Peyton Manning is expected to start Week One.
While people still try and drum up fear regarding the prospect of Peyton Manning not starting Week One, let's just lay the cards down and call it like it is. The basic bottom line is we expect Peyton Manning to start Week One. That is what we fans were promised, and it seems things are on schedule for that to happen. So, writing articles that signal alarm bells now is premature.
We've heard from day one that this is a 4-6 week procedure. Next week, on August 26th, it will be 6 weeks since Peyton's routine surgery. Based on what we were told by Bill Polian himself (and just to make things clear, I'll re-post his words):
The procedure was routine. The Colts’ medical staff expects a full and complete return to action in four to six weeks.
So, next week, on Tuesday, Peyton Manning better be out there, in full pads, throwing the football and getting ready to play a little bit against the final pre-season opponent. We've been told repeatedly that there have been no setbacks. Even today, on NFL Radio, Polian said the same old "Peyton is fine; he's on schedule; blah, blah, blah." So, again, based on what Bill is telling us, we should expect to see Peyton next week.
But... if we don't, then Bill Polian has been lying to our faces for weeks, and lying to fans about their franchise player is not an advisable PR move, Bill.
If Peyton Manning cannot play, or practice, next week, then that also means that the Colts need to fire their horrid friggin medical staff. If Peyton cannot play against the last pre-season opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, then that means a 4-6 week recovery is suddenly a 7 week recovery. And if (and Bill Polian damn well better pray this is not even a remote possibility) Peyton Manning cannot practice or play Week One against the Chicago Bears, a 4-6 week recovery (with no setbacks and everything is going fine and blah, blah, blah) would become an 8-9 week recovery.
And that is totally unacceptable.
We Colts fans did not pay $720 million dollars in public funds to build a brand new stadium that will get opened on Sunday Night Football by Jim Friggin Sorgi.
Make no mistake, Peyton Manning MUST start against the Bears. I totally disagree with AOL Fanhouse's take on Week One, because (per usual) they are clueless over there:
On the other hand, you can't rush Manning back to return a week early and jeopardize a setback against such a hard-hitting defense. A Brian Urlacher hit in the wrong place on Peyton's knee would ruin the Colts' season ... and they might be able to beat the Bears without Manning anyway.
Sorry, but no. The Colts have a murderous schedule in 2008. Not only is the division the toughest in football, but they play road games at San Diego and Cleveland. They also have their annual Patriots war, this year at home. There are very few "easy" games, and the Bears are as easy as it gets. Not to insult Chicago, but it doesn't take much to see that the Bears are awful. They need to be though because they are indeed re-building. Nothing wrong with that. Kyle Orton is now their starting QB, making Devin Hester completely useless as a WR (if he wasn't already). Rookie OT Chris Williams is out, leaving them without their first round draft pick and opening a huge hole in their o-line. In pre-season, their QBs are getting killed and their RBs can't gain any yards.
You do not give a team like this life by turning the team over to Jim "can't throw the deep ball" Sorgi.
The Bears have to be pummeled and destroyed early, breaking their will and spirit. The Colts should utterly throttle them, not because the Bears are poorly coached (they aren't) or because they don't have talent (they do). The Colts are just better, in almost every way you shake it. However, add Jim Sorgi into the mix and you can potentially screw up a game the Colts absolutely must win. You don't begin the "road to the Super Bowl" losing at home to the friggin' Bears.
Bottom line, if Peyton Manning cannot play Week One, I'll want someone fired, preferably the medical staff. I'll then want the Colts to muzzle Bill Polian. He is either lying to our faces by telling us Peyton would be back by August 25th, or his medical staff is feeding him bad info. The Colts have a HORRIBLE track record when reporting and dealing with injuries. If they screw this one up, the fans will never believe or trust them again when they issue an injury report. Again, I expect Peyton Manning to play in the last pre-season game. I expect him to start Week One against the Bears to open Lucas Oil Stadium.
If he doesn't, I'll want heads to roll!