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Peter King on M&M: Colts ‘not throwing in the towel’

12.02.11 at 2:05 pm ET

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King joined Mut & Merloni for his weekly appearance Friday. King discussed the Colts’ debacle of a season and the future of Peyton Manning.

The Patriots square off against Indianapolis on Sunday in what is normally a marquee matchup. But the Colts are winless without Manning, who is still recovering from spinal fusion surgery. However, with the recent firing of defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and the news that Manning might be back to at least practice before season’s end, the Colts haven’t given up yet, according to King.

“The Colts made it very, very clear that they’re not throwing in the towel,” King said. “You fire the defensive coordinator with a month left in the season, what does that say to you? It says that you’re trying to give an effort. So there’s a chance that you might see the last gasp of this team on Sunday. I still think the Patriots will clobber them, but again, sports are funny.”

King also said that it is important that Manning practices before the season ends. This is because the Colts have to decide by late February whether or not to pay the 35-year-old a $28 million option bonus. If Indy is unsure of Manning’s status heading into the 2012 season, the team may have to cut him.

“All along, Bill Polian said the exact same thing two months ago: ‘We are going to do everything we can to play Manning, at least practice Manning, in December.’ And it only makes sense,” King said. “You have to make a decision, you have to make an educated decision about whether you’re going to pay him $28 million two months after the season ends. You don’t have organized practices two months after the season. You have to make that decision. ‘€¦ I doubt he’d play in a game, but I think it’s very possible and a matter of fact quite likely that he’s going to do some stuff in practice. Otherwise they would have put him on injured reserve right now.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On Manning practicing down the stretch to show teams he can still perform if the Colts want to trade him: “This is a funny story, because I think we all look at this and we all look at Manning and we still think he can play. But no one really knows whether he can. And that’s why I think its incumbent on him, and he wants to also, it’s incumbent on him to do everything he can to practice down the stretch and it’s incumbent on the Colts to try to get him on the field at some point. I don’t think a game is important at all. I think practicing six or eight times before January 1 is far more important than seeing him in a game.”

On if Denver continues its winning ways against the Vikings on Sunday: “I think it probably does, because if you look at the Vikings, if they can’t sack [Tim] Tebow, what’s going to happen is ‘€¦ I mean, look, they’ve allowed 68 percent completions this year in the secondary and they lost their best corner in Antoine Winfield. They’ve got a decent pass rush, but hasn’t Tim Tebow sort of been immune to that pass rush by being able to move around in the pocket? I think this is a very, very bad matchup for the Minnesota Vikings. Because I think Tebow is going to be able to move around to complete some passes, Willis McGahee is hot. And all I know is this, I look at Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, at the beginning of the year, I would have said Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware were the best pass-rush tandem right now in football. But I think if I had to pick one right now ‘€¦ I would probably pick Dumervil and Miller. I think they’re going to terrorize Christian Ponder on Sunday, especially on the carpet.”

On Andy Reid and the struggling Eagles: “Well, it was interesting, today at his press conference Andy Reid blasted the NFL Network for its video portrayal of DeSean Jackson as a malingerer and for not being attentive on the sideline. And Reid said, basically, that isn’t true, he got everything he wanted out of Jackson last night. Sort of what’s happening right now is what Bill Parcells used to do, if the media all had one idea and it was to gang up on one player, Parcells would come out very publicly in support of that player, whether or not he really felt it. Then he would say to that player, ‘Now you have to come out and play hard.

“The whole question about Reid is, and again I’m not saying its simple because it isn’t simple, but I’ll just tell you this, right about the same point in his career, Bill Cowher went 6-10. And the Pittsburgh Steelers not only kept Cowher, they gave him a contract extension. I was incredulous. And two years later, they win the Super Bowl. Jeff Lurie has great admiration for the Rooney family and how they run their team. So, Jeff Lurie is not going to allow WIP [sports talk radio] and the media and the fans in Philadelphia to fire Andy Reid. Now, I’m not saying he won’t be fired. But I would just say this ‘€¦ if there are very clear signs that Andy Reid has lost the team and the team is going to hell in a handbasket and he can’t get it back, that’s a different story. And I’ve seen some signs that I don’t like, coaches arguing on the sidelines, all that stuff, you’re right. But if I had to guess right now, I’d have to guess that Reid will be back next year.”

On how DeSean Jackson will do in free agency next year and if the Pats will take a shot at signing him: “I think the worst thing right now about Jackson is effort and the perceived lack of effort. I think that is the most troubling by far. When you see DeSean Jackson, you see a guy who, at least right now, looks like he gives less than 100 percent effort. It’s just the way that Randy Moss did it in Minnesota where there are certain plays every game where he looked like he was going through the motions. ‘€¦ The difference here is that you’re not getting DeSean Jackson in the middle of the contract that’s favorable to the team like the way that the Patriots got Randy Moss. And even though at one point they gave him more money, they would have to take a leap of faith and take DeSean Jackson and pay him a bunch of guaranteed money without really having any idea about whether he was going to be worth it or not. And that’s the difficult thing with DeSean Jackson right now.”

On his picks for the Super Bowl: “How do you not take Green Bay? But the AFC is interesting. I’ve change my opinion about it every week watching it. If I had to pick a team right now, I’d definitely pick New England. Just because, at least in my opinion, I think they’ve got the best shot down the stretch to get home field. I think that it’s going to be very interesting when you watch Baltimore. Baltimore’s schedule is not that hard, but on January 1 they’re at Cincinnati in a game that probably Cincinnati’s really going to need. You wonder now, going down the stretch, who’s going to win home field? Home field, it’s funny, it hasn’t been the greatest friend for the Patriots. But the Patriots on defense are just playing a lot better right now. I think that New England and Baltimore would play a heck of a game as long as, and I stress this, as long as New England could block [Terrell] Suggs and Jarret Johnson, because that was their bugaboo when they played Baltimore in the playoffs, that [Tom] Brady was just under siege.”

Read More: Andy Reid, DeSean Jackson, Peter King, Peyton Manning



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