Finally and as expected, Peyton Manning got cut last Wednesday.
And the Colts are officially on the clock.
With Manning gone, the Colts will most likely select Andrew Luck with the #1 overall pick. So, what does this heartbreaking decision means to the Stanford QB? Most importantly, what happens if Peyton starts looking like the usual laser-rocket arm QB wearing another jersey?
Without any doubt, the pressure on Luck will be tremendous, especially because of the context.
In Peyton’s rookie year the expectation from the fans wasn’t as high as it is now. Football wasn’t as important to Indy as it is now. In 1998, the Colts history in Indianapolis was close to embarrassing.
Today, for better or worse, we’ve turned into a spoiled fan base. We’re used to seeing the team win and get into the playoffs year after year. We’re used to having an explosive offense and a QB who can pull unbelievable comebacks.
Manning has become arguably the greatest QB of all time, the face of the franchise, the face of an entire city and the architect of Lucas Oil Stadium. Filling the shoes of a guy like him is literally impossible.
Now, add this emotional break-up and the pressure on both the front office and the rookie QB will be ridiculous. After all, Luck has been advertised as the best prospect since Manning himself. He is a ‘safe bet’ for the next 15 years.
With Luck being the #1 pick and the best prospect since Manning himself, the expectation will be incredibly and stupidly high. Results will be demanded immediately.
If Luck doesn’t win games right away and Peyton starts playing to his usual level, it will create a very awkward and dangerous atmosphere in Indianapolis. Any mistake by Luck – and there will be a LOT of mistakes during his rookie season – will create more and more pressure from the media and from a heartbroken fan base. Besides pressure, there will be some unfair resentment. Worst of all, we will hear about dumb comparisons and “what ifs” over and over throughout the year.
Even the toughest QBs would struggle in such scenario. It’s way too much to ask for a rookie QB. Luck is only guilty of having a fantastic college career.
If Manning plays at a high-level, it will be a very long year for Andrew Luck and the Colts front office, one that could define his career in the NFL and the future of the franchise for the rest of the decade.
I think Colts fans need to be prrepared that Peyton is going to be very good in 2012 and for the next three or four years. He is not going to pick a team and situation that will not give him a chance to win... and win big. He is very highly motivated and he is after all... still Peyton F. Manning.
With that being said, the Colts fan base needs to be realistic with Luck. I think there is a very good chance that as much as the cap savings, all these "name" players have been cut to further lower the expectations for the 2012 Colts. Peyton threw a lot of interceptions his rookie year. (He still holds the record I believe.) At one point, rookie Charlie Batch for the Detroit Lions was playing better than him.
But as the season wore on, even if the wins were not piling up, it became very apparent that Peyton had "it" In 2012, this is the best the Colts can hope for. That Luck displays that same indefinable quality.
what do you mean, "if Peyton starts lookign like his usual rocket arm self"
That is already happening, did you not see teh Duke video...35+ yard pass thrown from the right hash mark to the LEFT
With radical efforts must come radical praise or radical criticism. If you want to do things in this extreme, you have to be willing to be torched if your plan fails. ~George Washington (not really)
These cuts are killing me. My whole family is like "what????" Freeney? Painter?? :-) So maybe, maybe 2012 can be a pass on all of the criticism if things don't turn out great. But, if Manning is torching up the field, and we're really 2-14, and really really sucking, as in Painter/Orlovsky sucking, then it would be fair to ask Irsay "what the hell?" There are many ways to work cap space and to release certain players and keep others. There could have been a slight transition here and there with a nice retirement of Manning, and a trade of Luck for some picks. Maybe you still let some high-paid veterans go, but you go with your star QB (yes, too late, I know).
But I'm sorry. You wanna clean slate and start over, you'd better show some progress pretty quickly - and some intelligent planning, good coaching, etc. You wanna be an owner who tweets sometimes confusing and often questionable things, 24x7? You wanna slice your most winningest GM?
Again, I understand the problem we had with CAP SPACE, but I think the most unimaginative thing to do/have done, is simply slash and burn. Will I still be a Colts fan after five 2 and 14 seasons in a row? Sure. I was there before Peyton's winning streak and will a Colts fan (an annoying one!) for the rest of my life. But this is disheartening.
And just wait. If Manning joins an AFC team, which is likely since we're talking Dolphin's or Broncos right now, he's going to come into the Luke and torch us. Just wait for the a) support for Manning and b) dislike for Irsay and Grigson. I really hope I'm wrong; I hope Grigson and Luck and show us some magic.
I remember Manning's first and second years, and while he struggled, there were flashes of brilliance. There were times he threw the ball and I thought "wow!" "what the heck??" - There better be with Luck as well.
By the way, Brad Wells predicted in 1977 that Peyton would go to the Broncos. I really appreciate him reminding us when he thinks he's right, and burying it when he's completely wrong.
Double Ugh -
Oh man. We're now without many playmakers for the Colts the past couple of years. ESPN reports that the following players have been cut: Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Melvin Bullitt, Gary Brackett, and Curtis Painter.
This next year is going to be *rough*, especially for Andrew Luck.
