While this is not the nicest headline for a fanpost premier, this is the question I keep asking myself. This is not gonna be a rant about how stupid our FO has been or how bad our coaching was/is. In fact, names like "Polian" or "Caldwell" will not appear in the following text. It'll be about deficiencies and unsolved problems in our organization, and moreover, it'll emphasize the importance to retain Peyton Manning in some function.
The most accurate term to describe our beloved Colts is "rebuilding mode". Irsay fired close to anybody in key positions. With Ryan Grigson we got a new man to lead the organization back to glory- but his job is far from easy. He has never been in that position before, he's got one of the worst teams in pro football and nearly every coaching position is vacant. Just to mention a positive aspect, his boss is one of the elite owners and he knows how to build a successful franchise. In case you don't believe me, just look up the winning stats of the last decade.
The most important topic in my oppinion is the coaching staff. What do you do? Do you go for a young guy who worked as a position coach or coordinator on an other NFL team, do you go for a NCAA coach or do you look for an experienced coach who has already led NFL teams? Do you look for a defensive or offensive oriented guy? Do you hire a D-coordinator who probably employs a different scheme than our Tampa-2 and who might even install some sort of 3-4?
I think we need a guy who has some swagger and who is a true leader- and he needs to have an exact plan where to go with the team. The team has had a tough season and I guess confidence is a huge issue. He needs to get their minds right and he has to have the locker room right from the start. I doubt that a guy with little NFL experience or without head coaching experience can do that- but I'd love to be wrong in this point.
But all the talk about our future head coach distracts from the fact that we also need new coordinators as well as some position coaches along with a new strength and conditioning staff.
Regarding the D-coordinator my hopes are that we get a defense oriented head coach who brings along his own d-coordinator. Two guys who have worked together and know each other. Our defense simply lacks talent. The d-line is incosistent and chronically hurt. The secondary consists of Bethea, Powers and some guys with the value and football talent of picnic hampers. The big exception is our linebackers corps which provides stability for the defense and hope for a brighter future. With the probable loss of Freeney and/or Mathis we really need fresh, skilled players and a defensive mastermind as coach or coordinator. The bright side: with only a handful of players worth keeping in the long run, our head coach and coordinator-to-be will have the possibility to install whatever scheme he likes to run.
On the other side of the ball, things look much brighter. We have at least some sort of o-line- a luxury we didn't have for ages. This paired with Donald Browns breakout year, led to the resurgance of the Colts running game. Despite the probable loss of Wayne our receivers (Garcon and Collie) are not really "elite" but still provide enough punch for our QB. QB??? As for the moment, we don't have one. And that's exaclty the reason why we need to draft one. And now, we're hitting the Peyton Manning topic... finally.
Why would anyone let him go or drive him out of town? For cap space? No! For draft picks? No! Manning provides something that is far worthier than cap space or draft picks: Stability, Leadership and top offensive football IQ. If he's not healthy by March retain him as Assistant HC, O-coordinator or whatever. He created this offense. He knows how to get the unit going because he knows the strengths and weaknesses of every single player. And most importantly: he is invaluable for growing our new franchise QB. And if he turns out to be healthy: great! Cause then you got all that plus the best QB in football.
Without Manning, we would need a complete offensive overhaul. We would have to install a completely new offensive scheme. With him on the team, the necessary adaptations are minor. Another reason why trading Manning is plain stupid is that the team needs guidance. The Colts will likely lose many proven players due to contract issues. With a rookie QB, a rookie head coach, rookie coordinators, a rookie GM paired with pure lack of talent on the team, we need to retain guys who lead the team and who provide stability in the locker room. With all the probable free agent losses and Jeff Saturday, who is a huge team leader considering retirement, the team would be absolutely headless. This would make Indianapolis the worst place to go for a future franchise QB and, actually, for any rookie.
If you made it to this point without skipping anything you're either extremely bored or you need to talk to your doctor about serious obstipation.
Have a nice day