Tag:Bill Polian
Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:45 am

Polian's statement points to Colts taking QB

In a five paragraph statement made to the press shortly following Indianapolis' first win of the season, Colts' vice chairman Bill Polian announced that four-time league MVP Peyton Manning has begun throwing passes to teammates but that there is "no chance" that he will play this season.

"It was determined by the doctors that there was no chance he (Manning) would play this year," Polian said, alluding to a meeting that took place on Thursday. "His rehabilitation has not come far enough to make it prudent for him to step on the field in game action. He may practice in some very scripted and circumscribed circumstances if he wishes. That's entirely up to him."

Perhaps it is just me, but the last sentence in the quote above I found to be particularly interesting.

"That's entirely up to him" is the kind of thing one parent might say to another about a child about to make a foolhardy decision. It reeks of washing one's hands of a decision so that if something bad were to happen fault couldn't be spread.

It sounds like the words of a man who has already made up his mind with what he's doing with the first pick of the draft.

Having spoken with scouts specifically about the Colts and their 35-year old quarterback, the writing has been on the way for months. The Colts recognize the unique talent expected to be available and do not appear likely to be willing to mortgage their future at the game's most important position just to acknowledge what Manning has done for them in the past.

The real question could turn out to be which quarterback the Colts would prefer.

The overwhelming consensus, of course, is that the Colts would take Andrew Luck. As I noted here, however, there is growing sentiment that the higher upside of Robert Griffin III could convince some teams that he's the player who should be taken first.

If running a team needing a quarterback to step in and play immediately, it would seem Luck would be the slam dunk choice. Southern Cal's Matt Barkley, should he also decide to leave school early, is also especially ready for the leap to the NFL due to his experience in a pro-style offense.

If the Colts see enough in Manning's post practice workouts to convince them that he is on schedule to return to his MVP-caliber play, Griffin might sneak up on Luck. He, after all, is expected to need some time to acclimate to the NFL after having earned his Heisman trophy in a spread offense.

But, of course, Polian isn't tipping his hand on which college quarterback he likes best.

That won't come until a press conference scheduled four months from now.

Posted on: September 7, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 3:53 pm

Playoffs?! Without Peyton, Colts could be in Luck

Yesterday former Colts head coach Tony Dungy made waves with the proclamation that his former team might miss the playoffs if they don't get quarterback Peyton Manning back this season.

In response to Dungy's prediction I'll go back even further in Colts history to another former head coach -- Jim Mora -- whose famous "Playoffs!? I just hope we can win a game" rant may once again be applicable.

Clearly, the Colts are a talented team. Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark -- we're talking about three consistent Pro Bowl caliber players right off the bat, but let's be clear, Wayne and Clark are significantly more successful players based on the relationship they've forged with Manning. Freeney might be the league's best pass rusher, but with teams not needing 40+ points to keep up with the Manning-led offense, opponents can (and likely will) run the ball down his throat.

Putting it more bluntly, without Manning, the Colts are the worst team in the AFC South division.

Again, to be fair, no football team is based on just one player. Furthermore, I do believe in the talent and experience of Kerry Collins is enough to see the Colts winning a few games. But you take a look at their schedule and tell me that they're going to win enough games to be competing for the playoffs for long should Manning not make it back onto the field soon.

All of this potentially shapes up for an interesting dilemma for Bill Polian and the Colts. Should Manning not recover in time to keep Indianapolis within a realistic shot of the playoffs, what would the incentive be to hurry the futue Hall of Famer back? Especially given the extreme value a high first round pick could have in 2012, when several highly touted young quarterbacks like Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones and Ryan Tannehill (among others) could be available. 

The Colts have already admitted that they have no idea when Peyton Manning will be ready to return to the field. One could extend that thinking further to: The Colts have no idea IF Peyton Manning will be ready to return to the field. Manning, after all, is 35 and nerve damage injuries are impossible to predict.

Should Manning return early in the season (and I'd like to think that all of us -- perhaps other than rival defensive coordinators -- are indeed hoping this is the case), Indianapolis could find themselves in playoff contention and picking in the 20s as they have throughout virtually all of Manning's career.

Should he not return this season, however, the Colts could be in position to pick (or trade the rights to pick) one of the top young quarterbacks coming down the pike.

Playoffs?! Are you kidding, me?! Playoffs?!
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