Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Aug 2011

Colts Sign Kerry Collins; Manning Out Week 1?

Jim Irsay announced on his Twitter account that the Colts have come to terms with almost-retired quarterback Kerry Collins. ESPN's Chris Mortensen is now reporting that Indianapolis does not expect to have Peyton Manning available for the start of the season. If that comes to pass against Houston in Week 1, the Colts will be starting someone other than Manning at quarterback for the first time since the 1997 season.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 24 Aug 2011

59 comments, Last at 02 Jan 2012, 2:55am by lidged


by Monkey Business (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 11:46am


by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 11:51am

Wow. Just wow. Is Collins really the best they could do? Or did he agree to comeback for the minimum, the only amount the Colts could pay anybody, as they just gave that contract to Manning?

by Harrison Bergeron (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:54pm

Who is out there that would be any better, at any price? I can't think of any free agents who have starting experience, aren't retired (Pennington), and aren't terrible (Delhomme, Frye). At least Collins has been in every possible NFL offense during his career, so he should be able to pick up the Colts' scheme quickly.

by Scott P. (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 2:17pm

Billy Volek deserves a chance to start.

by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 3:12pm

What's the difference between Pennington and Collins? I thought both claimed to be done for this year (technically, I think Pennington said that he wasn't going to play this year but was coming back next year when his shoulder healed up a bit) and neither is actually the ideal fit. When I posted that, I was thinking there might not be any other options, I meant it to be a question of who else was there to sign.

On another note, Jeff George couldn't find his computer quick enough to tell Irsay via Twitter that he was available.

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 3:24pm

Collins has two functional arms.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 4:55am

No-one thought it was worth giving Jamarcus Russell a call then?

by MCS :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 9:01am


by zlionsfan :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:55pm

Collins is the best player who would be willing to be both a) the starter if Manning is out and b) practically inactive when Manning comes back, unless the Colts clinch home field and rest their starters late in the season.

Most quality QBs like a) but aren't keen on b). Most QBs who could manage b) are not guys the Colts want for a).

by LioninAZ (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 2:35pm

At least it wasn't Todd Collins!

by jonny :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 11:52am

On the plus side, at least we won't be starting Painter or Orlovsky on opening day...

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 11:53am

Wow. I would not have predicted this one.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 11:54am

Oh, good, now we can expect another round of "Does Kerry Collins belong in the HOF" talk when he again retires.


by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:19pm

Only if you're talking about the College Football Hall of Fame. Definitely not the pro one.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 3:30pm

That is unless he transitions into a coaching gig and earns it that way, but I doubt that happens. I think he probably has the credentials for it, but I've not heard that he has any inclination that way, and the alcoholism would probably make it a tough hire.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:38pm

I really think he has earned enough over the last 16 years that he won't need the ticket booth gig when he is done playing.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 5:27am

This is seriously a subject that people discuss? Who? Where? Why?

by Aloysius Mephis... :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:00pm

Wow. Considering the injuries he's played through in the past, he must be in terrible shape.

by nat :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:01pm

I don't get the "short-changed a little bit by the lockout" concept at all. The lockout didn't affect when the surgery was done, and if anything, it let Manning focus more completely on his physical rehab because he (like every other QB) had no practices or even meetings with his team.

I suppose he could mean that he hoped the season would start late, and was "short-changed" when the lockout didn't last longer. A delayed and shortened season would certainly help the Colts this year.

Anybody have ideas on what "short-changed" means in this case?

by Sergio :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:12pm

He has commented about not having the Colts medical staff available.

FWIW, I have no doubt Manning will start come week 1. Collins is just insurance.

-- Go Phins!

by nat :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:31pm

That makes some sense. I would have expected him to have arranged an alternative when the lockout started (he must have) but I can see that the team would have equipment - and more importantly familiarity with Manning - that he couldn't get elsewhere on short notice.

Here's hoping for a speedy rehab.

by Independent George :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:51pm

I have a lot of trouble believing Manning doesn't have the resources to find a qualified replacement, or that there wasn't a mile-long line of trainers/physical therapists eager to put 'Peyton Manning's personal trainer' on their resumes.

by nat :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 2:33pm

Qualified, certainly. But there's a comfort factor, too. Just because Manning is a great QB doesn't mean he's an easy patient. For all we know he's a diva when it comes to his medical team, and wants only the guys he knows. It's not as if he doesn't have a history of being demanding and/or critical of people he works with.

