The Colts seemingly blew the whistle on Peyton Manning’s health and signed 17-year veteran Kerry Collins today, to much surprise. Soon after the journeyman inked the deal, panic began to re-amplify among Colts fans. While this could be an obvious sign from the Front Office that Manning won’t be ready, I don’t think we should start forfeiting games and overreacting. Yet.
In a statement released by the organization, Collins provided that he will be ready if called upon.
“Ideally, you’d like to have a whole off-season, but everybody kind of faced it with the lockout,” Collins said. “There’s a solid two weeks before the first game. I’m confident I can get where I need to be to play, if I’m needed to play.”
Like Collins said, he will be ready if needed. Still, I have my doubts that Collins would waste his time to come out of retirement, just for a shot at warming the bench. I could be wrong here, but Collins thinks he has a legitimate shot to play and has been informed as so. And that’s perfectly fine. I’m not thrilled about Collins signing, but I surely have a lot more confidence going into the 2011 season. It’s weird to actually have a guy behind Manning, who has a QB rating above 10 and doesn’t run out the back of end zones. This guy is old, cranky, seasoned, and average, but he can win games. Manning has insisted that he is still diligently rehabbing and seems strangely positive that he can suit up and play on September 11th. Everyone knows that Manning will do whatever is in his power to be behind Jeff Saturday starting Week One. Not to continue chasing Favre’s record, but for the team, and because he’s ready. I still believe that he won’t miss a game. Regardless, if Manning isn’t available when opening day rolls around, we need to focus on what Collins can do for our team and how we react once Manning returns. For the sake of argument, Ben Roethlisberger served a four game suspension (reduced from five) last year, and the Steelers were forced to go with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch to fill their void. Dixon was highly inexperienced and Batch is, well Batch. The Steelers went 3 and 1 without Roethlisberger. 3 and 1. They also finished the season with another Super Bowl appearance. Despite what everyone may think, it can be done. I know Roethlisberger isn’t Manning and we don’t have the mighty Steelers defense to rely on, but we can win games without #18, if we must. I don’t care how close or how ugly, it’s possible. That’s the mentality that the Front Office is approaching this dilemma with. However, just because we can, doesn’t mean we will. Not only does Collins have to step up in a big way, but the defense has to pull its head from the clouds, and Jim Caldwell must not be Jim Caldwell. I know I’m asking for a lot (more like a miracle), but it has to get done. Manning deserves nothing less.