The franchise suffered its worst record since Manning’s rookie year in 1998. Now, as GridironGrit.com’s Ryan Lester elaborates, the time is right for the organization to move on and press the reprehensible reset button.
Back before the season, I wrote about how without Peyton, the Colts would be destined to disappoint, since they depend on him so much.
“Many analysts like ESPN’s Mark Schlereth have said Indianapolis is a 3-13 franchise without its face of the franchise. I won’t necessarily go that far—but no NFL team depends more and values one individual player more than the Colts do with Manning.”
An intelligent, polished and precise passer out of Stanford, Andrew Luck is widely considered the most pro-ready prospect since Peyton Manning and has got lost in the national conversation due to the overwhelming consideration that he’s the de facto No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
It will inevitably take some time and a stroke of luck to build back the franchise to its status as a perennial contender with a new coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and general manager, with many additional changes to the player personnel soon to follow.
However, there’s no question Luck is a lock to take over the reins in Indianapolis.
The 6-4, 235-pound 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Award Winner combined for 6,855 yards with 69 touchdowns to 18 interceptions and a 71 completion percentage in his junior and senior season.
While Luck won’t be so lucky or feeling very warm and fuzzy when he starts operating behind less-than-stellar protection, the Stanford star has proven he can handle not being equipped with terrific targets.
The Colts’ biggest offseason position needs are quarterback, receiver (assuming Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Dallas Clark don’t all return), center and most of the entire defense after a dreadful display this past season and a looming switch to a 3-4 front likely on the horizon after the hiring of head coach Chuck Pagano and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
In addition, getting some trade value out of Manning might be a must for a team in transition.
While Matthew Stafford led the Lions to a 2-14 showing in his rookie season, the St. Louis Rams finished 7-9 in Sam Bradford’s rookie year and Cam Newton guided up-and-coming Carolina to a record of 6-10 in 2011.
With this in mind and the current state of the franchise, look for Luck to lead the Colts to a 5-11 or 6-10 record in his rookie year, pending a solid showing in the draft and free agency.
Verse of This Piece: “So I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you.” —Mark 11:24