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 make heartbreaking but necessary decision to release Peyton Manning

Nobody — nobody — wanted it to end this way.

Not you or me. Not Indianapolis Colts fans, who are sure to be divided — many of them irate — about the franchise’s decision to part ways with Peyton Manning. Not Manning himself. Not owner Jim Irsay, who undoubtedly will be the recipient of the aforementioned fan ire. Not Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz, who was among the first (if not the first) to opine that parting ways with Manning was the only decision that made sense for the franchise and subsequently became an easy target for angry Colts fans as someone who was running the four-time MVP out of town.

Nobody wanted it to end this way.

But it must.

With the official announcement — a joint one — that the Colts will release Manning after 14 seasons with the club coming at noon today, the news we’ve been expecting really hits home. And it hits home hard — for many reasons. But as heartbreaking as it might be to see the departure of someone who essentially put football on the map in Indiana, there was just no way around it.

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The only story with the Indianapolis Colts is Peyton Manning

Just so you know, the Colts have made a few major changes this offseason.

Bill and Chris Polian are gone. In their place is new general manager Ryan Grigson, formerly a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office.

Oh, and former coach Jim Caldwell also is out of town. The new guy? Chuck Pagano, who spent the 2011 season as the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator. Word is he plans to do away with the Colts’ familiar Tampa 2 defense and install a hybrid 3-4 scheme.

The Colts have some new coordinators too, you know. Bruce Arians, who was the team’s quarterbacks coach from 1998-2000 and previously served as offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is back in Indy to conduct the offense (Clyde Christensen isn’t gone, though. He’s quarterbacks coach now). Greg Manusky, who in 2011 was the San Diego Chargers’ defensive coordinator, now has that position here.

Any other offseason, these would be HUGE stories that would command their own blog posts. But this offseason? We hardly have heard a peep from or about any of these guys. There’s only one story surrounding the Indianapolis Colts right now: the very public dilemma between Peyton Manning and owner Jim Irsay that eventually will lead to the four-time MVP’s exit from town.

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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 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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What a Turn of Events for Indianapolis Colts

The only post-NFL lockout hangup for the Indianapolis Colts seemed to be signing quarterback Peyton Manning to that record deal owner Jim Irsay promised him before the league shut down.

Now the 132-day work stoppage is over, and Manning’s new contract didn’t break any records on the whole — at his request.

Manning and the Colts agreed to terms Saturday on a five-year, $90 million deal that averages out the same as the contract of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And Indy is already benefiting.

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Lockout Threat Leaves Indianapolis Colts’ Agenda in Limbo

Well, it hasn’t happened yet.

The extension of the NFL collective bargaining agreement’s expiration deadline by one day Thursday and then by seven days Friday has had the football world — including the Indianapolis Colts organization and fan base — holding its collective breath.

However, if and when the CBA does expire — I’m still inclined to believe it will — Jim Irsay’s and Bill Polian’s offseason agenda will be set to the side with significant issues yet to be resolved.

And I’d assume those issues are far more numerous than Indy’s brass would prefer them to be.

By Drew Allen

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Bob Sanders’ Legacy with Indianapolis Colts

I now have had a few days to think about how Bob Sanders, who on Friday was released by the Indianapolis Colts after seven seasons with the team, will be remembered by those invested in the Indianapolis-based franchise.

The safety had numerous moments of brilliance during those seven years, including a dynamic run to victory in Super Bowl XLI and being named the Associated Press’ Defensive Player of the Year for the 2007 season.

Unfortunately for Sanders and the Colts, however, those brilliant moments were few and far between.

By Drew Allen

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Franchise Tag Best for Both Peyton Manning and Indianapolis Colts

It’s quite fitting that the Indianapolis Colts have designated quarterback Peyton Manning as their “franchise player” by applying the franchise tag on the four-time NFL MVP.

The Colts tagged Manning earlier this week with an “exclusive” label, ensuring that the Super Bowl XLI MVP would not become a free agent (whenever free agency begins).

Under the franchise tag, a player is ensured a one-year contract worth the average of the top five salaries at his respective position or 120 percent of the player’s salary the previous season. Since Manning earned more than the average the top five highest-paid quarterbacks in the league, he’ll receive the latter option, which will approximate to $23 million.

By Drew Allen

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