Dammit, Doctor!

by Independent George :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 11:32am

Good point. I can see him scheduling an MRI, then checking down to an X-Ray, then, not liking the new symptoms he spotted, calls for a cat scan at the last minute.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 4:13pm

Aaaaaaaaaaand . . . you win the thread.

by Anonymous221 (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:16pm

he couldn't meet with his trainer who he has rehabbed with many times before

by Theo :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:49pm

Couldn't he have privately hired him?

by tuluse :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:51pm

If the Colts trainer didn't want his day job anymore. Remember, team employees were banned from contacting/interacting with locked-out players.

by dfinberg :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 3:18pm

The better question is why didn't the colts layoff the trainer, give him a severance to cover 6 months, and wink-wink-nudge-nudge why don't you go check on Peyton in your free time? Oh, and look, here's a plane ticket and hotel reservation in your layoff packet.

by IAmJoe (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 2:02pm

Players didn't have medical coverage during the lockout either, I thought. There was a big deal about the players trying to get medical coverage to be kept for the players during the lockout, and the league said "fuck that". And many predictions were subsequently made about the kind of care that players would (or more likely, wouldn't) get during the lockout, especially guys doing heavy rehab or whatever.

by Rocco :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 2:19pm

I imagine Peyton could have found the money for some sort of medical insurance during the lockout.

by IAmJoe (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 4:59pm

Maybe this is stupid, but I think its somewhat silly to instantly dismiss that no player would feel the same, but... If I were in that position, of knowing that right now I was getting dicked over out of my health insurance because of the lockout situation, and knew that I would eventually get that health insurance back in a few months, and that no matter what I was going to get paid a hell of a lot in the end, I'd probably say "fuck it" and wait until my employer was finally ready to foot the bill for my surgery too. Surgery and rehab are not inexpensive things, especially if you're getting the best of the best. Not that Manning couldn't afford it if he had to, but in that situation, I don't think its that unreasonable to sit on it for a bit so that your employer pays it instead of you. Especially if you may not have been particularly happy with your employer in the first place.

by tuluse :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 5:16pm

Reason #319 why you're not Peyton Manning.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 5:32am

Indeed. I'm sure there are indeed players who would do this. Albert Haynesworth, for example. But Peyton Manning? Give me a break.

No, really. Please. A break from Peyton Manning and my team's 2-16 all time record against him would be awesome.

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 6:53pm

When you make $20M a year, surgery and rehab most certainly are inexpensive things.

by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 12:43pm

My guess is, and the wish of all Colts fan, is that he will start, play a series or two, and see how he feels. If his line is getting hit beat up and he cannot take the sustained pressure, he will step out. I doubt he will try to do anything more than simple hand-offs and short/intermediate passes, which will just make their offense a 2010-Rams offense.

As he heals, they might put back in the stretch plays and play actions, but I doubt he bombs anything for a while. Look to week 4-5 to see the Colts stretch the field on a surprise bomb after keeping the offense fairly rolled-up while he continues to heal.

I really doubt any team would sign Kerry Collins to start any significant amount of time, so he is, as others have said, veteran insurance against a long-standing injury for Peyton. What worries me, however, is the fact that Dougie Orlovsky and Painter have been unable to generate any confidence in their coaches and offense; regardless of how much better K. Collins is over those two, that offense is going to be tough to watch until November if anybody but Peyton takes a snap.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 7:20pm

I hate to break it to you, but that was the 2010 Colts offense.

by Shaggylambda (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:13pm

The Colts are about to do what the San Antonio Spurs did in '96-'97. They are gonna start their back ups, win 2-3 games, get the #1 overall pick in the draft, and take Andrew Luck from Stanford. They are gonna tank 1 season and be good to great for then next decade. Being from Houston, that does not boad well beyond this year.

by Theo :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:55pm

That, or they start their starters, Manning plays from week 3 on, they win 10 games, make the play offs and get beaten by a team with a superior defense.

by Yaguar :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 3:38pm

The Colts are awful outside of Manning. The only way that the Colts can be a great team after Peyton Manning's retirement is if they draft someone as good at the QB position as Peyton Manning is. So far, in the history of mankind, there have been zero people who have fit that description. The Colts could tank fifty seasons in a row and not find a QB as good as Manning.

by tuluse :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 4:18pm

So Colts bombing for Luck then?

by Nathan :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:18pm

It was only a matter of time before his neck ceased to be able to hold up that forehead

by Ranccor (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 2:25pm


by justanothersteve :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 4:18pm

