For Colts to Win Multiple SBs, They Need to Be Less Like "2K Rams" and More Like "Cardiac Kids of 95"
From the moment Irsay let Future Hall of Famer and fan favorite Peyton Manning walk into free agency, the mercurial Colts team owner has had his sites on outdoing the accomplishments the team made with Manning under center. Irsay's been on record in saying that he felt the team should have won multiple championships during the Manning era, but failed to do so because of the way his team was structured. In placing 90% of the team's success squarely on the shoulder's of it's star QB the Colts won more games over a decade than most other franchises could only dream of. Although that approach seemed to work during the regular season, it all amounted to nothing in the playoffs as the Colts were consistently man-handled by teams like the Pats, Steelers, and Chargers. These three teams shared the same formula for success: "A stout defense, strong running game, and steady QB play. After Irsay made comments on how he expects the Colts to win at least two Superbowls with Luck under center you would think that the #1 priority going into this year's draft would be to address the teams biggest need: "The defense." That's why the selection of Phillip Dorsett was so surprising to most fans and sports personalities alike. Although the Dorsett pick may very well be "insurance" against the possible free agent departure of stud T.Y. Hilton, GM Ryan Grigson may regret choosing not to trust the available talent he already has on the roster who in the eyes of many feel could more than capably fill the hole that Hilton most assuredly would leave behind.
I've said before in conversations that when you have a top notch QB the caliber of an Andrew Luck, you don't have to surround him with "home run" players at every possible position. Players like Luck have the ability to make those around him better, especially when you have a scheme that can take advantage of it's opponents on game day. One of the best examples of this I like to use is the 2000 Ravens, one of the best defensive teams to ever step on the field. That team was able to win a Superbowl with mediocre play from the QB position. Trent Dilfer was never asked to "win the game" for the Ravens. His job was to manage it by simply moving the chains and not turning the ball over. Dilfer didn't have anything special to write home about at the WR position. In fact the only consistent threat he had on that side of the ball was TE Shannon Sharpe and RB Jamal Lewis. Think for a second how many rings that team would have won if Luck was under center. Can you imagine the possibilities?
If the Colts would've taken this approach from the beginning of Luck's career, primarily year two of his campaign this team at the very least would not resemble the one that's been man-handled by opponents like the Pats. Instead of making this team more like previous offensive juggernauts like the Manning-led Colts squads or the Rams of the Kurt Warner era, it simply needs to be more like the "Cardiac Kids" of 95. That team was led by QB Jim Harbaugh, a punishing one-two punch at RB with Lamont Warren and Zack Crockett, and backed up by a top 5 defense that was one of the league's best kept secrets all year long. Jim Harbaugh is not the QB that Andrew Luck is by any stretch, but with the pieces that were in place around him, he didn't have to be. Same goes for Jim McMahon of the 85 Bears. Even though that team only won one SB under McMahon, that was due more to the coaching staff not knowing how to maximize the talent they had at their disposal than it did with the QB under center. Jim McMahon isn't Luck either, but the point I'm making with all this is that you don't need to surround a QB who's above average with exceptional talent at the skill position in order to be successful at the highest level. Just give him a team that can be a bully in the post season. Give him a team that can run the ball when it wants to, stop the run when it needs to, and pressure the QB when it has to. Those are the true ingredients of a championship pedigree. If Luck is ever given that kind of team, the Colts will win a lot more than "2 Superbowls." Luck is good enough to bring home 4 or more when it's all said and done. If he doesn't, then Irsay will have come up short again with another franchise QB at his disposal.
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