Tag:Peyton Manning
Posted on: January 29, 2012 10:07 pm
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Peyton’s Health in Question, But Keeping a Health

Primetime Thoughts

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            Days away from Super Bowl XLVI, reports continue to swirl about Peyton Manning’s future with the Indianapolis Colts.  While brother Eli prepares to potentially surpass Peyton with a second Super Bowl win in Lucas Oil Stadium, the house that Peyton built, discussions remain prevalent regarding the uncertainty surrounding the future Hall of Fame quarterback.  While Manning’s health is still up in the air, the public has been lead to believe that Manning will not be returning to Indianapolis.  Colts Owner Jim Irsay has done his best to downplay this notion, tweeting on Friday, "No he hasn't been released nor was a decision reached weeks ago."

            After finishing a league-worst 2-14, Indianapolis will have the first pick in the NFL draft this April.  The Colts are expected to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.  For months, it has been concluded that the Colts couldn’t draft Luck and keep Manning.  Considered to be the best prospect since John Elway, Luck is thought to be ready for the NFL, needing no time to learn from the sidelines.  Generally, the path should be cleared when a franchise player is on the way. 

            Peyton Manning is an exception to that rule.

            If Manning’s neck doesn’t heal and doctors don’t clear him for football activities, then there is no discussion; Manning retires and goes to Canton, Ohio five years from now.  If, and it’s a big if, Manning is healthy enough to resume playing, Indianapolis should not hesitate to have Luck sit and learn behind one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.  Forget that Manning has been the face of the Colts franchise since 1998; loyalty in sports is a thing of the past.  Manning, 35, has always kept himself in pristine shape while keeping the hits from defenders to a minimum over the years.  If Manning is able to return to the field, that immediately makes the Colts a Super Bowl contender next season.  That speaks volumes about Manning’s abilities when you consider how dreadful Indianapolis was without him. 

            Luck looks to be a solid quarterback in the NFL.  That being said, there’s no guarantee of success; just look at any list of all-time busts of past first round draft picks.  Luck may be able to grow on the fly like Cam Newton or Andy Dalton.  Or they may take their lumps and struggle during their first few seasons.  Either way, there is uncertainty.  Manning, when healthy, is one of, if not the best quarterback in the league.  The PR nightmare would be tough enough if Manning is healthy and then plays elsewhere next season.  If Manning were to lead that team to a Super Bowl, Irsay would never live that down. 

            Irsay will do his best to win over the public opinion, but Manning can’t lose this battle.  “I don’t want to get into some kind of fan campaign with the owner, but I think it’s well documented that I want to play in the same place my whole career,” Manning said. “It’s been a privilege to play here. I love the fans, the city.”  Manning will be an icon in Indianapolis till the end of time.  Understandably so, Irsay and the Colts are reluctant to pay Manning his 28 million dollar bonus March 8 due to health concerns. 

Manning’s health remains in question, leaving the Colts unsure.  It seems like a no-brainer that if Manning is healthy, the Colts would be foolish to let him go elsewhere.  However, it looks as if the two are headed for a split.  While Manning will have plenty of suitors looking for the final piece to their Super Bowl puzzle, the Colts will simply hope for a little bit of luck.   

Posted on: January 16, 2012 5:37 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 1:25 pm
 

Eli No Longer Simply Peyton’s Brother

Primetime Thoughts

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I could be one of the gazillion websites and networks to draw comparisons of this Giants team to the one that won the Super Bowl in 2008.  I will spare you all from what you’ve already heard countless times: New York won in Green Bay on its way to the Super Bowl, New York faced the same team in the postseason that had provided late-season momentum albeit in losing fashion, which happened to be the top team in the league both times, etc. 

I’m here to tell you it’s time to give credit where credit is due, and Eli Manning is long overdue. 

For a player that A) has a Super Bowl win and B) needed to lead the offense down the field in the final minute to win that Super Bowl, Eli has taken too many undeserving jabs.  Whether its because he shares Peyton’s last name or his goofy demeanor is not one which lines up nicely with the swagger New York sports tends to call for, Eli’s play is often overshadowed because he isn’t as smooth as big brother or his awe-shucks persona isn’t as charming as Tim Tebow’s. 

The sports world collectively scratched their heads when Eli said he belonged in the same class as guys like Tom Brady on a radio interview.  Not only is it ridiculous for anyone to expect him to lack self-confidence, but any doubts about Eli’s place in the quarterback ranks can’t be questioned.  As of this post, only 5 of 32 starting quarterbacks this season have won a Super Bowl (Peyton Manning excluded), and only Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady have more rings than Eli. 

