Indianapolis media personality Bob Kravitz wrote a story yesterday suggesting that Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts should sign free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He made numerous relevant statements about Kaepernick clearly being better than the vast majority of backup quarterbacks in the NFL, if not all, and that his on-field performance justifies his place on a professional football team.
There is no doubt in my mind that Kaepernick’s talents on a football field warrant an opportunity to play a meaningful role on an NFL roster. Also, I would agree with Kravitz that he is clearly better than every potential starter on the Colts current roster not named Luck — and that, at current, the future is murky on Luck’s recovery.
So why not sign him?
To save the Colts community from non-football arguments about off-the-field distractions, protests, anthems, socks, and the justifications or appropriateness of any of that, we’ll stick to on-the-field reasons. In fact, Kravitz acknowledges the on-the-field reasons in his story before summarily dismissing them as apparently... not relevant?
Sign him now, because Kaepernick’s presence would force the Colts’ offensive coaches to do what Jim Harbaugh did so brilliantly in San Francisco; namely, build a college-style offense around him. That takes time, but, then, the Colts still have plenty of time. If you bring in Kaepernick and ask him to run the same offense as Luck or Scott Tolzien or Stephen Morris, you’re doomed before you start. But show some creativity, give him the kind of offense that allows him to use his legs as well as his arm, and you could potentially have a quarterback who can win in this league while Luck recovers.
“No question, it would be a challenge for the coaches, regardless of any so-called baggage he might have,’’ said former NFL coach and current analyst Rick Venturi. “You’d have to re-shape your offense. But if you give him the kind of offense he had at [the University of] Nevada or in San Francisco, he’s shown he can be very productive.’’
This is a ridiculously difficult kind of adjustment to make to your offense. Take stock on what you currently have on the team. You have a rookie rusher in Marlon Mack, numerous second-year offensive linemen who are trying to learn a new system under coach Joe Philbin, a second-year wide receiver who might get significant reps in the passing game — in short there is a lot of youth that you’re trying to get ready to run the Colts offense that is now in its second year under Rob Chudzinski. Even more important is the one guy on the roster, oh yeah, Andrew Luck who will be returning from injury at some point, very likely this season and likely early this season, and rather than have every part of his offense clicking in their roles in the offense built for HIM you want to tear it down to build an offense built for Kaepernick?
Because that is a good idea?
No. It is a horrible idea.
Inviting Kaepernick to Indianapolis from a football perspective entirely upsets the offensive install the coaches have spent the summer drilling into players’ heads. You make these kinds of decisions when you’re burning things down and starting over. You make these kinds of decisions when you have Ryan Tannehill as an injury question-mark or Joe Flacco or any other quarterback situation that is potentially up in the air long-term — not short term.
What happens when Luck comes back?
In this fantasy world where you blow up the offense and create a whole new beast to suit the “college style” of Kaepernick, if you succeed and he does fantastic and the team is on a roll do you really want a controversy in the locker room, the front office, the fan base about sticking with what is working? I know it sounds ridiculous to think about but what if that was to happen? What would be gained by that?
Or, if more likely the offensive plastic surgery fails and the team looks awful because it is throwing together a whole new offensive scheme for a quarterback that admittedly doesn’t fit in its current one — now you’re left with the reality that signing Kaepernick gained you 0 wins and that your offense has been setback weeks due to this broad change with Luck returning to an absolute mess with young teammates asked to switch gears completely once again.
Keep all of the political and distraction arguments out of it. It does nothing but create its own distraction when you’re making decisions about which players to add to your team for competition or to get better. From a purely on-the-field perspective, adding Colin Kaepernick at quarterback in Indianapolis would be a bad football decision.
No other discussion is necessary for me.