Life without Manning

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning watches his teammates before a game against the Chargers at Lucas...

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning watches his teammates before a game against the Chargers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., Nov. 28, 2010. (ANDY LYONS/Getty Images/AFP)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:40 AM ET

TORONTO - The Indianapolis Colts are going to be Peyton-less for at least two to three months.

For those counting at home, yes, thats at least half of the regular schedule.

ESPNS Chris Mortensen was the first to nail it down and it got it from Peyton Mannings father, Archie.

Hes been on the clock since May, Archie Manning told Mortensen. He didnt make it. Obviously, its a big letdown, but he can relax a little bit compared to the intensity of everything he has done trying to rehab.

Manning had cervical fusion surgery on his neck Thursday and while the 2-3 months is an estimate, the same kind of estimate was put on the surgery that didnt take and has forced him back to the operating table.

But even if its only two months sans Peyton, that would take the Colts into their ninth game (they dont have a bye week until Week 11).

The fact that the Colts have left Manning on the active lists suggests they believe they will get him back at some point this season.

Jack splat

Take your best Week 1 matchup on the docket and drop it to No. 2 on your list.

Theres no way it could compare to this battle.

The tilt we would most like to see is former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas and Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio going at it.

Seems Douglas isnt a fan of Del Rios handling of players and believes if there is a coach in the NFL who is deserving of a punch in the face as the question was put to him this morning it is without question Del Rio.

The question came from Scott Van Pelt on ESPN radio and it came around a discussion about David Garrards release by Jacksonville five days before the season opener.

You basically tell this guy ... Hey, youre my guy, Douglas said. Then all of a sudden, five days before the season starts, you decide to cut me and go with Luke McCown, guy whos taken all of 19 snaps in the preseason. And hes going to be your starter.

But this is not unlike Jack because he did Byron Leftwich the same way. My statement is this: If there was ever a coach who needs to be punched in the face for not being truthful to his players, it has to be Jack Del Rio.

Douglas actually played for Del Rio in 2003, although even Douglas admits he never really played in Jacksonville as much as he collected a pay cheque.

But that didnt stop him from weighing in on the treatment he believes Garrard got and all the rest of the Jaguars should be concerned about.

If Im a Jacksonville Jaguar right now, Douglas said, Im looking at Jack Del Rio right now like ... first and foremost, Youre not trustworthy.

I cant believe that those guys in Jacksonville believe what Jack Del Rio is selling.

Jags GM Gene Smith is trying to take the blame for the shoddy handling of the release Garrard attended a season kickoff event with this teammates at noon on Tuesday about an hour and a half after the decision had been made. Smith said it was a timing thing and is sorry for any embarrassment he may have caused Garrard.

We still think Del Rio and Douglas should find a quiet corner of the field the next time they find themselves at a game and settle it like men.

As for Garrard, his agent has been telling people that as many as three teams have already called and he expects to find him a landing spot early next week.

Get 'er done Owen

As far as Houston Texans tight end Owens Daniels is concerned, he and his teammates have only one choice.

They have to make the playoffs or the Texans, as constructed, will cease to exist.

I predict we will be playoff bound, Daniels told SportsRadioInterviews.com. I dont think there is really any other way for us to go. We dont really have a choice at this point. There will be a lot of changes made if we cant get it done with this group right here.

Arian Fosters hamstring problem, which could keep him out of at least the opening week, is a concern but its going to be far more about how the team adapts to new defensive co-ordinator Wade Phillips 3-4 defence than anything the offence does.

Phillips has served as a defensive coordinator for 13 different seasons and in eight of those the team he was employed by made the playoffs.

Houston opens up against the Peyton Manning-less Colts.

Third and short

Larry Johnson, who appeared to have had his last kick at the can when he was cut by the Miami Dolphins, is back with the Fish five days after they released him. Rookie Daniel Thomas tweaked his hamstring on Wednesday and was unable to practise Thursday giving the former Pro Bowler one more shot at it ... Cam Newton has no shortage of famous backers. Bo Jackson recently went on ESPN to tell the world how talented Newton was.

Prior to Thursdays final pre-season game, Newton got a call from Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, who had seen some of the Panthers games and had some advice for this years first overall pick of the NFL draft. All the endorsements and advice are nice and all, but its going to come down to Newton proving he can run an NFL offence and all that that entails.


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