Tag Archives: Peyton Manning

BRONCOS-RAVENS PREVIEW

Today’s Broncos-Ravens matchup is one of quarterbacks who are at polar opposite ends of the “pressure-spectrum.”  On one hand you’ve got Canton-bound, all-world Peyton Manning who, if he retired today, before this game’s 4:30pm kickoff, would still be destined to be in the discussion for one of the game’s all-time greats.  Manning’s legacy has already been defined, now he is just looking to add some hardware to his resume. Due simply to the fact that at this time last year we were wondering not when but if he would ever play again, Manning is the quarterback with the least amount of pressure to win this weekend.

Then on the other end of the pressure-spectrum you’ve got Baltimore’s Joe Flacco who might be the most accomplished fifth year quarterback in NFL history to never be selected to the Pro Bowl or play in a Super Bowl.

Flacco has set NFL records for playoff wins by a rookie (2), most regular season wins by a quarterback in his first five seasons (54), and is the only quarterback in NFL history to win a postseason game in each of his first five seasons.  But despite all that, the self-proclaimed “best” quarterback in the NFL is without a contract for the 2013 season which makes him the only starting quarterback left in the postseason who is playing for his next paycheck.

Unfortunately for Flacco, as an NFL quarterback, until you have proved you can do “it” (and by “it” I mean win, or at least make, the Super Bowl), you are not defined by what you have done, but rather by what you haven’t.  Furthermore, fans of the “ADD  Generation” do not remember circumstances; they remember results.  They don’t care if Lee Evans dropped the game winning touchdown in last year’s AFC Championship game which would have sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl, nor the fact that Billy Cundiff subsequently missed an easy 32-yard field goal which would have tied the game.  No, all that gets remembered is Flacco lost, again, and is now 0-2 when a trip to the Super Bowl is on the line.  Right or wrong, that’s the way it is.

Finally, there are 42 other combined starters for the Broncos and Ravens who aren’t named Manning or Flacco that will also have a say in how this game ends.  For my money, there are four key factors which determine the outcome of any football game.

1)      Win on third down

2)      Protect your quarterback

3)      Be the least penalized team

4)      Win the battle of field position

That’s it, winning and losing in the NFL in a nutshell.  The Denver Broncos hold the edge in all four of those factors.  On offense they convert 45.1% of their 3rd downs while Baltimore converts at only a 36.9% rate.  On defense, the Broncos held their opponents to a conversion rate of 30.6% which led the NFL whereas the Ravens 35.8% was eighth.  Peyton Manning was only sacked 21 times compared to Flacco’s 35, and, as a bonus, the Broncos’ D led the NFL with 52 sacks whereas Baltimore’s 37 had them in a three-way tie for 15th.  Denver was flagged only 100 times, versus Baltimore’s 121, and in 16 fewer punt returns than Baltimore (33 versus 49) Denver amassed more yards (445 versus 404).

What does this all mean?  It means that despite all the hub-a-ba-loo regarding Peyton Manning having never won a playoff game in which the temperature was below 40 degrees at kickoff (0-3), I expect the Denver Broncos to win and win big today (and by big I mean by more than the nine point spread which they currently are) and for the controversy regarding just how valuable Joe Flacco is as an NFL quarterback to continue to be determined another day.

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ANDY REID #NFL

Unless he’s got debts that no honest man can pay, Andy Reid going to Kansas City is a mistake.  Granted, it makes more sense than him going to Arizona, but not by much.  When I heard that rumor yesterday (Reid to AZ), I thought he must be the kind of guy that just needs to stand up and admire what he’s done in the bathroom because if not, then why else would he want to go out to the middle of the desert and inherit that atrocious clogged toilet-like Kolb-Skelton-Lindley QB situation unless he truly believes he can salvage something out of Kolb?  (thus the bathroom analogy comes full circle)

Reid to KC isn’t much better.  The greatest trick Charlie Weis ever pulled was to convince us that Brady Quinn was a NFL QB.  Belichek’s doing the same with Matt Cassel is right up there as well.  In fact, the only reason the KC situation is marginally better is because they happen to play in the AFC version of the west instead of the NFC.  The Peyton Manning led reign in Denver will be shorter (due simply to the fact that he’s 37) than what is brewing out west between San Francisco and Seattle on the NFC side.

