The Great Unknown: 2012 Indianapolis Colts preview

The Indianapolis Colts have endured quite the eventful — and often turbulent — offseason in 2012.

The firings of Vice Chairman Bill Polian, GM Chris Polian and coach Jim Caldwell. The hires of GM Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano.

The release of quarterback Peyton Manning, the greatest and most iconic Indianapolis Colt of all time, and the subsequent cuts of long-time fan favorites Joseph Addai, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt and Dallas Clark.

The selection of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck — the franchise’s cornerstone for the future — with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

And on the not-so-bright side, the fan backlash at owner Jim Irsay and the club, particularly for parting with Manning and for announcing just weeks ago the Colts would black out home games that weren’t 100-percent sold out despite a new league rule that allows a minimum 85-percent attendance to air games.

After all this uber-whirlwind of change and drama surrounding the Colts, it’s finally, thankfully, time to play some football.

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Indianapolis Colts 2012 NFL Draft preview: Andrew Luck, then what?

New Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson made official Tuesday what we all pretty much knew back in January: the franchise will select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in today’s NFL Draft.

Luck is billed as the most pro-ready quarterback prospect to enter the league since Peyton Manning, the man he’s succeeding in Indianapolis. Some would go even further back and call Luck the surest thing since fellow Stanford great John Elway.

While I personally think such opinions are a bit overkill, I do think very highly of Luck, and I believe he can be the Colts’ next franchise signal-caller for many years to come. Given the recent organizational overhaul in Indy, however, quarterback is far from this team’s only thin spot. The Colts could use talent upgrades everywhere.

The fun, analytically speaking, starts with the No. 34 pick.

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Colts Owner Tweets: New Coach to be Named Next week

jim-irsay

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay seems to break a lot of news on his Twitter account. All season long, it was the source for breaking news on Peyton Manning health/potential future with the organization. And now the tweets tell us the Colts will have a new head coach in place next week.

Irsay made the announcement on his Twitter account Saturday.

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Indianapolis Colts’ New GM Faces Decision on Jim Caldwell

We’re nearly five days into the Ryan Grigson era in Indianapolis, and the Colts’ new general manager should be about ready to make the call on the first of many crucial decisions this offseason.

Grigson, the former director of player personnel with the Philadelphia Eagles and an Indiana native (Purdue alum), is expected to decide either today or in the next couple of days whether to retain incumbent head coach Jim Caldwell or to complete the housecleaning and move forward with his own guy.

With huge decisions looming later in the offseason, particularly whether to keep or release quarterback Peyton Manning and whether to do the same (or re-sign) so many high-profile Colts players, the Caldwell decision might seem simple. It’s not, though, and it could have an effect on some of those decisions down the road.

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Eventful Two Days Lead to Clean House for Indianapolis Colts

Wow. Never mind suggesting what an emotionally draining season 2011 has been for the Indianapolis Colts.

The last two days have been taxing enough.

Entering Sunday’s season finale at Jacksonville, the Colts were a once-proud franchise fallen from grace, a putrid roster bereft of its four-time MVP quarterback to mask its deficiencies and a trainwreck of an organization at the hands of Bill and Chris Polian.

By sundown Monday, the franchise was swept clean of Polian reign, had entered the market for a new general manager and now appears set to move forward with a new vision, very possibly with a promising young signal-caller.

The Colts’ loss to the Jaguars netted Indy the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft, and Colts owner Jim Irsay made it official the next day that Bill Polian, who has had quite the run as an executive in Indianapolis and elsewhere, and his son Chris, the team’s general manager, would be relieved of their duties with the organization.

What a couple of days.

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Indianapolis Colts Make Changes Before Annual New England Game

After falling to 0-11 on the 2011 NFL season last Sunday in a 27-19 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts’ brass on Wednesday resorted to what could be the first of many — MANY — changes for the free-falling franchise.

Flanked by front office leaders Bill and Chris Polian, Colts coach Jim Caldwell announced that defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, whom Caldwell replaced Ron Meeks with after being promoted to head coach in 2009, had been dismissed and that long-time linebackers coach Mike Murphy would assume defensive coordinator duties for the rest of the season.

