Friday, May 9, 2008

A Look Forward to 2008: Quarterbacks

Quarterback. It's been a position of no need for the Colts since 1998. There haven't been QB races in training camp or injuries to worry about. Peyton Manning's backups are seen as often as Ryan Leaf or Jeff George. However, Peyton does not have more than 10 years left, and that is being generous. If there would be a problem with Peyton, who would step up? Well, here is a rundown of the quarterback position for the Indianapolis Colts.

Peyton Manning

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

Jim SorgiJim Sorgi has been the resident bench warmer for the Colts since 2004. However, his job is in jeopardy. The Colts are not happy about his performance last year in the Tennessee game. This year will be his first year in a while when his job is truly in jeopardy. As you can see by the picture above, he has even picked up a second job as a Maytag repairman just in case he gets cut.
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.
Chance of Keeping Job: 50%
Stats If He Does Keep Job: 53.3% completion percentage, 0 touchdown passes, 1 interception, 2 sacks, 102 passing yards, 46.8 passer rating

Josh Betts

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

Adam Tafralis

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

53 man
#18 Peyton Manning
#15 Adam Tafralis

Practice Squad
#12 Jim Sorgi

1 comment:

Shake'n'bake said...

Two things. Tomlin has said over and over that the Steelers aren't switching away from their 3-4. They don't seem to be changing the personnel to Tampa-2 type guys yet. The scenario that I've seen mentioned that makes the most sense is that Tolmin isn't going to change the defense until the 69 year old designer of the Steeler's zone blitz Dick LeBeau retires.

If it takes a few years for a guy like Reggie Wayne or Dallas Clark to learn the offense as receivers, I don't think a rookie will be ready to step in during his first season in the offense. I'd give Sorgi another year if they don't get a veteran like Simms and see how Tafralis progresses on the practice squad.