The Plight of Peyton Manning

There are a lot of things being said about Jim Irsay, owner of the Colts, and the Colts organization as a whole. Irsay has recently fired the architects of one of the most dominating franchises in NFL history, Bill Polian and his son Chris, as well as coach Jim Caldwell. Now everyone is wondering whether Peyton Manning will be the next piece of the puzzle to be shipped out of town. Irsay has never been known as one of those owners that gives coaches only a couple of seasons, but he seems to be cleaning house and desiring to rebuild the organization from the ground up. It’s hard to see Peyton in any uniform that’s not blue and white, but it wouldn’t be incredibly surprising if it happened.

That’s not saying it’d be a good idea. In fact, it would be a terrible idea. Whether the Colts decide to take Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, both young QBs have a lot to learn from one of the best, most consistent quarterbacks ever to play the game. Manning knows every defense there is, he is never surprised or confused by a blitz or coverage. Allowing a young QB to train under a master could be the difference between success in 3-4 years or 6-7 years.

Take Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers, for instance. Smith was the immediate starter in San Fransisco (and the #1 pick), while Rodgers trained under Brett Favre for 3 years. There was pressure on Alex Smith to perform immediately, learn defenses on the go, try to fight the criticism from the media (and surely from his own head) about his performances, how he was a bust, and so forth. Rodgers was not the #1 pick, so there was immediately less pressure on him, but it also helped that he could learn from Favre’s mistakes, instead of making them himself and hearing the same voices that Smith heard.

So here we are, 6 years later, Alex Smith is in the playoffs, and Aaron Rodgers is at home. What are we to make of this? Nobody would try to argue that Smith is a better quarterback that Rodgers, that is absurd. What is apparent, though, is that having a mentor yielded more immediate (and better) results that thrusting a young leader (QB) into a situation without a mentor. Rodgers showed he was special in his first starting season (actually people started talking when he replaced Favre in a 2007 game against the Cowboys) because he had time to learn and study in the shadows. Smith was thrown into the spotlight, given an array of coaches, lasted through many terrible games and seasons, and finally shut everyone up last week when he beat the Saints.

Whoever the Colts pick in this draft, be it Luck or Griffin, will be successful in the NFL. The only question Jim Irsay should ask is whether he wants the success to be immediate and for these guys to exceed their potential, or whether he wants a few years of really crappy seasons before these players grow into their potential.

For the sake of the young man that is picked #1 in the 2012 NFL Draft, I really hope the Colts keep Peyton Manning.

How do you feel about this whole situation?

Now for my picks:

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots– I really hate the Patriots. Everything inside of me wants to pick against them, except my brain, which knows that is a terrible idea. I don’t doubt that the Ravens can beat the Pats, I just don’t think they will. Patriots 38-20

New York Giants @ San Fransisco 49ers– This game is incredibly hard to pick. The Giants are the hotter team, although both had big wins last week. The 49ers are the better team, with a better defense and better special teams. The Giants make it hard to root for them with that repulsive attitude they have, just like the Patriots. I’m going to pick defense in this one, and call a 49ers win. San Fransisco 23-20

What are your picks for this weekend’s games?

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