The Death of a Franchise
It's back to the drawing board in Indianapolis. Days after releasing Peyton Manning in the hopes that Andrew Luck is going to be the cities savior, the Colts announce the departures of Gary Brackett, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Melvin Bullitt, and Curtis Painter. The most disturbing news is they are listening to trade offers for Dwight Freeney as well.
I understand that nothing lasts forever and sometimes you have to move on, but this team did a horrible job of building and planning for life without Peyton. Jim Irsay, if we all remember, is the same guy that packed this team up in the middle of the night and brought them to Indy from Baltimore. He has no idea how to run a football organization. His best two moves were drafting Peyton Manning (which they almost didn't) and hiring Tony Dungy. Bill Polian played a huge part in both of those decisions, and now he is gone as well. This team has consistently gotten worse since Dungy retired. Yes, they made the Super Bowl the year after but that was Dungy's team. Very comparable to Barry Switzer in Dallas.
It appears that Irsay thinks getting the top overall pick means he gets to draft eight players. Losing Dallas Clark means Andrew Luck will have no target to check down to when he's running for his life next season. He will also be without the services of Reggie Wayne (who will likely follow Manning wherever he goes). So we're looking at Austin Collie, who is one concussion away from retirement, and possibly Pierre Garcon if they can hang on to him in free agency. Jacob Tamme is likely out the door as well, and their now starting running back Donald Brown only shows up two or three games a season. Not a very impressive starting line up.
So What's Next?
Let's face it, this is the equivalent of an expansion team. They have absolutely no franchise player to speak of, and the only person they've hung on to in free agency is Robert Mathis. Mathis was made the highest paid defensive end in league history at his age. This team is in total rebuilding mode due to the lack of knowledge from Irsay to maintain an organization at a professional level. You'll never see this happen from Robert Kraft in New England. They reload, not rebuild.
But that's where we find ourselves in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck is obviously going to be the new QB in town, but what can he bring us with no line, no weapons around him, and no defense? My guess is the same record as last season and another top pick in next year's draft. Chuck Pagano is a defensive guy from Baltimore so I suspect them to make this team look like a Ravens and Steelers team. He will build a defense first and bring in a bruising running back. The days of exciting offensive football in Indy are over. When and if this team ever gets competitive, it's going to be tough defense and ground and pound on offense. Unless they make some huge moves in free agency, that's not going to happen this year. The defense looks like Swiss cheese and they have no running game to speak of.
Speaking as a football fan and a Colts fan living in Indianapolis, I speak for most of the city when I say; "We miss you already Peyton! I'll be purchasing your jersey for whoever you play for and rooting for you to win wherever you go."