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Welcome to the real world Colts fansPosted Tuesday, September 20, 2011, at 6:14 PM
Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning (18) is shown rolling out against the New York Jets at the end of the 2009 regular season. The Colts have started 0-2 as Manning recovers from neck surgery. (By B.J. Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
But these days it could be the words from the mouths of Colts fans.
I for one have always wondered in the back of my mind what would happen if Peyton Manning couldn't make a start for Indianapolis? Well, now we know.
Manning has been at the helm of the Colts since his first year in training camp and now that he's not at the helm, the ship has at the very least gone awry.
If you count the preseason -- and most people don't -- the Colts are a combined 1-5, with an outlook that doesn't seem to be favoring anything more than a chance at getting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in next year's college draft.
If you were ever in doubt of how well the Colts would be able to adapt to life without Manning, this year is giving you a little proof that Manning makes the team and not the other way around.
For many seasons and for many reasons known only to them, the Colts front office and coaching staff have both ignored the possibility that No. 18 isn't made of steel.
They have spent the majority of the past few seasons with their heads buried in the sand about the subject. They have yet to draft a quarterback worthy of at least consideration for a starting prospect -- and their track record in the past is disappointing to say the least.
Take this year for example, by the end of training camp there were a total of six quarterbacks including Manning on the Indianapolis roster.
They included Kerry Collins, Curt Painter, Dan Orlovsky, Nate Davis and Mike Hartline.
Now the roster includes Manning, Collins and Painter with Hartline on the practice roster.
Have you guys up there not learned anything? Have you not figured out that Peyton Manning won't be around forever? And have you forgotten what a mess the team was prior to the arrival of the savior from Tennessee?
To make matters more unbelievable, the Colts still list Manning as the No. 1 quarterback. Talk about not grasping the subject matter at hand.
I will be the first to agree that Kerry Collins is not the answer at quarterback -- and obviously the Colts don't think Painter is the answer or they would've handed the team to him without question until Manning's mythical return this year.
As I recall in the years prior to his arrival, the Colts were at or near the bottom of the standings for most of the years.
The one who came closest to finding success as a starter was the last regular, consistent and competent quarterback before Manning -- Jim Harbaugh who held the reins from 1994-97.
Other than "Capt. Comeback" the pretenders have numbered many and the successes few, which further questions the foresight of the organization.
Oh and let's not forget the other not-so-memorable men who have tried to fill the quarterback shoes in the last several seasons aside from Harbaugh, who is a personal favorite of mine (so you won't hear many disparaging words about No. 4).
It's a collection of stiffs, wannabes, never-wases and has-beens that have dotted the quarterback ledger of the Colts franchise since Bert Jones departed for greener pastures in Los Angeles following the 1981 season.
(As most of you might recall, Jones led the Colts to the playoffs in the 70's when they were still in Baltimore.)
There was Mike Pagel (1982-85), Kerwin Bell (1996, 97), Eugene Benhart (1990), Travis Brown (2004), Chris Chandler (1988, 89), Craig Erickson (1995), Joe Ferguson (1990), Bob Gagliano (1988), Jeff George (1990-93), Joe Hamilton (2004), Mark Herrman (1983-84, 90-92), Rusty Hilger (1990-91), Gary Hogeboom (1986-88), Kelly Holcomb (1996-2000), Brock Huard (2002-03), David Humm (1981-82), Wayne Johnson (1989), Paul Justin (1995-97), Blair Kiel (1986-87), Matt Kofler (1985), Ed Luther (1986), Don Maikowski (1993-94), Browning Nagle (1994), Terry Nugent (1987), Doug Nussmeier (1998), Mike Quinn (1998), Tom Ramsey (1989), Bill Ransdell (1988), Mark Reed (1983), Roderick Robinson (2001), Mark Rypien (2001), Sean Salisbury (1987), Cory Sauter (2002-03), Art Schlichter (1982, 84-85), Jim Sorgi (2004-09), Don Strock (1989), Jim Bob Taylor (1983), Gino Torretta (1997), Jack Trudeau (1986-93), Tom Tupa (1992), Ricky Turner (1988), Jay Venuto (1981) and let's not forget Steve Walsh (1999).
This list just breeds confidence in the organization's ability to find a quality starter to replace Manning, doesn't it?
In fairness, since I already mentioned the other guys on the roster, I left them off.
Let's just hope, as one of my colleagues suggested, that the Colts record is so lousy this year that they qualify for the first pick in the draft.
That means they could -- if they use their heads -- get a little "Lucky" when it comes to finding Manning's replacement.
Or, to paraphrase the song I referred to earlier in this column, instead of getting up and going to work to find a replacement for him, they can just get up and close the door.
Rick is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 20. He can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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