Everyone associated with the Indianapolis Colts hits their knees every night to pray that quarterback Andrew Luck’s surgically repaired shoulder regains full flexibility and strength when he finally starts throwing.
Until then, hope is a poor substitute for certainty when the health of the guy who is supposed to lead the Colts through another generation of excellence is concerned.
What happens if Luck’s shoulder was reassembled incorrectly, the muscles don’t re-fire correctly, and somehow, despite perfect adherence to the rehab module, Luck’s passes release end over end?
The answer is terrifying.
Want to venture a guess what the Colts season record would be with Tolzien at quarterback, along with a defense overhauled after ranking 30th in the NFL in 2016? The odds are pretty good that the number on the right would greatly exceed the number on the left.
Colin Kaepernick is unemployed. He’s working out, hoping that the phone will ring, and on the other end will be an NFL general manager willing to pay him handsomely to do what he did so well in 2013 for the San Francisco 49ers — lead his team to a Super Bowl.
Seems like an easy call for Colts general manager Chris Ballard to make — just in case.
Here are five reasons Ballard has been correct in not indulging the overpowering impulse to execute an enhanced Plan B:
5. Baggage. Yes, as sad as it might be, NFL fans still resent Kaepernick for not standing for the national anthem prior to 49ers games. That was the form of his protest regarding the unfair treatment of African-Americans by the police, and many felt his protest showed disrespect for those who fought and continue to fight for this country — as well as for the police who treat all with respect. The NFL is a business, and if a player is going to turn fans against the home team’s brand, he better be exceptionally talented and important to the team’s success.
4. Declining win totals. In 2012, Kaepernick took over for an injured Alex Smith and led his team to a berth in the Super Bowl. His first year as a full-time starter was a great success as the 49ers posted a 12-4 record and advanced to the NFL Championship Game. The 49ers won only eight games in 2014. In 2015, Kaepernick was 2-6 as a starter, and last season he hit bottom by winning only once in 11 starts. Forget that the defense was in tatters, and little of the 49ers’ failure should be owned by Kaepernick. Losing quarterbacks are rarely summoned.
3. Money is better spent elsewhere. According to Sport Trac, the Colts have $453,377 to spend before bumping their heads on the salary cap. They could waive a player — or players — to free up some cash, but the insurance policy that Kaepernick represents isn’t worth the loss of human capital necessary to bring him in — especially if Luck is likely to be 100 percent for the opener.
2. Luck is going to be healthy. According to the Colts, the surgery and rehab have progressed exactly as hoped, and the thought that Luck will be anything less than good to go on Sept. 10 in Los Angeles hasn’t really occurred to anyone. Because of that, the investment isn’t worth the return.
1. Kaepernick isn’t good enough to make a serious difference. Does it really matter if the Colts win four or six games? To some it does, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s totally irrelevant. In fact, it can be argued that upgrades to a losing team to make it a slightly more successful losing team stand in the way of the success that might be earned through improved draft position. If Luck can’t go, Tolzien might be the perfect answer.
I’m not saying it’s a mistake to call Kaepernick. The GM picking up the phone, though, should be anyone but Ballard.
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