Caldwell also announced a move that many thought might have come much sooner: Dan Orlovsky will replace Curtis Painter as Indy’s starting quarterback when it faces arch-rival New England (8-3) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Obviously, changes needed to be made within the Colts organization. And don’t think more aren’t on the way.

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Indianapolis Colts Lose Again, Now in Driver’s Seat for No. 1 Pick

The previous weekend was a rather turbulent one for the Indianapolis Colts.

It was capped, of course, with another loss, this one a 31-7 drubbing at home to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Depending on one’s perspective, however, the loss might have been a blessing, as the Miami Dolphins, who until Sunday were the NFL’s only other winless team, beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-3 for their first win of the season — giving the Colts the inside track for the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and its prospective prize, Stanford quarterbakc andrew Luck.

But those weren’t the only story lines surrounding the Colts during this rough weekend.

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Indianapolis Colts Really Are That Bad in Loss to New Orleans

It was the question widely asked before the season and during it thus far: “Could the Colts be THAT bad without Peyton Manning?”

They sure were Sunday night.

Indianapolis never even competed against the New Olreans Saints, suffering a 62-7 wallop at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The team that handed the Colts (0-7) perhaps their most forgettable postseason defeat also delivered them perhaps their worst loss in francihse history. The Colts have never allowed so many points, a tie for most points scored in a game since the NFL-AFL merger, per the Associated Press.

So how could it get to this?

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Indianapolis Colts Eye First Win against Kansas City Chiefs

This might be as good a chance to get that first win of 2011 as the Indianapolis Colts might get in this second quarter of the NFL season.

The Colts (0-4) welcome the similarly struggling Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) to Lucas Oil Stadium at 1 p.m. today in search of a victory that has eluded them thus far this season.

There are several reasons why Indy can come out on top in this battle of division cellar dwellers who both won their divisions in 2010 (how quickly things change in the NFL).

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Indianapolis Colts Owner: Peyton Manning “Out for Awhile”

I would start getting used to seeing Kerry Collins under center for the Indianapolis Colts this season.

Colts owner Jim Irsay all but said that would be the case on Twitter this morning.

Irsay, a regular on Twitter, wrote the following message on his account: “NFL Season opens 2nite!We had a good practice yesterday and r guys r fired up 4 the season.#18’s out for awhile,but compete,we will/BELIEVE.”

The development was a follow-up to confirmations by the team’s vice chairman, Bill Polian, and Manning himself, that the four-time MVP would miss Sunday’s season opener in Houston, ending an unprecedented streak of 208 (227 including playoffs) consecutive starts to begin a NFL career.

(Update: Manning’s 2011 is likely over, is this a career ender?)

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Indianapolis Colts Sign Kerry Collins

I have been saying this whole preseason that quarterback Peyton Manning would be good to go for the Indianapolis Colts’ season opener Sept. 11 at Houston.

I now concede it’s possible he might not be.

The Colts on Wednesday signed veteran quarterback Kerry Collins, who was Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian’s first draft choice as GM of the Carolina Panthers, as insurance if Manning is unable to start Week 1.

Collins, 38, most recently played for the Colts’ division rivals, the Tennessee Titans, and started all but one game for the team during its charmed 2008 season; the Titans went 13-3 that season and claimed home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

While Collins might be a better option than current Colts backups Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky, it’s still a major concern for a team that relies so heavily on Manning.

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Indianapolis Colts Get Active, Sign Tommie Harris and Other Defenders

The Indianapolis Colts have taken pride in their organizational philosophy — build through the draft, re-sign your guys and stand pat during veteran free agency — often to the dismay of their fans.

Well, after the first two days of Colts training camp in Anderson, Ind., the franchise sent a message to those fans: Here you go.

Indy brought in three outside veteran defensive players — former All-Pro defensive tackle Tommie Harris and former top-10 draft picks, linebacker Ernie Sims and defensive end Jamaal Anderson — on one-year contracts.

My take? Low risks, potentially nice rewards. Oh yeah, and now those angry fans can finally hush.

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