Indianapolis Colts in Free Fall: 5 QBs Who Could Come To Indy's Rescue
All is not well in Indianapolis. Through three games, the Peyton Manning-less Colts are winless, their starting quarterback belongs in retirement and speculation abounds that Jeff George could be the franchise savior. Did I mention things are not looking better in Indianapolis?
In addition to the aforementioned George, here are five QBs who could come to Indy's rescue...for the right price.
Option No. 5: Mike Kafka
This may sound crazy, but hear me out.
The Eagles have a thing for stockpiling draft picks and developing young QBs. The Colts need a young QB who understands the NFL game and can develop behind an increasingly frail Peyton Manning. It may not be a match made in heaven, but marriages have been made to work with less.
At this point in his career, it would be fair to expect Kafka to manage an NFL game effectively, complete a large percentage of his short and medium throws and occasionally challenge a defense deep down field. With a solid offensive line, a veteran running back in Joseph Addai and the supremely talented Reggie Wayne already in place, everything in Indy is set for a QB like Kafka to have success.
The cost? Philadelphia would likely demand at least a second-round pick for Kafka, if they are willing to part with him at all. If the Colts were interested in including a young linebacker, like Kavell Conner, this deal would likely get done.
It may sound expensive, but Manning's health and career are both (increasingly) in doubt. Young QBs with solid fundamentals, good accuracy on high-percentage throws and who are coachable, don't exactly grow on trees.
Option No. 4: David Garrard
Yes, we all know David Garrard has publicly stated he does not want to be a stop-gap quarterback. If he goes back on his word, it would be the first time in recorded history that someone has done an about-face in the media.
At this point in his career (actually, at every point in his career), Garrard is little more than a stop-gap solution. He doesn't possess the football IQ, the physical tools or the intangibles to be more than a mediocre starter or a solid backup.
However, given Indy's current situation, Garrard could be the best thing for the team. He's capable of putting up solid numbers if he's given a solid running game (hello, Joseph Addai) and more than one threat in the passing game.
Don't expect Garrard to be this season's Michael Vick, but should he come to Indy, it isn't unreasonable to expect Garrard to post a rating in the mid-80s, a 60 percent completion percentage and a positive TD-to-INT ratio.
Option No. 3: Jeff George
Jeff George may not be the best option at QB for the Colts, but at this point, he's an option. That's how bad things are in Indy.
George does have a strong arm and is still in excellent shape. He's been around the NFL game long enough to know just about every offensive scheme there is.
More importantly, he's better than Curtis Painter.
Beyond those things, there really is no compelling reason to sign George. He's a 43-year-old QB who never delivered on the promise that made him the No.1 overall pick in 1990. He does possess a strong arm and quite a bit of veteran savvy, but no one is sure if he'll be able to handle the physical pounding that comes with being an NFL starting QB.
While George does stay in excellent shape and throw regularly, there is a big difference between no-contact throwing drills and standing in the pocket on any given Sunday. If NFL success could be predicted by throwing drills, George would already be in the Hall of Fame.
George, even at his best, is a mediocre starter who was the beneficiary of playing on some very good teams.
Option No. 2: Brett Favre
When all of the Favre drama is said and done, when all of the ballots for the NFL Hall of Fame have been cast and counted, when all of the writers and pundits and former players look back on the career of Brett Favre, they will say he was one of the best of his generation.
They will say that he was football's Cal Ripken Jr. They will say he was a warrior to the end, the last of the old gunslingers, a quarterback for the ages. And they will be right when they say it.
But as it stands right now, Favre is better off retired. He should have retired after his magical 2009 season with the Vikings. He should have walked away before the house of cards came crumbling down, before the sexting scandal, before the injuries piled up.
While I do believe that Favre can still be effective in the right NFL system, I still think it's best for everyone involved (including the Colts) to leave No. 4 alone.
Favre, at this point, comes with too much baggage. There are questions about his locker room presence. There are questions about his relationships with female reporters. There are questions about his arm and his willingness to adapt his game to new realities. These kind of questions are better left outside a locker room.
In the end, there are just too many questions and not enough answers to justify giving No. 4 a call.
Option No. 1: JaMarcus Russell
Yes, JaMarcus Russell struggled quite a bit during his first stint as an NFL QB. Yes, Russell's lack of a work ethic and alleged drug issues are cause for concern. Despite all of that, Russell remains the most talented option available. He's only 26-years-old, he's hit rock bottom (or at least come close) and sooner or later, someone is going to give him a second chance.
Simply put, Russell is a phenomenal talent. He's a rare combination of size, speed and arm strength. He's a man among boys at the QB position.
The Colts have the infrastructure in place to help someone like Russell. Colts owner Jim Irsay maintains close ties with former head coach Tony Dungy, the man that helped Mike Vick put his life back together. There is no reason to think that team president Bill Polian, head coach Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen can't devise a strategy to help Russell put his career back together again.
Russell has all of the talent in the world. He just needs to play in an environment where he can be molded into a legitimate NFL QB. In Indy, he'd have the benefit of Joseph Addai. He'd be able to throw to Reggie Wayne. He'd be protected by a solid, veteran offensive line.
JaMarcus Russell is the kind of player that will get a second chance. It's just a question of who will give it to him.