Andy Reid’s resume should dictate that he has the luxury of getting to choose his next job and not the other way around.  I’m not saying it will, I am saying it should.  Why would he want to take on a project like KC?  The Chiefs are years away from contending and i doubt they have their starting 2013 QB on their roster yet.  This draft isn’t QB heavy.  Forget about Luck, RGIII and Wilson, there’t not a Tannehill or even a Weeden out there.   So if you’re an NFL team out there looking for a new starting quarterback, like KC and AZ,  you  are going to have to find one from within the NFL.

Who does that leave available?  Alex Smith?  Is he really going to be the centerpiece that you build a Super Bowl around?  A potential reunion with Vick, a trade for Sanchez perhaps?  If I’m Andy Reid, I want no part of those problems.  Romo?  With the lack of better options, I doubt Dallas lets him become available despite his continual disappointment.  Make a trade for a guy like Matt Flynn?  Maybe, but why would Andy Reid want to gamble on a career backup when he could go to a team that has a legit starting NFL franchise quarterback already on its roster?

If I’m Andy Reid, there is only one team I would coach for in 2013 and its San Diego or bust.  Of the seven overall vacancies (only six of which are available to Reid) the Chargers is far and away the most desirable for a coach of his stature.  At this stage of his career Reid doesn’t need a new project, he needs to win.  He needs to find a team with talent (and by talent I mean a legit NFL QB),  fix whats broken, get to the playoffs and hopefully win the Super Bowl.  Simply put, San Diego’s QB situation is the most desirable and their conference is the most winnable, sold.

If I were Reid and did not get the SD job, then I’d follow Jeff Fisher’s example and go away to come back.  Like Reid, Fisher never won a Super Bowl but lost one  and at the time of his firing was the were the longest current tenured NFL head coach.  Fisher sat out, let teams come to him, bided his time and when he was ready and/or the right opportunity came along (St Louis) he took it.  Point being it was on his terms.

I know Andy Reid probably desires to resume his NFL head coaching career right away to prove the Eagles wrong for firing him and out of overall pride as well, but he should make sure he returns to the right opportunity.  There is nothing wrong with taking a year or two off, maybe get fat (well fatter) on of some easy TV money while you let the teams come to you.

In the words of Han Solo, “Boba Fett?  Boba Fett where?!” ( I know that quote is not relevant but for some reason its stuck in my head)

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Jeff Ireland needs to go

Jeff Ireland is turning the Miami Dolphins into a second-rate franchise that struggles to bring in top free agent talent unless they grossly over-pay them like Cleveland or Buffalo, if he hasn’t done so already.  How much longer does he get to try to convince us that he actually knows what he’s doing and isn’t just horrible at his job?

Tuesday afternoon he said, “We are halfway through the player acquisition period,’’ and “Let the process play out.”  I think he thinks that he’s going to have a big second half.  I don’t see how that is even possible, unless he knows some big huge secret which we don’t.  There will be no more players available that are anywhere near the caliber of Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, Eric Winston, Mario Williams and Vincent Jackson. The right way to look at the Miami Dolphins current situation is, it’s already at the halfway point but all the free agents actually worth acquiring are gone and the Dolphins failed to get any of them.  That is a big time fail.

In regards to the acquisition of David Garrard, this is what he said, “I’ve kind of been chasing him since Chad (Henne) got hurt last year.”   There are so many problems with that statement I’m not sure where to begin.  I guess I’ll start with the obvious first: maybe if you spent less time chasing David Garrard around you would have actually caught PeytonManning.

Second, what does the fact that you even had to chase David Garrard say about your overall job performance?  It can’t be good.  If you’re the GM of an NFL franchise, and have to do anything more than just pick up a phone, call an unemployed David Garrard and say ” Hey Dave, this is an NFL team, want to be a millionaire again?”  in order to get him, then you are horrible to the point that you’re a joke.  That should be the final nail in the coffin to your firing.

Third, what’s Jeff Ireland trying to say here? What’s his point, purpose, goal, etc?  Does he really think that he is going to convince Miami fans that we didn’t lose the Peyton, Matt Flynn, and (to a much lesser extent) Alex Smith sweepstakes but rather we won the David Garrard 50/50? Does Ireland really think fans are going to start buying season tickets in droves for the chance to see David Garrard play QB?

