Q1: With the possibility of Peyton Manning missing the entire season (which is still in the speculative stage) how do you see the Colts draft for next season?
A1: Even before Manning went down, I really thought the Colts needed to start thinking about the future of the position. With the nature of Manning’s injury (neck), I think that it would be foolish for the team to not at least consider drafting a quarterback that could eventually take over for #18. Ironically, the Colts might be better poised to do that in 2012 if Manning is out for an extended period of time, thanks to the presumed falloff in record that would imply. The trick will be to find someone who has talent but would be willing to sit on the bench for the next three or four years (after 2011). Should be a cinch, huh?
That said, Indy will have plenty of holes elsewhere, probably still including the offensive line and the secondary. The safe bet is that Polians draft for one of these needs rather than at QB, and there’s a 50-50 chance that pick will be a disappointment after a year or two. The organization has whiffed on first-rounders over the last half-decade or so, and I don’t see the team falling far enough to land a slam-dunk pick.
Q2: Do you think that Kerry Collins will be an effective QB and how many wins do you see him having?
A2: I see no reason that Collins can’t be effective for the Colts. He has been pretty decent for the Titans over the last few seasons, and he has a history with Jim Caldwell and Bill Polian, so communication among them is probably strong. While neither Collins, nor Manning, are especially mobile Collins has even heavier concrete boots and he doesn’t have Manning’s magical release to save him from pocket pressure. I believe that Collins is good enough to give the Colts nine or 10 wins BUT there are enough problem areas throughout the rest of the team to make .500 seem like a decent goal. And maybe a lofty one.
Q3: What improvements do you think the Colts have made outside of the draft?
A3: Well, they signed Tommy Harris for the D-line…but then released him. They also grabbed Jake Kirkpatrick, last year’s Rimington Award winner as the nation’s best collegiate center, as an undrafted free agent and a possible heir to Jeff Saturday. He’s gone, too.
Seriously, though, the Colts finally dabbled in free agency a bit and landed LB Ernie Sims and DE Jamaal Anderson, both of whom stuck and should provide needed depth. I also like local product Darren Evans at RB, who could team with Delone Carter and FB/TE Chris Gronkowski to finally give Indy something resembling a short yardage game. Strong safety Joe Lefeged, yet another undrafted free agent, looks like he can contribute on special teams and as a solid backup for Melvin Bullitt, who has had some injuries of his own.
Q4: Are you ready for the Texans to become the new AFC South champs?
A4: Hardly! I am, however, prepared to cackle madly when the Houstons stumble again. I’ll tip my Blue and White brain bucket to you when the flag is yours, but, until then, it’s all just bluster.