If Peyton Manning’s neck injury prevents him from starting in the Colts’ regular season opener in Houston, his team will be in serious trouble.
The organization took a precautionary measure yesterday, signing 38-year-old journeyman QB Kerry Collins in case Manning is not cleared to play. And the high-powered Colts offense is loaded with weapons, so it'll do just fine with a new quarterback stepping in to fill the void, right?
It’s impossible to replace the future Hall of Fame quarterback who recently tied Brett Favre’s record for most Pro Bowl selections for a QB (11). The 4,700 passing yards that Manning accumulated last year in leading his team to the postseason is a feat few can accomplish.
Indianapolis’ offense is extremely pass-heavy, and ranked No. 2 in pass attempts per game (41.5) last season. Collins was sitting on his recliner at home watching preseason football before Colts GM Bill Polian reached out to him.
How will he be ready to play a tough divisional game in just two weeks?
Last season as a member of the Titans, Collins started seven games, completing 160 of 278 passes for 1,823 yards. He did toss 14 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions, though, making smart decisions with the football. But he's not mobile and must be able to sit in the pocket and throw.
Colts WR Reggie Wayne is not on board with him starting under center, as he told the USA Today this morning. “For him to come in here and be the starter, I don't see it. I think that's a step back,” Wayne told reporters.
As if two weeks to prepare for a regular season game isn’t enough, Collins may have to worry about the pass protection in front of him. The Colts are currently shifting players around on the offensive line.
The team that will be playing the Packers will have four players on the line playing new positions from those of last season. Expect some missed blocks and communication errors until the unit has time to jell.
In short, replacing the all-time Colts franchise leader in career wins, career passing yards, pass attempts, pass completions and passing touchdowns is impossible.
Collins will not produce at the level Manning did, and Colts fans will have to hold their breath and hope he can be a capable backup—putting them in position to win games until No. 18 returns.
There is no replacement for Peyton Manning.