It’s puzzling why some major websites ran headlines and stories over the weekend that even hinted at the possibility of the Colts not activating Peyton Manning from the physically unable to perform list, thus committing to life without their four-time MVP quarterback for six weeks.
Maybe the genesis was head coach Jim Caldwell’s non-committal comments following Indy’s preseason loss to Green Bay Friday night. But no, that can’t possibly be it, because even though Caldwell’s response to the inevitable Manning question was a showcase in vague speech, he still expressed confidence. Caldwell said at the time that activating Manning is “a realistic possibility, and it could happen soon.”
By soon, he apparently meant Monday morning, as Indianapolis completed the most blatantly obvious move of the preseason by officially activating Manning earlier today. A statement on the team’s website said the move is a continuation of the rehab process from Manning’s offseason neck surgery, and that he’ll now begin practicing with the team on a limited basis in a scripted and very controlled environment.
While this very expected development is clearly positive news for Colts fans with visions of a prolonged Kerry Collins stint under center dancing in their nightmares, it’s merely the next step, and Manning’s Week 1 status isn’t solidified. The trickle-down effect of Manning’s return will eventually lead to an unemployment notice being delivered to one of the other three arms currently on the Colts’ QB depth chart, and our money is on Dan Orlovsky.
Will Brinson of CBS Sports tabs the recently unretired Collins as the castoff, either through a release or by his decision to fade back into his golden years. But with the uncertainty still hovering around Manning’s recovery, the Colts will likely talk Collins into hanging around for the same reason that he was given $4 million in guaranteed money last week.
Curtis Painter’s 51.4 completion percentage while working primarily with the first-team offense this August hasn’t inspired much confidence, but he has the advantage of being familiar with the Colts’ system after spending one season as Manning’s backup. Orlovsky’s 41.7 completion percentage is much worse, and Mike Harline, an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky, was waived yesterday.
That leaves Collins remaining as the most trustworthy pivot to spot start if Manning misses a game or two, and the best option to keep Indy from plunging into an early hole.