Sometimes you have to shake things up. Sometimes you have to throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. I am going to throw a large mass of it now. I think that Peyton Manning should leave the AFC South and head to the NFC West.
No, I don’t have a fever and no, I am not fasting so I am not hallucinating. I am in control of my thoughts on this one.
First, and foremost, I think Indianapolis has been very good to Peyton Manning and he has responded in kind by producing prolific numbers, winning a Super Bowl, and putting the franchise on solid footing for years to come. The problem, in my humble opinion, doesn’t lie with the town or the division they play in, my concerns lie in the front office. Regardless, of what Peyton does on the field, the team’s overall problem is that it relies on Peyton way too much. That is understandable considering his brilliance in dissecting opposing defenses, but year after year, they continue to supply tools for him to use but they have yet to fundamentally change their offensive focus.
They need to run the ball. Not just more effectively so they can pass better, they need to fundamentally become a run first team and that will not happen as long as Peyton wears #18 in blue and white. I believe that they have wasted much of his years utilizing the pass first offense they run and using the running game to get the pass rush to ease up.
I know this sounds crazy but lets face it, Bill Polian is a great front office man but Bill Belichick is better. The Colts have had a great run in the AFC but have been denied multiple times by the Patriots because of their insistence on relying on the pass. The Patriots have always had the better team overall and were it not for the Colts having an incredible 3 quarters in the 2007 AFC Championship game, Manning would still be the greatest quarterback to never have won the big game. Don’t believe me? When Tom Brady got hurt two years ago, Matt Cassell came in (the same Matt Cassell who had not started a game since high school, yes, high school!) and the Patriots won ten games.
If Peyton were to be injured, the Colts wouldn’t win 4 games. Jim Sorghi sat behind Peyton for years and Sorghi struggled in the preseason and now Curtis Painter hopes and prays that Peyton doesn’t get injured for more than a quarter.
I think Peyton should change conferences and teams. In fact, I know exactly where he should go-San Francisco. I know sounds crazy doesn’t it? I don’t think so. The Niners have a solid young base of playmakers on both sides of the ball. They have one of the best cornerbacks in the league, arguably the best middle linebacker in the league, a great receiving corps, rising tight end, and a smash mouth running back. In last years draft they solidified their line for the future with two picks last year who turned out to be starters. The team needs to be coached up. Now they have a coach.
Jim Harbaugh likes the power offense and play action. Last year Andrew Luck had Toby Gerhart who came in second in the Heisman voting. Luck is going to be great but he is not Peyton Manning yet. Frank Gore is a good running back who suffered from the lack of a complementary passing game. The defense suffered because the offense couldn’t sustain drives and keep them off the field and as a result they couldn’t stop people in the fourth quarter.
They need Peyton Manning. He still has many years ahead of him, would flourish under Harbaugh’s focus on power run game, and he would play in a division where they could dominate for the next couple of years with Manning under center. Sam Bradford is young, the Cardinals have no quarterback, and the Seahawks’ are an enigma. The stars would align nicely for the Niners to have a nice run covering the five years of Harbaugh’s contract and Manning would finally have a back up worthy of being in a game and giving him some rest as well. Alex Smith is much maligned but has never had the consistent offense to be in nor has he head a top line quarterback coach and coordinator (minus one season with Norv Turner) to facilitate his growth. In this scenario, he would have two NFL quarterbacks coaching him up and at only 26 years old, Manning could play five or six more years and Smith would be only 30 or 31 years old.
To win a Super Bowl, a team has to get there and I don’t see a scenario in the near future where the Colts come out of the AFC again to go to the Super Bowl. The Patriots have gotten younger and are playing the best football in the NFL right now. The Ravens are not going away for awhile and the Steelers show up year after year and compete. If the Chargers ever get it together they will be in the mix and lets not forget the Jets, Chiefs and Dolphins who all have good foundations and have showed they can make a playoff run. With all these issues, I think it is going to be difficult for the Colts over the next few years to try and reach the Super Bowl unless they can radically change their approach and I don’t see that happening.
I think Peyton Manning should give Jim Harbaugh a call. If Coach Harbaugh doesn’t pick up, Manning can call Leslie Frazier or Ken Whisenhunt. I think both would take the call.