The comments are interesting, as Dalton has proved to be one of the most polarizing quarterbacks in the league. He just signed a six-year deal worth up to $115 million, but he has his share of critics primarily due to his postseason struggles.
Polian, meanwhile, was faced with a difficult situation with the Colts back in 2011. Peyton Manning had a serious neck injury, and his backups – Dan Orlovsky, Kerry Collins, and Curtis Painter – were not ready to lead a team.
With the 22nd pick in the 2011 Draft, Indianapolis took OT Anthony Castonzo, while Dalton fell to Cincinnati at no. 35.
The Colts went 2-14 during the 2011 season, a record that could largely be attributed to substandard quarterback play. While he may not have brought them to the playoffs as he did with the Bengals, it seems likely that Dalton could have single-handedly improved the Colts that season.
Polian was fired from his position as Vice Chairman in January 2012.
Whether Dalton would have been enough to save Polian’s job will never be known. Nonetheless, Polian’s belief is still entirely plausible, and even probable. It would be difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Colts would fire the highly respected architect after a season with a rookie under center.
Still, things worked out nicely for Indianapolis, as they were able to land QB Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 Draft – a move Polian would likely not had the luxury to make with Dalton in tow.