Here is some more insight into the Dolphin free agent strategy from Ireland, “We’re going to always make value-based decisions,’’.  I don’t get this bargain basement, value shopper mentality that has permeated the Dolphin front office for years.  This constant need to scrounge through other teams trash hoping to find some buried treasure.  Fans are sick of the front office running the team like its a pawn shop by jamming second-hand players like David Garrard, Kevin Burnett and Marc Columbo down our throats. There is a reason their former teams either let them walk or let them go, it’s because they are just polished up turds and not diamonds in the rough as Ireland and Co would have you believe.

This makes me so angry that in protest I’ve cancelled my plans to buy a new Dolphin jersey this year (It was gonna be Odrick based purely on his awesome Pee-Wee Herman sack dance. Respect).  In fact, for as long as Ireland is with the team, I vow not to buy a new jersey, unless it’s a player he either signed or drafted and is now on clearance because they are no longer with the team.

Name me one thing, one move, one decision, that Ireland made which has worked out.  If you say Jake Long, then you must be kidding.  You really think that it’s a notable accomplishment when the team with the #1 draft pick makes a good decision?  Doesn’t that fall into the category of just “doing your job”?  What has Karlos Dansby really done?  You traded two 2nd round picks for a player (Marshall) who you traded after two years, and no playoff appearances, for two 3rd rounders.  Second round pick Pat White is not even in the league anymore and I’m pretty sure Shawn Murphy isn’t either.

Cameron Wake?  Maybe, but is that the best you got?  Because if that’s all, then I contend Ireland’s most notable accomplishment in his Dolphins tenure so far is calling Dez Bryant’s mother a prostitute, and that is ridiculous.  Right now if any reasonable GM in the league who was faced with the possibility of a wide receiver corps led by Brian Hartline would rather have Dez Bryant instead of Jared Odrick and Koa Misi.  And can someone please explain to me why in the 2010 draft, which was stocked full of tight ends, they did not get Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez or even Dennis Pitta, when it was obvious that the team needed an explosive tight end?

I  do not understand the lowballing of Matt Flynn.  I have to admit, when I thought it would take no less then 5 years and at least 50 mil to sign him, I wasn’t so sure it was a good move.  But when I saw he signed for only 3 years 26mil total and only 10 guaranteed that seemed like a more then fair price to pay for a potential 26 year old starting quarterback who already knows your brand new offensive system.  Maybe he would have worked out, maybe he wouldn’t.  It’s widely speculated that Miami is now going to draft a quarterback, Ryan Tannehill with the 8th overall pick in the draft.  Maybe he’s the real deal, maybe he isn’t.  But if both players are going to involve significant levels of”maybe” then why not sign Flynn and use the 8th pick to fill one of the teams other glaring needs like SS, RT, WR and a second pass rusher?  That would seem like solid strategy to me.

And speaking of the draft, that stunt you pulled with Andy Dalton last year was ridiculous (during his standard pre-draft interview, getting to know you vist to Miami before last year’s draft one of the asst coaches barged in pretending to be a “diva receiver” and started yelling about getting the ball more).  I’m sure when that plan was concocted you probably thought it was so smart, you couldn’t wait to watch it play out, the suspense was killing you.  You were sitting there on the edge of your seat enjoying the smell of your own farts, thinking it was the most brilliant breakthrough in draft evaluation since the Jimmy Johnson value chart.  Wrong, it is the second dumbest thing I have ever heard of a professional sports franchise doing (2nd to calling someone’s mother a prostitute of course).  I’m willing to bet Andy Dalton still cracks people up with that story as he warns players around the NFL not to sign with Miami because they are a joke.

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Jets Extend Sanchez

Did i miss something?  When did Omar Minaya start calling the shots for the Jets?  Because this move is right out of his playbook.  Take a player who’s fallen out of favor with the front office and fan base, who only a week ago was speculated to be on his way out the door while the team pursues a sexy free agent name and then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, sign him to a contract extension that makes him one of the highest paid players (for his position) in the league.  And the fact that the player happens to be of Spanish descent is just icing on the cake (think Ollie Perez here).  How did this business model work out for the Mets?  Not too good if I remember correctly.  The move  immediately reminded of the Pepper Brooks line from Dodgeball, “It’s a bold strategy, let’s see if it pays off for ’em”   Specifics are 3 year $40.5 million dollar extension and he can make another 10 million in “escalators”.

