Archive for the ‘Peyton Manning’ Category

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Wide receivers are not created and groomed to be one thing. Some have skills that are more widespread, while others excel and thrive in a certain area. Neither approach is incorrect, but for those who watch, analyze, and discuss football, the end result gives us arguably the offensive position that has the most varied skill set.

If we were to make an attempt to simplify this, there’s often the pure speed burner (think Victor Cruz, or going further back, Randy Moss in his prime), the hulking physical brute who will beat you up over the middle (Anquan Boldin), and the shifty slot pest (Wes Welker).

But then what complicates matters — at least for defensive coordinators — are the hybrids. The rare and uniquely constructed Calvin Johnsons who do all of those things at a high level: the blazing, the battling, and the elusiveness.

Demaryius Thomas is one of those receivers.

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Wes Welker was never supposed to leave New England. He was supposed to stay there for the remainder of his career, catching passes from best-friend-forever Tom Brady and terrorizing defenses with first down after first down.

Now he’s in Denver, where quarterback maestro Peyton Manning fools defenders with hand signals and slings the football around a mile high into the air. Like in New England, Welker is expected to quickly gel with his quarterback en route to whipping linebackers and nickelbacks from the slot, a position that he’s helped transcend over the course of six years.

As you might guess, not much will change in Denver. He’s once again going to catch dozens of passes — though the number could slightly drop because of the surrounding weapons — by separating with lateral agility and short-area quickness, two unique traits he possesses.

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Remember that time a few minutes ago when I was dismayed that something cool and fun wasn’t available for my posting delight at this mid morning hour? The Internet wins again.

Often throughout each NFL season we hear tales of Peyton Manning’s remarkable dedication to detail which borders on insanity. He’s probably far more dedicated to his job than anything you or I will ever do in our lives. That’s not anything to be ashamed of, as it’s just a fact of life.

Manning spoke at a coaching clinic in April, and Joe Harrington — who’s been the video coordinator at the University of Tennessee for over two decades, including Manning’s time there — was present too. Which is good, because it gave him a platform to tell this story which comes to us from Dr. Saturday (via CoachingSearch.com):

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“That’s what we call rule No.1 that you never do. But when you’re in your 15th year, you kind of just say ‘who gives a shit’”

That same move ended rather poorly in overtime this past Saturday against the Ravens on another pass intended for Brandon Stokley.

As I’ve written repeatedly, Manning deserves your scorn, just like Brett Favre did, and just like any quarterback who throws a game-ending interception does. But while you’re leading that hate campaign please recall that if Rahim Moore remembered how to play with basic fundamentals with 30 seconds left and the Ravens out of timeouts, Manning wouldn’t have had a chance to make his horrible overtime read that resulted in another cross-body throw, and an interception by Corey Graham which led to Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal a few plays later.

A hard shoulder pad slap to our own Joseph Casciaro

I know what you’re thinking. Obvious headline says obvious thing.

Anyone who watched Saturday’s game could blatantly see that Peyton Manning wore down late in the fourth quarter and as the game went into overtime, and then into a second overtime. I’m still having a hard time processing the fact that we all watched a playoff game that spilled into a sixth quarter this weekend. More generally, I’m having a hard time processing a lot of the amazing-ness we witnessed this weekend, because much of it didn’t seem possible. But I digress.

While it’s easy for us to acknowledge and accept what our eyes tell us, some numbers to support those observations are always handy. And now we have some.

Deadspin’s Brian Burke charted Manning’s deep throwing — or a lack thereof — and here’s what he found:

For whatever reason—possibly the cold weather having some effect on his grip—Manning did not appear to have the velocity needed for deep passes. Only 2 of his 43 attempts went more than 15 yards downfield. (Quarterbacks typically throw about 20 percent of their passes deep downfield, and Manning averaged 19 percent in the regular season).

The weather element there is vital, though it will get overlooked during the rush to label Manning as the losingest loser who ever lost. Joe Flacco was effected by the bitter Denver cold too, as was everyone Saturday, from the players to the schmuck in section 526 who neglected to wear his double layered thermal underwear. However, he didn’t seem to be effected by it quite as deeply as Manning, especially not on the final minute game-tying touchdown.

This doesn’t change the fact that blaming Manning and only Manning is simply ludicrous, and much more importantly, it’s also hurtful to football. By doing that, and by looking back at a football game through only the prism of black and white, true or false, and win and loss, you’re killing all intelligent football discussion. This is a game played by 11 men on each side, with chaos occurring on each snap. I despise the “wins” stat in any sport, and will pounce on every opportunity to rant against it. But at least we can look at, say, baseball and see a sport where every play begins with a one-on-one battle (pitcher vs. hitter). In football, there are 11 different one-on-one battles, and then when there’s a change in possession, an all new set of battling begins between 11 new bodies on each side.

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This is the moment Peyton Manning lost the game. Wait, what?

Admit it, you want to blame Peyton Manning. You want to assign him all of the blame for a playoff overtime loss, and watch him wallow in his #Manningface depression. You don’t think he’s worthy of MVP consideration anymore either, because who the hell under throws a pass that badly during OT? (no, narratives don’t care that the MVP is a regular-season award).

If the above doesn’t apply to you, good. You’re better than this hack, and the lord of the curmudgeons.

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We’ll have a more extensive and likely ranting reaction to the lunacy we all just witnessed in Denver as soon as I think it’s safe to rise to a proper sitting position again. For now, here’s what your face will usually do when you throw a playoff overtime interception that leads to a massive upset at home.

Hashtag Manning face.