When you consider the circumstances, it makes this season’s career year all the more impressive.  Manning plays in a system which has been all but forgotten in today’s league, one that heavily emphasizes the run.  Only when the run has failed, which it has more than New York would like, does Eli take the reins and work his magic.  Manning has shown a propensity to deliver in two-minute drills and the no-huddle offense.  However, where Brady and Drew Brees have the ability to call all the shots, Manning is initially saddled with a ball-control offense. 

Also take into account that Manning had lost key receivers in tight end Kevin Boss and Wide Receiver Steve Smith.  Those two were replaced with Jake Ballard and Victor Cruz.  Both have paid off, but with the lockout shortening training camp, Manning had little time to develop a rapport with these two new guys.  Manning went on to throw for a career-high 4.933 yards. 

What adjustment period?

Manning broke the single-season record for fourth-quarter touchdown passes with 15, a record previously held by brother Peyton.

Manning never becomes an emotional roller coaster like we’ve seen with many quarterbacks.  No matter the situation, Manning keeps his composure during extreme highs and lows.  Critics will point to this as a lack of passion, intensity, whichever word tickles your fancy.  While you were thinking of the most fitting word, Manning just led another fourth quarter comeback, a recurring trend as Manning has 6 to his name this season alone.

Aaron Rodgers, America’s Sweetheart nowadays, Tebow aside, was outshined by Manning Sunday afternoon.  Rodgers may be more loved nationwide with his discount double check and all, but Manning won’t mind having to pass on commercial shoots.  He’s still got practice for a big game or two if I’m not mistaken.

Remember Tiki Barber questioned Eli Manning’s leadership skills the summer before the Super Bowl win over New England?  He ate quite a bit of crow for that whole ordeal, among other things.  Barber had his humble pie and it’s now the sports fan’s turn to have a slice.  Manning gets lost in the shuffle, either by the GQ model who shares a stadium with Eli, who in his third season, has done little, if not regress as a quarterback, Peyton’s ongoing saga in Indianapolis, that Brady’s so hot right now, or Tebow Time.  Manning continues to go out and produce results like the rest of the elite quarterback pack, whether the praise is there or not.  The way things are looking right now, Peyton might just be looking up to Eli in the ring department if Eli can lead the Giants to two more wins. 

Peyton supporters, rest assured if Eli does win a second Super Bowl and surpass Peyton.  He will never catch Peyton in the commercials department, which is all that really matters in this media-frenzy society we now live in, right?

Maybe so, but Eli won’t mind.  He stepped up to the plate in August and said he belongs in the big boy discussion, doing just that in supporting his cause.  Like they say, you can’t spell elite without Eli.

Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:45 am
 

In The Trenches: NFL Season Preview

The lockout is old news and the Saints and Packers square off Thursday.  The only thing missing from this anticipation of the NFL season is Brett Favre overkill…for now.

Packers Set To Defend Title-The Green Bay Packers begin their title defense against New Orleans with the dreaded Super Bowl hangover tossed around.  Unlike the many winners before them, Green Bay looks equipped to dominate for the immediate future and make a run at a dynasty.  Aaron Rodgers has made all Cheeseheads forget bout his predecessor/alleged sextor, letting his play speak for itself.  With a loaded receiving core, a healthy Ryan Grant in the backfield, and a defense which remains intact, look for more of the same from the Packers. 

Eagles Do Their Best Heat Impression-There was no championship-esque celebration in the offseason or guarantees of 5, 6, 7 titles, but the Philadelphia Eagles were reeling in big names much like the Miami Heat.  Nnamdi Asomugha, Domingue Rodgers-Cromartie, and Asante Samuel give the Eagles the best cornerback trio in football.  Jason Babin shores up the defensive line.  The linebacker group is weak in comparison, but with the Eagles likely leading most of their games, teams will be forced to pass against the aforementioned three-headed monster with a solid defensive line.  The offense got deeper as well with Ronnie Brown backing up LeSean McCoy.

New Cardinal Set To Spread Wings-It was discussed before the lockout began, and it happened once the lockout ended.  Traded for Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 2nd-round pick, Arizona is banking on Kevin Kolb to be more Kurt Warner and less like Derek Anderson.  The Cardinals locked up Kolb for 6 years, $65 million, with $22 million guaranteed.  Now Kolb has impressed when he’s played, but the guy’s only made 7 starts in his career.  Whether Kolb ends up working out for the Cardinals only time will tell, but they’re probably relieved that Anderson is no longer starting.  The numbers may be easy to top, but will he be as <span style="color: #743399;">serious about the game?

