I know it really isn’t something to think about, but with the large number of “Manning to Jacksonville” pleas that have been occurring as of late, I’d like to take it team by team to address why Peyton Manning will definitely not be in the AFC South in 2012.
We’ll start with the obvious: The Indianapolis Colts don’t want Peyton Manning. Yes, this is a shocker for me too. False, it’s not. The Colts are in a transition period, they are moving past the Manning era and the post-Manning era has no room for Manning. Andrew Luck is the future. The past chapters are closed. Really, I don’t think I can say this is any more ways. It’s been the most talked about thing since it was revealed that Peyton wouldn’t be back to play at all during 2011.
The Houston Texans are the second least likely team in the AFC South to pursue Manning’s services. The Texans, the team I think should have had a Superbowl last year, have a superb quarterback in Matt Schaub and a very capable, young backup in T.J. Yates. They’ve shown they can win because their schemes fit their personnel and their revamped defense is able to hand with the best of them.
The Tennessee Titans are sitting rather pretty right now at quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck had a resurgence in 2011 and was able to help groom the quarterback of the future, Jake Locker. Look for Locker to be starting at some point in the 2012 season, if not on opening day. The Titans are happy with who they have behind center and there really hasn’t been much of an outcry from the Tennessee faithful to pursue Manning.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are more than happy with Blaine Gabbert. In fact they think that they’re set. Unfortunately, Gabbert was not able to sit behind a healthy David Garrard to learn how to play the position at the NFL level for a year. Instead he was thrust into the starting position, despite being the youngest quarterback in the league. Gabbert was mediocre and the passing offense was horrendous. Due to this, many Jaguars fans are hyped about the potential to land Manning. However, the Jags have played it safe in the past. They’ve settled in with their franchise quarterback, they are intent on acquiring offensive pieces to complement him, and they aren’t looking to realign their depth chart and undermine the confidence of their young quarterback in order to see if Peyton’s neck has two more years left in him. The impracticality of the move practically overwhelms the impressive stat sheet that Manning has.
There are two things to take away from realizing that Peyton won’t be playing in the AFC South: 1) Jacksonville will have another growing year with Blaine Gabbert, 2) The Jags won’t have to play Peyton Manning twice a year.
To me, those both look like positives.
– Luke N. Sims