If you aren’t familiar with our Ex-Kicker’s Round Table, you can see their biographies here. The long story short is that here at Sports Blog Movement, we have retained this group of ex-Kickers as our own sporting version of the McLaughlin Group. With the NFL Draft approaching, we noticed that each member of our group just happens to be from a team who has some interesting choices to make when the draft rolls around in a few months.
As we said in the last installment of the Ex-Kicker’s Round Table, SBM’s moderator of this group lives in Indiana where the Colts are easily the biggest story of all in this draft. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the Colts dropped a bomb (albeit an expected one) on the draft/free agency market when they released Peyton Manning this past week. While that story has been seriously over-covered, what is not being said is how this move effects almost every other team in the league.
Team He Is Covering: Indianapolis Colts
What They Need: Pretty Much Everything
The Initial Assessment: The Colts have the first overall pick in the first round
Well, now it’s official. The Manning era in Indianapolis is over, Peyton and Jim Irsay had the tearful “we’re getting divorced but we will stay friends for the sake of the kids” press conference (that’s is until Irsay blurts out something stupid on his Twitter account), and there’s no denying the Colts are turning the page. The Colts have clearly committed to rebuilding now that linebacker Gary Brackett, tight end Dallas Clark, running back Joseph Addai, safety Melvin Bullitt, and quarterback Curtis Painter have all been given their walking papers. Rumors also have been floated that Dwight Freeney might be available for the right price. All of that activity means it is metaphysical certainty the Colts draft Andrew Luck.
It wouldn’t shock me if Jim Irsay called Luck’s agent right after he put Manning’s ass on a plane out of town. They are on the clock, they now have money, and there’s no way they go into the season with Kerry Collins (forgot about him, didn’t you?) and Dan Orlovsky as the only quarterbacks on the roster. Then it becomes a question of how do you a) put some weapons around that quarterback and b) keep that quarterback from becoming a grease-spot on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts are clearing cap room for some serious moves in the free-agent market, but their is still the question of which philosophy does the new regime employ?
As I’ve asked before, do the Colts employ a new philosophy in the post-Manning which includes a bigger emphasis on defense? Do they try to build a running game to help out their new franchise quarterback? Or do they decide to control the line of scrimmage on one or both sides of the ball? Also like I said before, the world will have to wait for April to know.
But let’s turn our attention back to Peyton Manning, because it is his presence in the free agent market that changes the plans for many teams. Several teams have been reported as entering into talks with Manning to employ his services this season. Our own Ali Haji-Shiekh finished his career with the Washington Redskins, who were one of the team rumored to be involved in the so-called “Manning Sweepstakes,” but the trade being reported between them and the Rams for the second-overall draft pick seems to take the Redskins out of the running. Ali, what can you tell us about the situation in Washington?
Ex-Kicker: Ali Haji-Shiekh
Team He Is Covering: New York Giants
What They Need: Running Back, Linebacker
The Initial Assessment: The Giants have the thirty-second overall pick in the first round
To be really honest with you, I never understood this “Manning to Washington” stuff in the first place. I get that the Redskins need a quarterback, but the Manning thing never fit for two big reasons. Number one, Manning isn’t hanging around to play for some sorry-ass team that is only going to be 5-11 at best. The Redskins have more gaping holes than a Nevada brothel, and even Peyton Manning isn’t a big enough prick to fill all of them.
Second of all, there’s no way Manning and Mike “Leather-Face” Shanahan could get along. Both of them would want to control the offense, and there could never be a big enough stadium to hold both those egos. More importantly, everbody seem to have forgotten that Shanahan already had a great quarterback he couldn’t win with. Don’t forget all those Bronco team with John Elway that Shanahan just couldn’t get over the hump. It wasn’t until they added a big-time runner in Terrell Davis that the Broncos system under Shanahan finally won. Do you see a Terrell Davis in that scrap-heap of a Redskin roster? I didn’t think so.
