2012 Indianapolis Colts: The Beginning of a New Era

Bradley HallContributor IJanuary 12, 2012

2012 Indianapolis Colts: The Beginning of a New Era

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    At the beginning of this season, I predicted the downfall of this franchise to some degree.  Though just like everyone else, I never envisioned what really happened.  

    A once proud and dominating franchise was immediately brought to its knees and humbled.

    Many changes are afoot.  The Polians are gone with much speculation as to why.  Caldwell is still here with much speculation as to why.  And Ryan Grigson is here to save the day. 

    Here is the way I see some things going down in the near future.

Jim Caldwell: Will He Go or Will He Stay?

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    First, I expect the Colts will fire Caldwell very soon.

    During his live press conference last week announcing his decision to release Chris and Bill Polian, when asked about Caldwell, Irsay touted him as a good coach and a great man. He stated that the players had great respect for him. Still, momentum is a strange thing.  

    This team is broken.  Thirteen losses will do that.  Once doubt creeps into the locker room, it spreads like cancer.  

    Sometimes parting ways is the best for everyone.  A new philosophy can bring new hope and inspiration. The time is now for a complete overhaul.  

    Besides, the odds of destroying your fanbase lie in keeping Caldwell.  

    Go with a new coach and keep losing, fans will have room to forgive.  Stay with Caldwell and lose—this city will all but riot.

Where Will Jeff Fisher End Up?

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    I believe that Fisher is waiting to see what the Colts do with Caldwell.

    He's had ample time to make a decision between Miami and St. Louis.

    There is absolutely no reason for him to be dragging this out.  Unless he is waiting to see if the Colts are as interested in him and he is in them.  

    I wouldn't be surprised if this is our man in the end.

Deal or No Deal?

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    This is the biggie.

    This will be construed as blasphemy in my home town and is liable to lead to my disappearance and dismemberment (and not necessarily in that order!). 

    Everyday I become more and more convinced (and I said this at the beginning of the season) that we may have seen Manning in a Colts uniform for the last time.  

    There are too many suspect actions and too many rumors flying around.  Remember, for every statement there is an element of truth where it originated from (except for the Facebook rumors of Bon Jovi's death a few weeks ago).

    Manning cashed in.  He got paid.  He had to have known something was wrong.  Everyone had to have known.  

    This leads to our "Suck for Luck" conspiracy.  I don't know that I buy that whole thing, but I am willing to buy that there was way more going on here than Manning and Irsay are letting on.

    ESPN's Chris Mortensen has said that Irsay has made it clear that he will not trade Manning.  Irsay and Manning have a great relationship.  Irsay seems to be a very loyal and fair person.  Maybe it is medical? Maybe it is personal?  Maybe he wants to allow Manning to choose where he goes next?

    However, when we combine that statement with a new GM, the No. 1 draft pick and an enormous roster bonus looming if we keep Manning, it doesn't look good.

    Let's just say that I'm 60/40 that he won't be here next year.

Will the Colts Get Lucky?

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    Luck.  Oh, Andrew Luck.  

    Fans in Indy love this guy.  

    For eight games, they've been screaming for him.  Again, hence the "Suck for Luck" campaign.  Sorry, I'm not sold.

    Most fans here became fans after Manning (or to be fair, right before with the Jim Harbaugh heroics in the mid 90s.  Man, I loved that guy).

    Our experience with first-round draft pick quarterbacks in recent memory is pretty good.  I mean, just look at Manning.  

    He will arguably go down in history as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

    But for those of us who have been on this wagon since Day 1 (March 28, 1984), we remember Jeff George and Art Schlichter!

    But there are plenty of others, JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch, Todd Marinovich, Cade McNown, Akili Smith, Danny McGwire, Jim Druckenmiller, Patrick Ramsey and the list goes on and on and on. 

    The fact is that success, or lack thereof, doesn't guarantee anything in the NFL.  

    This guy, no matter his success, is still a long shot.  The experts are fairly knowledgeable but can still get it wrong.

    Isn't that right, Tebow?

Where Do We Go from Here?

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    In truth, unlike Kravitz, I don't have the answers.

    Like you, I just have questions.

    I'm not sure where to go from here.  Heck, maybe we should let Manning go, trade Luck away and fill the gaping holes that Manning's absence made glaringly obvious?  I don't know.  

    I do know that there is a lot of work to be done, and there are way too many forks in the road for quick results.  

    It could happen. We could be right back on top next year, but as much as I hate to say it, it looks like it's rebuilding time.

    The bright side—at 3-13, we have nowhere to go but up.