Peyton Manning is entering his 11th season in the NFL and on the Indianapolis Colts. Manning has never missed a start in his NFL career, and he has only missed one play because of injury. Over his career, Peyton has put up some of the top numbers of the decade, broken multiple records, and won multiple awards. Manning has been to 8 Pro Bowls, has been All-Pro 6 times, MVP twice, and the Pro Bowl MVP and Super Bowl MVP once.
Peyton Manning is coming off of a great season when you look at whom he had. He was missing Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez for a large portion of the season, and Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, and Ben Utecht also missed games this year. Now, Peyton will have his full arsenal and is looking to lead the Colts offense back to the top of the NFL rankings.
Last year, the Colts had 4 losses with Peyton playing 4 quarters in three of them. Those three games were against teams who have a 3-4 defense. In those games, Peyton threw 9 interceptions and had a 63% completion percentage. This season, the Colts play four teams who have some sort of a 3-4 defense: The Browns, Steelers, Patriots, and Chargers. Last year, the Browns defense was inept, and they didn't do much to change that. The Steelers with Mike Tomlin are transitioning to a 4-3 Tampa 2 defense, but they still have players who were drafted and signed for the 3-4 defense. The Patriots defense is still old, but they did draft multiple defensive players. The Chargers defense did not change at all this offseason.
The Colts play 3 games against top 5 defenses (Steelers, Patriots, Chargers), 5 more games against defenses ranked 6-10 (Titans x2, Jaguars x2, Packers), 1 defense ranked 11-15 (Vikings), 1 ranked 16-20 (Bears), 5 against defenses ranked 21-25 (Texans x2, Browns, Ravens, Bengals), and 1 game against the league's worst defense (Lions). The Colts have a tough schedule, but the passing defenses for these teams are not as good, as only the Steelers, Patriots, and Titans have top 10 pass defenses. The Lions, Bengals, Vikings, Bears, Ravens, Browns, and Texans all have pass defenses ranked 20th or lower.
My Stat Prediction for Manning: 66.4% completion percentage, 35 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions, 17 sacks, 4305 passing yards, 104.5 passer Rating
Sorgi last year had a 68.3 passer rating in the Tennessee game. Previous to Sorgi coming in, Manning was tearing apart that defense. Sure, Sorgi was throwing to Devin Aromashodu and Craphonso Thorpe, but could he really keep this team in the playoff hunt if Manning got hurt? I didn't think so. The Colts are going to give Josh Betts and Adam Tafralis a chance, and they could try to sign or trade for someone else. Chris Simms could be a possible trade option. The only decent free agents left are Dante Culpepper and Kelly Holcomb. I think Sorgi will have to play very well this preseason to keep his job. Adam Tafralis could get the job, and Betts has as much experience in the system as Sorgi.
Betts has never played in a regular season NFL game. Not once. However, he has had that number 9 jersey since 2006, when he was first signed as an undrafted free agent and has been cut and signed to the practice squad twice. He has been a preseason player since he left Miami of Ohio, where he is second on the career list for pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. In the 2007 preseason, he had 3 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 356 passing yards, and a 60% completion percentage against the Cowboys, Bears, and Bengals.
Chance of Making Roster: 20%
Stats If He Does Make The Roster: 46% completion percentage, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 142 passing yards, 0 sacks, 60.6 passer rating
The Colts signed an undrafted free agent out of San Jose State, and he has a great chance of making the roster. Adam Tafralis had a great junior and senior year for the Spartans. Last year, he threw 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The year before that he threw 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Lack of competition is the obvious concern, but last year he played great against Kansas State, and the year before that he destroyed the Washington defense. Tafralis also has pretty good legs and ran for 405 yards in the past two years. Tafralis has a quick delivery, but his lack of height is a problem. I think he should be Peyton's backup for 2008.
Chance of Making Roster: 20%
Stats If He Does Make Roster: 60% completion percentage, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 180 yards, 74.3 passer rating
If I was Dungy, my QB roster would look like this
#18 Peyton Manning
#15 Adam Tafralis
#12 Jim Sorgi