Found December 02, 2011 on The Sports Rocker:
Part V in our continuing coverage of Andrew Luck's entry into the NFL finds the Indianapolis Colts right on track: 0-11 after this past weekend's loss to the Carolina Panthers. With games at New England and at Baltimore next up on the docket, the Colts are expected to reach 0-13 with ease.

So how are they about to screw this whole Andrew Luck thing up?

At 0-13, the Colts would be unable to win more than three games. This would leave them with competition for the first pick from only: Minnesota (2-9), Carolina (3-8), St. Louis (2-9), and Miami (3-8). One of these four (especially Minnesota or St. Louis) would need to go winless the remainder of the season while the Colts win their final three games to keep Indy from receiving the first pick in the draft, a pick they would likely use on Andrew Luck to shore up their problem at QB.

So the only legitimate way they could win their final three games (no offense, Painter and Orlovsky) would be if Peyton could come back to play this season. Right on cue, Peyton Manning to increase workouts:
One day after Manning's latest monthly checkup, Dr. Robert Watkins gave the winless Indianapolis Colts and their franchise quarterback some good news in this miserable season: The four-time league MVP is healing.
Surely that doesn't mean Peyton will play this year, right?
The Colts would like to see Manning practice at some point before the end of the season, since the Colts have to decide by late February 2012 whether to pay him a $28 million option bonus in late February.  Absent firm knowledge that he’ll be able to play in 2012 and unless Manning agrees to delay the due date for the payment, the Colts may have to cut him.
So the Colts are in a bind. By February they need to see Peyton play to make a decision on his bonus. But there's no chance of the post-season experience this year and unless they want to evaluate him on practice reps alone, the only chance to see him play at game speed would be during the final few weeks of the season. Except, what happens if he wins those games?

One, winning those games increases the chance they lose the number one overall pick (and hence a shot at Luck). Two, winning those games also would leave the Colts organization with a decision: why draft Luck if Manning can still play? Also how would you afford both Manning's salary and the salary that a number one pick would demand? Also, how do you test out that new QB if he's sitting behind Manning on the depth chart?

Had Peyton decided to go on IR and not play a single down this season, the decision for the Colts would be easy. Similarly had Peyton come back weeks ago, the Colts would have had more time to evaluate his recovery. But at this point in the season, nearing the inglorious honor of an 0-16 record and as outlandish as it may sound, the Colts may actually be better off cutting ties with Manning, recovery or not.

I've said this in previous Sweepstakes, just years removed from a near perfect season and Superbowl title, to cut Peyton sounds unthinkable. But, as much as it pains me to say, continuing to lose may be Indy's best shot at winning in the future.

In the Training Room: Manning News Encouraging

In a statement released by the Colts, Peyton Manning’s neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Watkins reports: X-ray and CT examination of the surgical area shows that the fusion performed in September has achieved firm fixation. Peyton will now be allowed to increase the intensity and breadth of his workouts as tolerated. There remains every indication that his [...]

Manning's doctor says fusion has healed firmly

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Peyton Manning will increase the intensity of his workouts though he has not yet been cleared to practice, a doctor says.In a statement released by the Colts on Thursday night, Dr. Robert Watkins says the fusion performed on Manning's neck has achieved "firm fixation."When Manning last spoke ...

Colts' Manning hopes to start throwing soon

Peyton Manning hopes to be throwing footballs again soon.

Trade Or Release: The Peyton Manning Question Looms Ever Nearer

As the Colts hurtle towards the worst season in NFL history (yep, even worse than the 2008 Lions), the presence of Andrew Luck on their roster grows increasingly inevitable. Peyton Manning’s neck injury this offseason has exposed the flimsy cardboard house the Colts constructed for him the past few years. He’s not coming back. It doesn’t make sense for the Colts (who...

Peyton Manning hopes to start throwing soon

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Peyton Manning hopes to be throwing footballs again soon.

Peyton Manning moves to “next phase” of rehab, with no timetable for a return

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is moving closer to a return to the field after surgery to fuse two bones in his neck, his third neck procedure in less than two years. When Manning will be able to play remains unknown. “X-ray and CT examination of the surgical area shows that the fusion performed in September…

Patriots-Colts Lacking The Usual Rivalry Fire

Without Peyton Manning in the mix, this annual meeting of storied franchises figures to be a lopsided affair this time around.

Manning's doctor says fusion has healed firmly

Peyton Manning will increase the intensity of his workouts though he has not yet been cleared to practice, a doctor says.

Colts not certain when Manning will practice

Indianapolis— Colts coach Jim Caldwell says Peyton Manning will increase his work at the team complex, but the team is uncertain when the four-time league MVP might return to practice.

Peyton says he hasn’t thought about reworking his contract

Peyton Manning’s media comments immediately will be gleaned for clues about his immediate future.  Specifically, if and when he’ll be able to practice and play. But the Colts face a big decision in late February; namely, whether to pay Peyton another $28 million, in the form of an option bonus.  The only way to avoid…

Patriots Defeat Colts 31-24

Gronk walks off with what he thought was a record-breaking football. Photo by APThe game didn’t have the luster it usually has with Peyton Manning on the sidelines, but that doesn’t make the win any less meaningful. The Patriots improve to 9-3, keeping pace with the Steelers and the Texans in the battle for the #1 seed in the playoffs,  and the Colts remain winless on the season...

The Matt Cassel Patriots vs. the Peyton Manning Colts This one...

The Matt Cassel Patriots vs. the Peyton Manning Colts This one should’ve gone to overtime.

Colts Friday Six-Pack

Unfortunately it's not another classic matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but the Patriots will still host the 0-11 Colts Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

Patriots Pressure Points: Before the Snap 12/4/11

Foxborough, MA – Another game, another backup QB. The Patriots take on the Indianapolis Colts in what has gone from the big annual epic battle of two NFL powerhouses to a lackluster matchup of epic proportions. What the hell happened to the Colts other than Peyton Manning's neck injury? In all fairness, let's try to take a step back and remember that the Colts...
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