If they are smart (really, how much smarts can you expect from Dan Snyder and TWO Shanahans?) they take Robert Griffin III with the second pick and then do whatever they need to do to establish a running game and bolster the defense. That gives a young quarterback the best chance to succeed in spite of Mike Shanahan.
J-Dub: That raises a good question. Just what the hell is wrong with Shanahan’s face? I just bought a new television, and the first time I saw him on it, I messed around with the setting for 20 minutes before I realized he actually is the same color as an old-school leather basketball. Never mind, I’m not sure I really want to know. Anyway, Rick, this move by the Redskins means you might actually get the guy you think the Vikings should take in this draft.
Ex-Kicker: Rick Danmeier
Team He Is Covering: Minnesota Vikings
What They Need: Offensive Line, Defense in General
The Initial Assessment: The Vikings have the 3rd overall pick in the first-round
Like I said, as much as the Vikings need some big boys up front, there just ain’t another prize hog to take at this high of a pick, and if that Matt Kalil feller is still on the board at #3, the Vikings have to take him. If for some reason, one of them two quarterbacks is still there at Number 3, the Vikes’ already got their quarterback, so I reckon they either need to beef up to offensive line or the defense in general. to go with defensive players.
J-Dub: Donald, your Buccaneers don’t seem to be too affected by these latest development very much, do they?
Ex-Kicker: Donald Igwebuike
Team He Is Covering: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What They Need: More Weapons on Offense
The Initial Assessment: The Buccaneers have the fifth overall pick in the first round
You’re right, Hannibal, I don’t care about no fool Manning! All I care about in this draft is that we get either Justin Blackmon or Trent Richardson.
J-Dub: Efren, you are sort of in the same boat as Donald, but I still want to hear your thoughts on this…Efren? Efren? (shakes him violently) EFREN!!!
Ex-Kicker: Efren Herrera
Team He Is Covering: Dallas Cowboys
What They Need: Offensive Line, Quarterback, Defensive Secondary
The Initial Assessment: The Cowboys have the fourteenth overall pick in the first round
Mr. Herrera was unavailable for comment as this interview was conducted at 2 p.m., by which time he was already into his 39th Tecate of the day.
J-Dub: OK, Uwe…your Dolphins seems to be a front-runner to land Manning…
Ex-Kicker: Uwe von Schamann
Team He Is Covering: Miami Dolphins
What They Need: Quarterback, Running Back, Defensive Help
The Initial Assessment: The Dolphins have the eighth overall pick in the first round
While it is true Manning the accomplished field kommandatur, and to that extent he likes control. In Indianapolis, Manning was not only the quarterback, but he was also the de facto offensive coordinator and the Reichsmarshal over the Colts’ offense. New head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Sherman seem intent on building a Packer-like “West Coast” offense, a system very different than the one Manning ran in Indianapolis. This means no matter what, Manning is going to have to learn to run a different system, if for no other reason, he will have different people and a different culture around him. As much as that problem will exist everywhere, to get Manning to be a Dolphin will require us to make him believe he still the Reichsmarshal over the offense; he will go to whomever gives him that level of control.
While that may not be a concern for Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross, who cares more about Manning’s ability to sell tickets, it becomes an issue for general manager Jeff Ireland, and Philbin and Sherman, who will all have to make this new relationship work.
J-Dub: But the Dolphins also seem to be the most playoff-ready team that lack a quarterback, don’t you think?
Von Schamann: Perhaps one of many, maybe…but surely not the only one. We have a solid defense, a great offensive line, and a decent receiving corps; we really only lack a running back, even though we could use Reggie Bush in the same way the Colts used Joseph Addai. I don’t buy the Broncos as a suitor, they can’t put two stars in the same stable. Like it or not, Tebow is a star because he generates media attention, and that is the whole reason why we re having this discussion now. It would never work. The Jets just re-signed their quarterback…besides, could you ever see a marriage between that zeppelin Rex Ryan and Manning lasting? Nein…Manning will be a Dolphin. Besides, you know the league would love to have two Peyton/Brady match-ups per season.
Stay tuned to Sports Blog Movement as we approach draft day. The Ex-Kickers will be updating as events dictate!