March 7, 2012

The Colts Made The Wrong Decision With Peyton Manning

     Today, the Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning, their star quarterback who started 208 games in 14 years with the team.  In that span he made 11 Pro Bowls, threw almost 400 touchdowns, appeared in 2 Super Bowls, and won one championship.  There were a lot of reasons to let him go, though.  He hasn't played in over a year because of neck issues.  The Colts went 2-14 last season without him, earning the team the right to draft one of the best quarterback prospects ever.  And were the Colts to keep him on the team, he would have been owed around $35 million over the next year.

     And still, I think the Colts would have been better off with him for the next few years, and would have benefited in the short term and the long term.

Short Term:  As you may know, I am a big believer in the field of statistics.  And one of the main principles of statistics is looking at large sample sizes, because numbers can vary for no reason.  The awful 2011 Colts team was very similar to the 2010 Colts team that went 10-6, and in the seven years before that, they had won at least 12 games every year.  This roster is not as horrible as it looks.  Even if Peyton is not fully healed, he should at least be able to bring them into playoff contention.  Without Peyton, you throw Andrew Luck into the fire with an entirely new set of coaches and a group of receivers designed for Peyton's playing style.  Luck may get them into playoff contention, but their chances would be better with Peyton and his bum neck and his humongous salary.  (Speaking of which, they couldn't have restructured that somehow?  I don't believe that.)

Long Term:  I believe that if any team with an established veteran quarterback drafts another quarterback in the first round, the team should keep both of them for at least two years.  It gives the new guy a chance to observe how a great quarterback plays and prepares.  I realized it hasn't happened many times (Aaron Rodgers, Chad Pennington, and Philip Rivers were the only ones since 2000), but it seems to work well every time.  The results of first-rounders who start right away are more mixed (Sam Bradford, David Carr, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, etc.).  I think the Colts should have followed the Rodgers blueprint, and that starts with keeping the same team and coaches they had in 2011.  That would have given Peyton a couple more tries at reaching the Super Bowl, Andrew Luck a chance to learn from a legend, and the Colts a chance to rebuild in a few years around a young, well-prepared quarterback.  Now they just have a mismatched team with a question mark under center.

No comments:

Post a Comment