Archive for the ‘Peyton Manning’ Category

Every week it is proclaimed that Peyton Manning is back, and then the next week he’s even more back. Soon enough he’ll be so back that time will actually move backwards, and he’ll just rejoin the Colts. I’m not sure what would come of Andrew Luck in this cosmic scenario, but I do know that Benjamin Button eventually becomes a baby and then dies.

We know that Manning has been really, really ridiculously good looking, especially this past Sunday when he seemed to remember how to throw a deep ball, and especially when he gives us two million free pizzas. Fantasy owners are rather pleased, as despite his age and the overwhelming concern about his health prior to this season, Manning is the fifth-highest overall scorer using standard ESPN scoring (142 points). That’s 15 more points than Arian Foster, who was widely a first overall pick.

But is he truly, really, seriously back? Instead of just speculating and wondering, I thought I’d do some real reporting (rare, yes) and ask someone who’s watched nearly every throw from Manning since he became a Bronco. Cecil Lammey comes aboard for this week’s Five Questions. He’s the NFL insider for ESPN Denver, a senior writer at Football Guys, and the host of their excellent and thorough podcast (The Audible).

Before getting to Manning we also discussed the fantasy values of the backup quarterbacks for the Jets and Eagles if widely-speculated moves are eventually made with Michael Vick and Mark Sanchez. And what of this Ronnie Hillman fellow who broke out Sunday night? That also seems like a good question for a Broncos insider.

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There are times when I ask you to close your eyes, and it’s not because I plan to do anything illicit or scaring. No, consider it an exercise of sorts, one that jump starts the mind and ignites the memory.

You see, our week-to-week fantasy game often leads to week-to-week panic or elation, and little in between. This is fine, and this is expected, because that rigid range of emotion is directly linked to your outcome on any given week, and which column it fell under. A win or a loss is all that matters on a Monday night once the week has concluded, and often how you arrived at that conclusion is irrelevant.

The problem, though, is that polarizing attitude feeds a narrative machine, a grotesque beast that’s already feasting off the soul of every man. Earlier this season we saw an example of this snap reaction at work when it was determined that Peyton Manning’s arm strength was on par with Chad Pennington’s in his prime. That came after two regular-season games from a quarterback who had recovered from four next surgeries over a two-year span. It came after Manning had sat out for over a season, and it came after he played only minimally during the preseason, attempting very few passes that tested his arm strength deep down the field.

Keep your eyes closed, and remember how worried your were at the time. Remember the words and wisdom of Jason Whitlock, who proclaimed that Manning “is toast”. Now open them, and watch replays from last night.

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No arm strength. A lack of confidence. He’s done.

Yes, I just channeled my inner Jason Whitlock – fun in small doses – but he wasn’t alone. Peyton Manning was written off after a spectacularly poor performance against the Atlanta Falcons two weeks ago. Though the scab referees and their inability to do their jobs overshadowed the proceedings, Manning’s three interceptions coupled with an alarming inability to throw the deep ball was the biggest takeaway from that Monday night encounter.

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Everyone needs a hug sometimes.

Peyton Manning could do no wrong in Week 1 as he dropped the curtain on the Steelers defense throw after throw, play after play.

Three plays into Week 2, he did it all wrong by throwing a costly interception in his own territory. Another three plays passed, another interception came. Then the third drive started and quickly ended with, you guessed it, another interception. He seemed to be rushing with his reads and, dare I say, confused. Both of these problems were the result of a roaming Atlanta Falcons defense, a unit that seemed as confused as Manning was until the snap — when they knew everything and where every throw was going.

So, what exactly was Manning looking at as he dropped back?

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There’s a problem with Peyton Manning. It’s not tied to his arm, or his neck, or his physical condition after his first two competitive football games following a season of surgery and rehab. No, the problem is with the expectations for his 2012 season, and the buyer’s remorse they may already be creating.

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Even without James Harrison healthy, PeytonManning has a horrible matchup against Pittsburgh.

Week 1. Soak it up, drink it in, or eat it if you wish. Right now, I’m more excited than a duck enthusiast who was just chillin’ and strolling in the woods, and happened upon 2,000 ducks. I’m more excited than a kid who accomplished the life-altering feat of beating Super Mario 3 in 11 minutes. And I’m more excited than a fat guy who busted a bag of chips in space, and can now float around weightlessly while gaining weight.

Normal folk have that kind of excitement for the opening week of a new season, with all the hope and all the new beginnings and stuff. Fantasy folk have that too, plus some. Sure, the season technically started Wednesday, but that was one game on one night, and it never truly feels like a new year is upon us until the first Sunday, when I can not move for upwards of 12 hours and watch multiple games due to my deft remote control skills.

You spent months analyzing and scrutinizing your draft rankings, an effort that peaked in August when you assembled the best team possible. Now it’s time to see how those decisions play out, and to begin to play a game in earnest in which you usually have a one in 10 or one in 12 chance of success. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have while feeling deep shame.

So welcome to the 2012 NFL season and fantasy season, and welcome to our weekly preview. Please, come with us as we meander through some of the good and awful matchups — an exercise that may result in me eating crow, my favorite meal — in addition to forecasting the best and worst case scenarios for two key players, and many other fun and wonderful adventures.

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I went through a brief phase early in high school when I thought owning and wearing shirts that say stupid things was cool, clever, and more awesome than anything I could possibly do in my life.

There was the proverbial “Student Crossing” shirt, and at the time I didn’t know it would come in handy for safety purposes a few years later. There was also the “I’m not as think as you drunk I am” shirt. Instant classic.

But the real gem of the collection was a shirt that depicted Pikachu at the height of the popularity of those magical little gremlin-like Pokemon creatures, and he was smoking an illegal substance of some kind that made his eyes turn red. Woah boy, I was the funniest kid to ever eat lunch alone.

There were others who dabbled in the art of stupid shirt humor, of course, and those who wore such immature attire at a time when immaturity is very much expected knew that there was risk involved. Teachers didn’t appreciate or understand such original and novel comedy as the creative Pikachu artistic rendering, and they then took the shirt away and forced you to wear a community sweater for the day that doubles as a microscopic village where head lice make babies. Dirty T-shirt wearers are rebels, man.

There’s a Colorado school district in which proudly wearing a No. 18 Peyton Manning jersey isn’t a show of support for the Broncos in the days before a new era begins amid the excitement over a new season, and Manning’s regular season Denver debut. Nope, it’s associated with violence because, you know, gangs.

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