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Peyton Manning Prediction

Here is my take on the “Peyton Decision”.  What you will read here are my own thoughts/observations/opinions not  some regurgitated information I got from ESPN (or anywhere else) that I’m trying to pass off on as my own. 

If we assume that he only wants to play for a team that has a chance at winning and making the playoffs, then  it makes no sense for him to sign with a team like the Redskins. Who even with the addition of Peyton, would still be at best only 3rd in their own division (behind the Super Bowl champion NY Giants and Dallas).  And i say even with him on the ‘Skins, the Eagles would still be a slightly better overall team (especially now that they have a real defensive coordinator).  So there’s no way Peyton is going to sign with a team that is only 4th best in their own division and thus have no shot at making the playoffs.  Plus, you don’t sign him to run your offense.  You sign Peyton to run Peyton’s offense.  And I don’t see legendary egomaniac and control freak Mike Shanahan getting on board with that. Especially when his own kid is the offensive coordinator.  So cross them off the list.

Next, the Jets…Never gonna happen. Down the line all of the Mannings, Peyton, Eli and Archie, can’t stand all the Peyton-Eli hype and don’t like answering questions about it.  Why would Peyton then choose to play in New York, in an outdoor stadium, and deal with that type of media attention day in and day out?  Don’t see it happening,  just wishful thinking by goddamn Jets fans.

So if we agree that Peyton only wants to play for a winner, or at least a team that with his addition has a shot at winning, then I say the best place for him to go is the NFC West.  Which makes Seattle and Arizona  the top likely destinations. 

 I say Seattle, and here’s why. After a 2-6 start to the season they rebounded to win 5 out of their last 8 to finish the year 7-9 despite the fact that Tarvaris Jackson handling the bulk of the snaps under center. They do have a good-great running game with Marshawn Lynch (1,204yds 12td) and an adequate enough offensive line to protect him.  They also boast a talented group of young receivers (S.Rice D.Baldwin G.Tate) and a young aggressive defense.  And if we assume that Peyton and R.Wayne are going to be a package deal, then that makes their group of WR’s as a whole maybe top 5 in the league. 

But mostly the reason why I think Peyton winds up in Seattle is because of their head coach, Pete Carroll.  To me it’s the perfect player-coach fit. I think Pete Carroll is a smart enough, and more importantly reasonable enough, guy to know his limitations and what he’s capable of.  I think he’s aware of his reputation as being a sub par head coach on the professional level and will recognize this as his best opportunity to do something about it.  I think he has the right temperament/disposition to let Peyton come in and run the show on offense knowing that if it works out he (Carroll) will look like a genius and completely rewrite his NFL legacy and if it doesn’t, he’s no worse for the wear.

Plus, San Fran won that division last year.  I know they had a great season and I was personally rooting for them to win just about every game they played (except the NFC championship against the Giants of course) but does anyone really think “dynasty” when they look at the ‘Niners?  I know I don’t.  I don’t see them as the cream of the crop in the NFC west for years to come, so the Seahawks with Peyton could easily wind up winning that division next year.

If not the Seattle then I say Arizona for much of the same reasons as Seattle.  They have a better defense and Larry Fitzgerald would be the most talented WR that Peyton ever played with.  I know this is one of the favorites among the “experts” but I give Seattle the edge purely based on the Pete Carroll factor.

Next up Miami.  Being a Miami fan in no way would I be disappointed to see him in the orange and teal.  I just think new head coach (and former Packer’s OC) Joe Philbin wants to bring in his guy, Matty Flynn, who’s a full decade younger than Peyton.  I have a hard time rating my QB wish list.  IF Philbin knows enough about Flynn to definitively say he is the “real deal” (and he better know, either way) then I rank Flynn 1a and Manning a close 1b. 

Next on the list is my sleeper.  One I haven’t heard mentioned anywhere else, the Tennessee Titans.  They have one of the best rb’s in the league (C.Johnson) and always have a solid O-line and defense. I know they took Locker in the first round last year but if everyone is in agreement that at 36 Manning has at most 3-4 years left in the tank, then they should have no problem sitting him ( Locker) so he can learn from one of the game’s all-time greats.  Again, it mostly boils down to the fact that with the addition of Peyton, the AFC South is a winnable division.  And, don’t discount the fact that Manning would be able to beat up on the Colts twice a year for the foreseeable future while they rebuild.

So there you have it, my Peyton Manning sweepstakes analysis.  Agree or disagree?

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