Peyton Manning has started every single game since his rookie season in 1998. Not missing a single start as he accumulated wins over the years.
Because of this, the front office for the Indianapolis Colts did not have to get too creative with fielding a team. Build the team around Manning and his skills set and let him go to work.
Even the coaching staff adopted this philosophy. They drew up the different plays and the game plans, but both were tentative due to Manning's ability to exploit defenses by audibling at the line of scrimmage.
Everything in the entire organization had been centered around their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback.
There's one big problem with that: injuries happen. The master of getting rid of the ball before you could touch him and the maestro at avoiding precarious plays that could result in injury got hurt.
Manning injured a part of his body that frequently does not have a set timetable for full recovery. Not only did he get hurt and need surgery, but it came at the worst possible time in his career due to the lockout.
Any other season, and the Colts probably would have Manning under center. The lockout prevented Manning from seeing the organization's medical staff on a daily basis and required him to seek outside consultation for his injury.
Not having access to his team's medical staff and facilities on a daily basis set him back after undergoing surgery. Being forced to fly across the country from his home to the different specialists takes its toll.
The lockout barred the Colts quarterback from receiving the desired treatment necessary in Indianapolis. Couple that with the organizational structure centered solely around Manning from top to bottom, and you have a franchise that has been left exposed with no viable secondary options whatsoever.