Friday, December 2, 2011

If Manning can play, the Colts should pass on Marty Domres / Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck
Recently Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star has written two separate columns where he argues that regardless of Manning's health, the Colts should cut ties with him and move forward with drafting Andrew Luck.  It is hard to know whether Bob believes this or not - after all, his job is to stir the pot a bit.  Either way, I couldn't disagree more.

His argument (bloodless as it is) hinges on the idea that drafting a future star quarterback and having him there to hold down the position for the next fifteen years is better than an uncertain two or three years with a presumably declining Manning.  He sites some teams that have failed to replace star quarterbacks for some decades after losing them.  

Well, thats all fine and good.

I see several flaws in his arguments: 

  • On Andrew Luck being a star quarterback at the professional level
This is far from certain.  The guy is having a terrific college career, but everyone knows that guarantees nothing at the NFL level.  Everything I hear about him is great.  But when I watch him I see a average NFL arm.  He looks like a more mobile version of Matt Ryan to me.  Is Matt Ryan worth the first pick in the draft?  I don't know.  But what if the guy is a bust?  It happens every year.

  • On Manning only having a few years left
Peyton Manning is thirty-five years old.  That is a average retirement age for a starting quarterback in the NFL.  However, Manning is not exactly average.  We have seen no drop off in his level of play.  If he is healthy I fully expect him to play for more than a couple of years.  I see no reason (health allowing) that he can't play through his early 40's.  Would you want to bet against him?  So, assuming Manning will be done at age 42 - would you want to trade seven years of Manning for a completely unknown quantity in Andrew Luck?  I wouldn't.

I do agree with Kravitz in that having Manning and Andrew Luck at the same time in untenable.  I want there to be no chance whatsoever of having the Aaron Rodgers / Brett Farve situation from Green Bay happening here.  Farve only retired the first time because he was getting pressure from management - they wanted to play with their new toy and Farve was in their way.  That would be heartbreaking if it happened here.

I'd like to think that Jim Irsay would not let it get to that.  This is not New England or Philadelphia where a bloodless intellect is bent on cutting bait when the actuarial tables say it's time.  We have more class than that.

Kravitz was not happy that the Colts passed up a chance for an undefeated season a couple of years ago.  Partly this was because (to him) the rare chance at a historical feat was worth the risk of losing a important player to injury.  To him, it was worth the risk for the historical significance of it.

The saddest chapter in Colts history
How is this different than Manning's situation?  This franchise already has dirty hands from the trading of forty year old John Unitas to the San Diego Chargers in 1973 in order to make room for the "can't miss" Marty Domres (who?).  That left a lingering bad taste in mouths of Colts fans for years; repeating that mistake with a younger and more viable Manning is just ridiculous.
History repeats itself?

This franchise will be wounded for YEARS if Manning is jettisoned in a cowardly attempt to take the "safe bet".  It would be a crime committed against the NFL and fans everywhere.

You might also want to check out What Peyton Manning is doing (and how to beat him)