Colts have far more problems than Manning

Since the Colts first made the playoffs in Peyton Manning's second season in 1999, the star quarterback has been a saving grace for a franchise that often floundered during the long days between Johnny U. and Peyton.

On Sunday without the four-time MVP under center, the Colts were back to floundering, and to hear Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star tell it after the 34-7 loss in Houston, Indy had many more problems than just No. 18 being absent.

It's easy to lay the blame at the feet of Kerry Collins, the 38-year-old who unretired less than a month ago, hoping to hold a clipboard, but instead is at the offensive controls while Manning recovers from neck surgery.

But even Colts owner Jim Irsay realized that his team has plenty of other issues on defense and special teams as well."Too many things went wrong in all three phases, so it's hard to know if Peyton was out there and healthy . . . obviously, he would make a difference, but would it be enough? That's hard to say. This was a team loss," Irsay said.

In the past, with rare exception, Manning's Superman type efforts often masked the Colts deficiencies, but with him out of the lineup, those flaws can be more easily exposed.

There is plenty of talent still on the Colts roster with the likes of Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Dwight Freeney and Jeff Saturday among others. But it will take Collins time to learn the offense and come around. Until he does, the other 52 Colts and the coaching staff have to step up more so than they did in Houston. Otherwise, even and Indianapolis .500 in the standings will be a pipe dream.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for

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