November 5, 2011

The Colts' Blueprint For Andrew Luck

     There's been a lot of speculation lately about what the Indianapolis Colts will do if they "earn" the #1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, because Stanford QB Andrew Luck, the consensus "best college QB in years" will be available.  Should the Colts draft Luck and trade star QB Peyton Manning, who is coming off a neck surgery and will be 36 next year?  Should the Colts trade their #1 pick for a bunch of other good picks and keep Peyton as long as he can play?
     Fortunately for them, I think I have the answer.  No.  To both.  Here's what they should do:

1.  Draft Andrew Luck

     If you have the chance to draft a once-in-a-generation quarterback, you don't pass that up.  The Colts should know better than anyone how much a great QB improves a team.

2.  Keep Peyton Manning

     If you have the chance to trade a quarterback that led your team for 13 years and is a fan favorite, you don't do it!  Trading Peyton Manning?  Are these guys serious?  I know some people think the Colts can't carry Luck and Manning at the same time, but I don't see any issues with it.  Luck isn't going to have a problem sitting behind Manning and learning the craft from one of the best passers ever.  Manning will be too focused on the actual games to worry about Luck taking his job.  And unlike first-round quarterbacks of the past, Luck shouldn't take up too much of the Colts' cap space.  They can afford to keep both quarterbacks.

3.  Suffer for two years

     This is going to be tough for Colts' fans to hear, but to get the most out of Andrew Luck, they should let him sit and learn for two years.  This means playing with their current awful roster and allowing whatever comes from that to happen.  Look at Aaron Rodgers.  He sat for 3 years behind Brett Favre on a Green Bay Packer team that went from 4-12 to 8-8 to 13-3.  Had the Packers benched Favre during the 4-12 year, Rodgers probably wouldn't have played as well as he did in 2008.  He's even admitted that himself.
     Philip Rivers sat behind Drew Brees in 2004 and 2005 for a team that picked #1 in the 2004 Draft and was so bad, Eli Manning refused to play there.  They went 12-4 in 2004 and 9-7 in 2005, and despite how much people like to hate him, Rivers is playing very well for a team that consistently wins its division.  Chad Pennington sat behind Vinny Testaverde in 2000 and 2001 for a team that went 9-7 and 10-6.  When Pennington finally started in 2002, he was incredibly efficient, and now has a career 90.1 passer rating.
     That's it.  Every other quarterback drafted in the first round since 2000 has started a game during their first two years, and the results have often been more disastrous than the ones listed above.
     The Colts must sit Andrew Luck for two years.  No exceptions.

4.  Unload Peyton Manning

     This is the tough part.  For Brett Favre, the exit strategy provided itself quite nicely.  Manning, however, is not so indecisive or arrogant.  He will want to keep playing for the Colts.  The fans will want him to keep playing.  But the team must give him away for as many good draft picks or players as possible.  It will get very messy, but it's necessary.

5.  Suffer again

     Just what the Colts' fans need after the team gets rid of their favorite player, right?  But it always happens when teams get rid of Hall of Fame QB's.  In 2008, Favre got the Jets to 8-8 while the Packers only managed to go 6-10.  In 2009, Favre took the Vikings very, very close to the Super Bowl.  Joe Montana led the Chiefs over Steve Young's 49'ers in 1994.  The aggrieved player always gets revenge against its former team.

6.  Reap the benefits

     The veteran QB always becomes old and useless at some point, such as Favre in 2010.  Once Peyton hits that wall, the Colts will rise.  Luck will be awesome, and he should have lots of talent around him from the Peyton-based draft picks.  And best of all, this new core of players should be around for a good 10 years, meaning consistent playoff appearances and possibly a ring or two.  Revel in your success, Colts fans!

Note:  None of this applies if the Dolphins or some other unfortunate team has the worst record this year.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more with this plan. I can't believe how many people are saying the Colts either have to draft Luck and trade Manning or keep Manning and trade the pick.