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A Post-Season Magnificent Seven: A lot of non-change for Indianapolis Colts (2)

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4) On the future of Peyton Manning. This, like the futures of Polian and Caldwell, is one of those issues that's fine to talk about in January, but the reality is just as Polian and Caldwell are going nowhere, neither is Manning. He played the last year of his contract last season, but there's zero possibility of him going elsewhere. Irsay said this week he believes Manning's new deal will get done quietly, and that's likely what will happen. Because of the labor uncertainty, there won't likely be many signings around the NFL between now and March 3, but Irsay seems determined to get something done with Manning quickly. The guess here is Manning's deal is a unique enough and important enough contract for Irsay and the Colts to get that done. But as far as all of the blogosphere chatter about Manning going elsewhere or trying to get out of his deal or forcing change? Forget it. Manning will be with the Colts next season, and it likely will happen without any major shakeups. This is a status quo organization that has won consistently by not trying to implement drastic change. There's little reason to think that will change now.

3) Free agency. Different topic, same concept. As is the case at the beginning of each off-season, there is clamoring from observers for major free-agent signings. One school of thought is that it is so painfully obvious that the team must “fill holes” that this will be the year the team breaks form and starts signing free agents. Don't bet the mortgage. This team has been consistent because it hasn't crippled its salary cap with fantasy-football free agency, and that – along with Manning's presence – has made it yearly contender. Yes, the offensive line almost certainly will be addressed in some capacity, and there will be other areas addressed, but as much as it may infuriate some fans, this is not going to be a big-name, fill-the-depth-chart-with-sexy-names in-March team. Nor should it be. The chance of failure taking that route is far greater than the chance of success.

2) On the future of running back Joseph Addai. This is a far more uncertain situation than that of Manning, because while there's no question Manning will return, the same isn't true of Addai. The Colts need him back, and almost certainly will try very hard to keep him. Theoretically, that would be easier if Manning has a long-term contract, because that would allow the Colts to place the franchise tag on Addai. The truth is there's so much unknown that it's difficult to speculate on free agents beyond Manning. Stay tuned, but the guess here is somehow, someway the Colts figure a way to retain Addai for at least another season.

1) The window. The Colts hadn't won fewer than 12 games since 2002, and because that happened this season, the off-season certainly will be filled with stories about the window of opportunity closing. The IFR Editor can recall vividly talking to former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy about that window more than once about that topic – and doing so more than once before 2005. That means the Colts have made at least five post-season and two Super Bowl appearances since then. Dungy never believed in the theory of the closing window, and the reality is in the NFL, the window stays open so long as your quarterback can play. Is Manning closer to the end of his career than the beginning? Sure, but as long as he is playing at the level at which he played this season – and as long as the Colts can stay healthy – they'll enter each season with a chance to get in the playoffs and make a run, and in the NFL, that's all you can ask.

Comments

  • Profile picture of GoColts4Ever
    GoColts4Ever 3 years ago

    Yawn.

    This whole article could be summed up in about three words: same as always.

    I think the ho-hum, business as usual approach the Colts have had has led to a lot of success over the past few years. It's also led to more post-season flops than any other team in the NFL. With Manning turning 35 next year, the time for MAJOR change is now. What do we have to lose? Making the playoffs every year is completely routine now. The media can spin all they want about the amazing accomplishment this year was, but making the playoffs is the bare minimum this club should be doing.

    Major change - such as free agent acquisitions and change at the GM and coaching levels - will bring in fresh ideas, fresh blood and a renewed chance of success. With #18 at the helm, and a new coach to do actual coaching, this team can win Super Bowls. (As an aside, I strongly agree with Whitlock: http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/michael-vick-peyton-manning-nfl-who-i...)

    After seeing Manning's reaction to Caldwell's ridiculous timeout, I don't think its that far-fetched for him to use a coaching change as a bargaining chip. Keep in mind that absent a CBA, there's no such thing as a franchise tag. I think you're right, Manning would love to finish his career with Indy. But not with idiots at the helm, pissing away chances to win in the post season.

  • Profile picture of Bplantain
    Bplantain 3 years ago

    Truth be told, Polian's drafts haven't been any good since he ran off all of his experienced scouts and hired a bunch of kids to be scouts so his boy Chrissy won't be too uncomfortable.

  • truth hurts 3 years ago

    That Jason Whitlock article is a real eye-opener. I recall the day Tony Dungy was named head coach, and telling all my friends the Colts would win a Super Bowl in 3 or 4 years. I wasn't off by much. Back then I felt it was the defense that was keeping us from competing, and believed Tony would get that situation resolved. In that Super Bowl run, the defense outplayed the offense in all their games. Then Tony retires, Caldwell takes over, and we can't score more than 1 TD in a loss to the Jets at home?? Think about this, when your defense holds the other team to 17 points, and your QB is Peyton Manning, you EXPECT to win that game! Coaches are paid to develop a winning game plan, players are paid to execute that game plan. I think if Peyton had an offensive coordinator and/or a head coach with more pedigree than the current regime he'd likely have played in more than just 2 Super Bowls, and he might well have more than just 1 ring...

  • ekiel 3 years ago

    I think that there is a point here that is missing. The point is with the talent of Manning, Freeny, Vinatieri, and others this team if coached right and with the right cast of players could be in the fight for the superbowl every year even with injuries. But, even with Dungy the team plays it safe and sometimes it looks like they are trying not to lose rather than trying to win. Before the half of both the previous playoff game and in the superbowl they had about a minute left and did nothing. That is crazy with that offense and as poor as their defense is they should take advantage of every chance they get. They seem to be scared to do trick plays and play a little dirty. I am sure Belichick, Sean Peyton, and even Rex Ryan would have no problem doing what it takes to win. I know if Manning had the chance to put the "pedal to the floor" he would. Not to mention that their choice of first rounders have been suspect over the past few years.