Gee. I guess Brett Favre really is retired. While I doubt he'd come back normally, the chance to prevent Peyton from breaking his consecutive games streak may have been enough to do it.

by WookieeBH (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 6:56pm

Is Favre going to bust out a bottle of champagne? Who's next on the list for most consecutive starts at QB?

by Anonymous222 (not verified) :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 7:04pm


by JasonK :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 7:06pm

Eli Manning.

by batbatt :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 6:57pm

You know, that was my first thought when I saw that the Colts picked up Collins. #4 must be retired...

by Marko :: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 6:54pm

That Texans pass defense sure will look improved in Week 1.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 5:37am

You would hope, but all the signs are that Kubiak is going to persist with Kareem Jackson opposite Joseph. You don't have to be Peyton Manning to follow a gameplan of "throw to whoever Kareem Jackson is covering". While there was one 2010 Titans quarterback who couldn't manage even that, it wasn't Kerry Collins.

by Theo :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 11:25am

I seriously doubt that a QB can get a hold of that offense in 3 weeks.
Reggie Wayne doesn't believe so.
Is Collins really a better option than Curtis Painter? My guess Collins is gonna be the backup.

by jacob (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 3:07pm

I'm reading that Collins is set to earn $4 Million this season. That's roughly eight times what Painter is set to earn this season. The unfortunate thing for Colts fans is that, if that's accurate, then it probably means the Front Office:

a) Thinks that Collins is a fairly substantial upgrade over Painter.
b) Collins is going to play this season (and not just in mop-up duty).

I hate to break it to Colts fans, but Peyton is 35 and coming off of consecutive off-season neck injuries. It's time to start thinking about getting a real backup -- and not just somebody to play a few quarters in week 17.

by Theo :: Fri, 08/26/2011 - 4:24pm

Agreed, seeing how hard it is to find a real replacement. Not that you're gonna find the new Manning, but I'd be nice to have a 'Steve Young' ready.
Kolb and McCoy where the young QBs who were closest around 0 DVOA.
So even having an average QB would be a starter for the Browns and Cardinals.
Good QBs are hard to find.

by Paul R :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 3:17pm

The Colts have been injury-plagued for a few seasons, the philosophy has always been "Next Man Up." I guess Coach Caldwell might have to modify that a bit now:

"All right guys, remember, we don't panic. We just go out there and do our jobs. If somebody gets hurt and can't play, we don't change a thing. We just say, 'next man up.' And the next man goes out there and does his job. We stick to the game plan. We don't panic. We don't change a--Oh,... Hi, Curtis!"

by bernie (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 3:44pm

Is it just me, or does the colts conditioning program seem to be less than awesome? Every year the Colts seem to have extensive injuries on both sides of the ball, with the only saving grace being they've had Manning to keep everything together while key players have been missing. Other teams suffer injuries too, but it doesn't seem like they get hit as deeply as Indy does. At some point, you have to think that the conditioning program / training methods have to play some factor here. I know bad luck is part of the game, but to have significant injuries year in year out to key personnel seems a bit much.
I mean to throw a few names from just the last 5 or so seasons who have missed significant time: Bob Sanders, Anthony Gonzalez, Marlin Jackson, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, Gary Brackett, Cliff Session, Melvin Bullitt, Jerraud Powers,Kelvin Hayden, Donald Brown, Joseph Addai, Ryan Lilja, Tyjaun Hagler - some pretty important pieces, in addition to a ton of role players who were faceless.

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 08/25/2011 - 6:57pm

You could put a list like that up for every team.

The colts are like the Redskins though, they've built their roster on the top-heavy side, so there's usually nobody with any talent at backup.

by MC2 :: Fri, 08/26/2011 - 3:00am

Most of the guys on that list are at least somewhat undersized relative to their positional counterparts (Manning is obviously an exception to that, which is probably one reason why he's been fairly injury-free). The Colts have always placed more emphasis on athleticism and intelligence, so they don't shy away from undersized players. In fact, sometimes they appear to seek them out. Having lots of injuries is one of the obvious downsides to such a philosophy.

by JDOE137 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/27/2011 - 6:50pm

Keep in mind the Colts are good at picking up smaller, faster players; especially on defense. Bob Sanders is probably the prime example (though he's a Charger now, of course). He's a difference-maker that throws his under-sized body around and invariably gets injured playing against guys that have significant weight advantages. Austin Collie would be another one at 6 foot, 200 lbs. Joseph Addai is well-rounded, but a bit undersized too. You get the point...

by lidged :: Mon, 01/02/2012 - 2:55am

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