Maybe the Mayans were right about 2012. Earthquakes on the East Coast. Birds falling out of the sky. Peyton Manning missing a regular-season NFL start. It’s doubtful that the latter was written in any ancient manuscripts, but that which previously had been unthinkable looks a little more possible now that the Colts have coaxed veteran Kerry Collins out of retirement.
It looks like Manning won’t play in any of the team’s preseason games and Curtis Painter has done little to inspire confidence that he can lead Indy’s offense. Collins, despite being a credible short-term replacement for Manning, has had trouble getting started in new places. In his first three games with his last two new teams (Titans in ’06 and Raiders in ’04), Collins is a combined 0-6 with two touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Of even more concern is what a change at quarterback could do to the short-term fantasy value of receiver Reggie Wayne (who recently returned to practice after missing five days for personal reasons) and tight end Dallas Clark. Manning has said that he plans to be ready to go for the season opener, but even if he isn’t, the good news is that the first two games on the schedule are against Houston and Cleveland — two teams who were less than stout against the pass last season. Week 3 against the Steelers could be a little dicier without Manning under center, but if No. 18 is to be believed, it will be a moot issue.