Thanks to our ever-evolving flow of news, we’re seeing countless different rumors about what’s going on with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
Is he undergoing another neck surgery? Could he miss the Colts’ season opener at Houston on Sunday? Is he out for the entire season?
This much we have seen confirmed: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Manning was being evaluated by doctors once again regarding apparent slow progress in his recovery from offseason neck surgery. No further procedure had been planned yet.
We don’t know at this point how much time Manning may miss, but it’s starting to feel more and more like he’ll be a no-go for the team’s Week 1 matchup against the Texans.
The Colts certainly could see this coming and didn’t trust backup quarterback Curtis Painter enough, hence the franchise’s beckoning Kerry Collins out of retirement to line up behind center in Manning’s absence.
Again, we don’t know how much time Manning may miss. But if he’s out for an extended period of time, to think the Colts could continue their long reign over the AFC South and remain Super Bowl contenders is to look through speed blue 3D glasses. The team will struggle to win games without the player upon whom it relies so heavily.
Most analysts seem to think the Colts would be a three- or four-win team without Manning. While that thinking makes sense given the team’s inconsistency on defense and in the running game, I have a hard time agreeing completely. We won’t know that for sure until we see a proven veteran quarterback — Collins — run the offense in a regular-season situation.
Collins is just two weeks into his tenure as a Colt; it’s reasonable to expect he’ll struggle out of the gate if he must start. He looked stoic in the pocket in last Thursday’s preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, and three of the Colts’ first five regular-season opponents are Houston (who will run a new, more aggressive 3-4 defense under coordinator Wade Phillips), Pittsburgh (I won’t insult your intelligence) and Kansas City (featuring Tamba Hali, perhaps the NFL’s most unsung pass rusher). Collins will need to be back to game speed in a hurry.
Obviously, Manning gives the Colts the best chance to win. Duh. But an unhealthy Manning won’t be good for Manning himself or the Colts. He needs to do whatever he can do to become fully healthy and able to play at the high level we’ve become so accustomed to seeing. If that’s a game or three, so be it. If it’s the whole season, as painful as it may be for Colts fans, so be it. You can’t put your neck and nerves at risk.
Prepare for the Great Unknown, folks. We soon could find out just what kind of team the Colts would be without Peyton Manning.
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