Blog Entry

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

Posted on: September 12, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 6:39 pm
Is it too early for the Colts to start planning for life after Peyton? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Nobody was eliminated from the playoffs after the first week of the NFL regular season, but it sure seemed that way for a handful of teams, including the Indianapolis Colts, who were Peyton-less for the first time since they drafted him in 1998.

Facing division rival Houston, the Colts looked like, well, a team without a quarterback, which was no fault of Kerry Collins' who, as recently as a month ago, was resting comfortably on his couch. Also not helping: Indy's defense and special teams.

The Colts trailed 17-0 after one quarter, and were down 34-0 (!) at the half before Texans coach Gary Kubiak took it easy on a team that is accustomed to being on the winning end of blowouts. It's a sudden change of fortune for an organization that has thrived with Manning under center. In fact, since Manning arrived in '98, the Colts have been to the playoffs every season but two (his rookie campaign and 2001), including a Super Bowl title in 2006.

While we don't want to overreact after one week, it's reasonable to think that this outfit won't sniff eight wins, and if Manning misses the season while recovering from neck surgery, they'll be lucky to go 4-12. And that would likely put them smack dab in the middle of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. (Yes, we know, such talk was unthinkable as recently as a week ago.)

ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith writes that, "It sounds crazy to suggest that the Colts could take a quarterback with the first pick in the draft nine months after giving Manning the biggest contract in NFL history. But it also sounds crazy to suggest that a team with a 36-year-old quarterback coming off a major injury would pass on a quarterback as talented as Luck."

But we're not just spit-balling here. Colts president Bill Polian watched Luck whip up on Duke last weekend.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King elaborates:

"This is what [Polian] does on almost every fall Saturday -- scout. And this year, in the wake of the possible season-ending surgery on Manning's neck, that takes on added importance," King wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.

"Is there any way the Colts could be bad enough to be in the Andrew Luck derby on draft day? Very unlikely, but the team will do its due diligence. And is there any way they'd take a quarterback from the possible pool of well-regarded players -- such as USC's Matt Barkley, Oklahoma's Landry Jones or a still-to-emerge 2011 college star passer? That's more possible."

We agree: Polian is doing his due diligence. It's not out of the ordinary for him to take in a college football game, but we're less optimistic than King about the Colts' prospects in 2011. Unless things drastically change, there's every reason to think that they'll be in the conversation for the first-overall pick next April. While that doesn't do much for fans this season, Peyton's not going to play forever. And if you have to replace him, why not do it with one of the best college quarterback prospects we've seen in some time.

But perhaps we're too quick to bury this team. If you're looking for hope, coach Jim Caldwell offered it at his Monday press conference: “There is no question I believe it’s all correctable."

Feel better? Neither do we.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:18 am

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 2:10 pm

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 7:28 pm
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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 23, 2011 3:57 pm
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Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: September 13, 2011 3:14 pm

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

I'm a Colts season ticket holder and I hope they do tank the rest of this season!  I'd rather they do that and get Luck than play mediocre ball and finish with 5 wins and the 3rd or 4th pick.  I've been waiting for them to draft Peyton's succesor since his last neck surgery because in this game you just never know when one hit can end it.  They've been playing Russian Roullette with backups ever since they drafted him in 1998 so I, for one, am glad that Peyton's injury may force their hand with preparing for the worst.   I was at the game Sunday and they definitely looked like the worst team in the NFL.  I maybe stating the obvious but I think it was clearly confirmed on Sunday: No single player in the NFL is as important to their team as Peyton is to the Colts.  Time to start thinking about life after Peyton.

Since: Jan 16, 2011
Posted on: September 13, 2011 2:57 pm

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

This looks like the Chiefs' pick, hands down.  What we saw on Sunday was just the beginning of bad things to come.

Since: Jun 2, 2009
Posted on: September 13, 2011 9:51 am

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

I wouldn't be shocked if the headline said "All 32 teams scouting Luck."

Since: Jul 13, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 7:31 am

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

Oh how history repeats itself. Indy looks like they are poised to pick a strong armed all American QB from Stanford, when out of nowhere, the Broncos come swooping in and intercept the young lad. ( Actually, Elway refused to sign with the Colts), but you get what I am saying. The Broncos will suck worse than the Colts this year, and Elway will get his boy.

Since: May 31, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 1:34 am

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

It's not about tanking the season (at least not on purpose).  It's about acknowledging that Manning may be gone for the year (and with neck issues, you can never be sure about a career either).  The sad truth is that without Manning, we looked beyond bad.  I mean, Houston is a good team, but the Colts weren't even competetive in that game.  They got mauled in every phase.  For Polian, he has to face the possibility that he could be looking at a very high pick for the first time in quite awhile.

What this really tells us is that Polian is admitting publicly what Colts fans already have known for awhile:  he has no intention of allowing Curtis Painter to become a starter for this team.  Thank goodness for that at least.

Since: Dec 24, 2008
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:20 am

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

Seriously?  When did anyone mention tanking a season?  You, my friend, read into things a bit too much.

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