@TheGreatMisdirect It will be unless Ryan Grigson uses the cap space to acquire legitimate receiving targets for Luck. I expect Luck will be very productive quickly, much like Manning. That will only happen if the Colts go get a serious #1 receiver.
The problem is that attracting a big free agent (or Reggie Wayne) to this team during rebuilding isn't going to happen. Second, they need draft picks to fill all the holes. At this point they badly need receivers, tight ends, defensive backs and a nose tackle. They also need offensive guard and center most likely. Realistically they can't draft quality starters for all of those positions.
That means Grigson better hit a few home runs in free agency.
@coltsauth_todd @TheGreatMisdirect To put that another way, the essence of rebuilding is that you don't have quality starters in all those positions. You make do with non-quality starters while waiting for a few years of high draft classes to get up to speed, right? Seems like trying to plug the holes in FA just increases the chances of ending up in the murky middle; rebuilding a condo instead of the castle we used to live in.
@coltsauth_todd @TheGreatMisdirect I thought the great myth of free agency was that there are home runs to be had. If all the good players come at a premium price, what's the use in swapping our expensive veterans for someone else's?
The majority of fans are too reactionary, in my opinion. It was apparent to me that this was going to happen. The important thing is to let the situation unfold and hold our judgements until 3 years down the road--a long time I know. This team had obviously been declining for a couple years. the cap hell situation was going to happen whether or not Peyton had 3 neck surgeries. Some 'rebuilding' was probably inevitable, but mostly impossible while these huge (maybe not-so-intelligent) contracts sat there, gobbling up cap space.
I guess i trust these men with their judgments for now...only time will tell
It will be interesting to see how many people jump off the "Colts should cut Manning" bandwagon if this happens.
This is one reason why I thought it was foolish to let Peyton go. While other teams have let superstar QBs go to make room for younger players, I don't believe it has ever been done for a rookie - Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers had been on their teams for several years when Montana and Favre were let go. It would be very tough for anyone to be Peyton Manning's replacement. Tougher still for a rookie. To have the added pressure of being a major cause of Peyton's release is just incredible. I think fans will be understanding of mistakes this year, but Luck had better be awfully good in 2013 or there's going to be some major outcry against Irsay for letting Peyton go. And avoiding the "bust" label probably requires either a hall of fame career or winning multiple Super Bowls. I hope he's up to it.
It's going to be tough for Luck (and it better be Luck or the franchise is in dire straits) as no #1 overall pick wins his first year. None. If he took the Colts to 8-8 it would be the best season in the history of the game for a #1 overall QB. The Colts will have a better chance of getting the #1 overall pick next year than they do of finishing .500 and that will be meaningless towards whether or not Luck will develop into a top tier QB. All anyone should expect is for him to improve throughout the year and by the end of the season for the NFL game to have slowed down a bit for him.
@JohnGibson JG alludes to a key point for all Colts fans to remember. I am dead inside from all this. Expected or not, this team is now a stranger. I still bleed blue as I have for 35 years, but their is no warm, familiar face on this franchise to relate to.
But all Colts fans should understand that if emotional excitement is lacking right now, there is some real excitement in the cold logic of the moves being made. In the draft, we picked some pieces up last year and this year and we should have at least nine other picks (before any compensatory picks, if we wind up getting any). This team is going to be infused with youth and will already have on its roster (hopefully) a cornerstone LT and a franchise QB. This will smooth all the scheme changes, as players will be drafted to fit the vision rather than "fitted" as best as possible. That is half the equation! 2012 will be awful money-wise, but with so many drafted players and a clear rebuild year, who cares? 2013 and 2014 will be much cleaner, allowing us to be more active in free agency, perhaps making a big splash or two and filling holes. Executed well, this could totally be a SB roster by 2013! And I get excited just thinking about watching that come back together.
@Hogue @JohnGibson So much of fulfilling that potential depends on an untested GM... I'm afraid that expectations will be as high for Grigson (in comparison to Polian) as they will for Luck vs. Manning. What happens if they get a couple years into the rebuild only to find out the new GM/HC choices aren't up to the task?
@Hogue I guess choosing how to feel about the new FO is a half full/half empty kind of scenario. Like you, I HOPE they're world class. It would be very reassuring to have that kind of optimism. But I'm not sure it's warranted yet. Irsay's track record on these choices is mixed, right? Polian and Dungy were perfect picks, some of the others not so much. Guys like Angerer and Nevis, plus vets like Mathis and Bethea, are worth being excitd about. But after last season, waiting to see how the rest of the plan works out will be tough.
@pierrezombie @Hogue @JohnGibson I'll grant you that. But I am going to assume Irsay has gotten competent people. What else can you do? Its possible they screw it all up. But Polian's evaluation system is in place. And as tough as all this has been to watch, I think the new group has banked some goodwill because I think they have done the right things. I like any management team that does not see sacred cows.
The last two years one kernel of excitement has been watching Angerer develop. We are going to get a couple years of excitement watching a bunch of Angerer's develop. The new GM/Coach could mess it up, but I can not assume that they will. And as Nate always says, in just 2-3 years we could be back in contention. Hope Manning wins a couple SBs in that time.