Who Wants the NFC West?-In all seriousness, a 7-9 team made the playoffs for the first time in NFL history.  You could’ve discovered that all four teams were doing their due diligence in hopes of a high draft pick.  All these teams seem to be undergoing makeovers.  The Cardinals have a new quarterback, St. Louis looks to build off Sam Bradford’s solid rookie season, Rookie Head Coach Jim Harbaugh throws Alex Smith one last bone to provide pedestrian results under center (though he could be secretly plotting for Andrew Luck, hmm), and Pete Carroll’s balance-of-power-changing move was, Tarvaris Jackson?Not so sure about that one Petey, but Sidney Rice is a nice addition to the receiving core.

All in all, let’s hope this isn’t another race to 8 wins.

AFC South Up For Grabs-A division which Peyton Manning has routinely put in his back pocket now looks to be up for grabs.  The Colts quarterback’s streak of 227 consecutive games comes to an end due to a slow recovery from neck surgery.  Somewhere Favre is basking in the glory of his streak remaining intact while sporting his wrangler jeans on a tractor in the heart of Mississippi. 

Manning’s return remains a question mark, leaving the Houston Texans in the driver’s seat.  With last year’s 9-7 season being their first ever above .500, Houston looks primed to make a postseason appearance.  The offense remains intact with Matt Schaub at the helm, with Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, and Arian Foster at his disposal.  Although if Foster gets a hold of his teammates future scans, it may put them at a disadvantage (I hear he posts them on twitter).  The offense is the same, but the defense looks to be viable with the addition of Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips.  Prized acquisition Jonathan Joseph should help the secondary, but it will be up to Phillips to turn this defense around. 

Lions Ready to Roar?-The laughingstock of the NFL for the last several years, non-sextors aside, the Detroit Lions bandwagon looks to be filling up rapidly.  Franchise Quarterback Matthew Stafford has shown flashes in his two seasons.  Only thing is, he’s only played 13 of 32 games due to injury.  If Stafford can prove to be healthy, watch out for the Lions offense to be a top-10 unit this season.  That with arguably the nastiest defensive line in football has people thinking relevant December football for these guys, and dare I say it, playoffs?  The rest of the defense may be shaky, but when you put pressure on the quarterback, it makes the job a lot easier on everyone else.   

 Hey Everybody, It’s the New Kid-Two rookie quarterbacks will be thrown into the fire from the get go.  Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers will have even less to work off than most rookie quarterbacks because of the lack of offseason workouts with teammates.  Neither one is ready to take the reins, but Carolina needs to sell tickets, and frankly, if you’ve seen Jimmy Claussen play, you know Carolina is no better.  So Newton might as well take his lumps and earn the experience.  Dalton was supposed to sit and learn the ropes, but then Carson Palmer decided he didn’t want to play for a halfway house, err, the Bengals anymore.    Palmer will play for anyone else, but Owner Mike Brown won’t budge, feeling that Palmer should, “honor his contract.” Funny coming from an owner who will never hesitate to rid themselves of a bad deal. 

State of AFC West Address-The Chargers, perennial favorites, say this year’s different, that they won’t struggle out of the gate.  If they can live up to their promise, this division is theirs for the taking.  Kansas City was a nice story, but they seem more like a bubble team.  Don’t be fooled by Denver starting Kyle Orton, the playoffs take a backseat as the Broncos try to decide what exactly should Tim Tebow be doing.  Among options such as tight end and full back also include team pastor.  And nobody really ever knows what Al Davis is doing with the Raiders.

Big Names, New Places-Donovan McNabb is a Viking, Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth are both Patriots, and Reggie Bush is a Dolphin.  Aging Pro Bowl players, expect all to make impacts with their new teams, showing to all that a fresh start was in order, especially McNabb.

Coaching Debuts-6 teams will be with new coaches, only 1 (John Fox, Denver) is not coaching their first-ever NFL game.  None of these teams are expected to do much in the standings, but Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson has to be aware of the looney bin that also serves as his boss.  Talk about job security.

Predictions
My regular season picks <span style="color: #743399;">last season left much to be desired, only nailing 7 out of 12 playoff teams, but I did pencil Green Bay for the Super Bowl, thus credibility is restored. 

NFC East
Philadelphia
Dallas
New York
Washington

NFC West
Arizona
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle

NFC North
Green Bay
Detroit
Minnesota
Chicago

NFC South
Atlanta
New Orleans
Tampa Bay
Carolina

Wild Card: Dallas, New Orleans

AFC East
New York
New England
Miami
Buffalo

AFC West
San Diego
Oakland
Kansas City
Denver

AFC North
Baltimore
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati

AFC South
Houston
Indianapolis
Tennessee
Jacksonville

Wild Card: New England, Pittsburgh

Super Bowl XLVI- Atlanta vs. New York

<span style="color: #6e8dcf;">Primetime Thoughts

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com