Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star thinks Peyton Manning has several reasons to want to leave Indianapolis: the roster, the coaching staff, and in Kravitz’ words, a “growing schism” between Manning and the Polians due to leaks by the organization.
I do not follow this team every day, but the only evidence offered in this piece of a schism between Manning and the Polians comes from a question by Kravitz himself about drafting a quarterback. Manning denied ever having such a conversation, and then may have seemed annoyed by it.
So, let me get this straight, because this is how I read it:
- Bob Kravitz asks a question of Peyton Manning while saying that Bill Polian recently asserted that he had talked with Manning about drafting a quarterback, and that Manning was okay with that.
- Manning says that they have not had that conversation, and their conversations are private.
- Manning says “maybe a couple of years ago, he would say, ‘Eventually we are going to draft your replacement.'”
- Kravitz then adds that this “recent” appearance was by Polian back on September 12th, the day after the season began, and Polian said “Peyton and I did talk when we did this last contract (in August) about the fact that the time is approaching when it’s time to take a look at quarterbacks and to evaluate them.”
Seems Polian and Manning are being consistent, and the issue is with Kravitz. “Recently” is a subjective term; everything’s pretty recent in the overall scheme. Polian has done 12 radio shows since then, and the conversation was related to the offseason, before the Colts knew what their particular status, or Manning’s, would be. Kravitz’ question implied to Manning that there has been a recent discussion between Polian and Manning about drafting a quarterback (hint, hint, wink, wink, you know his name) with the Colts being so bad. Clearly, that did not happen. Manning and Polian’s story match up. The schism seems to me to be between Kravitz and a good, fairly-phrased question.
Now, as for the other issues raised in the article, why would Manning want to come back? I think that is a legitimate question, even if Manning would never let on even if he had private reservations. This team is 0-12. He masked a lot of wounds, and the roster isn’t going to be what it was from 2005-2008. If Manning can take this same group and make them into wildcard contenders, couldn’t he take a team with a bad quarterback who is playing (relatively) better and make them a Super Bowl contender?
Kansas City just won at Chicago with Tyler Palko, a week after going toe to toe with Pittsburgh despite Palko turnovers. Miami has a positive point differential and could be 9-3 instead of 4-8 with better red zone execution and better QB play in late-game situations earlier this season. Seattle is at 5-7 with Tarvaris Jackson. Washington has been hampered by the quarterback play, and has a good defense. Heck, you could probably do this with just about any roster, and Manning’s chances of making the playoffs would be at least as good anywhere else.
It’s not that Manning can’t improve the Colts back to respectability if he is healthy; it’s whether he can take other rosters and have a better chance.
So the issues of player loyalty vs deciding to move on could come up. Manning may not want to mentor Andrew Luck, and may prefer they use the pick on something that helps him win. Those are legitimate things that may come up. A schism between Manning and Polian over having to answer questions that imply things are bad between the two, though, isn’t one of the reasons.
[photo via Getty]