 107 opportunities. Former Colts coach Chuck Pagano was one of the NFL's most conservative coaches, electing to go for it only four times in 105 opportunities. Considering the league-wide fourth down conversion rate over the last five seasons is right around 50 percent (per Pro-Football-Reference, NFL teams converted 49.9 percent of fourth down opportunities in games where the score was within two touchdowns), it seems safe to say that most teams are far too conservative when it comes to their decision-making on fourth downs.
If the Colts actually get Andrew Luck back on the field and ramp up their aggressiveness at the same time, they could make a bigger than expected jump in the standings if other teams around the league continue to play things more conservatively.
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