Despite the pain of watching my favorite team lose week in and week out, this may have been the best timing for it. So what would I do with the GM job in Indy?
1. I would remove Jim Caldwell. He benefited from a system designed by a great coach in Tony Dungy and has not changed the philosophy that was in place when Dungy retired. This is why teams are still able to run in bunches and find the same gaps in the Cover-2 that they found 6 years ago. I would hire a strong defensive minded coach from the college ranks to lead the Colts. As long as Manning is calling shots on the offensive side of the ball, the head coach does not need to moniter it as closely. Good candidates for the position are Mark Stoops from Florida State, Chris Ash from Wisconsin, and of course Nick Saban or Les Miles. I would also look at Jeff Fisher and Sean McDermott. With a head coach change, there are bound to be other coaching changes as well. Those would be addressed after they were known.
2. I would rework the contract of Peyton Manning. He deserves to be the highest paid player in the league, but the gauranteed money would have to go. When he returns and plays at the caliber we all know that he can, then the money can be added as a bonus. If he would take a pay cut, that would be even better. I would play the angle that if he is willing to sacrifice some of his money, then we could pursue a marquee RB to take some of the pressure off of him and extend his playing years.
3. As far as the 2012 NFL Draft, there is no reason to take Andrew Luck. I would work with Miami on this one. The price for Luck...2012 and 2013 second round picks, 2013 third round pick, Reggie Bush, and Sean Smith. With the 2013 draft I would take Manti Teo, the best CB on the table, and the best DL on the table that is a runstopper. This year, I would look at Tyler Eifert in the draft and OL players that are seniors in their 4th or 5th year that have been protecting mobile QBs. They are quicker on their feet and have an easier time protecting the pocket for longer periods.
4. There are two QBs from the University of Notre Dame floating on teams that will never use them, Brady Quinn in Denver and Jimmy Clausen in Carolina. Instead of drafting a QB, I would do what I could to get one of them. My first choice would be Brady Quinn. If Denver would be willing to talk Pierre Garcon and draft picks for Quinn and McGahee, I would definitely take that trade. With Bush from Miami splitting time with McGahee, the Colts would have the best RB tandem in the league. Bush is also one of the best pass catching RBs in the league.