Peyton Manning: Always expect the unexpected

Peyton Manning

Peyton ManningThrough a string of recent comeback attempts that didn’t pay off, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning kept talking about working through the adversity.

The work paid off Monday, as the Broncos took advantage of a hailstorm of turnovers by the Chargers to score 35 unanswered points in the second half for a huge win.
According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, it was Manning’s 47th game winning drive in the fourth quarter, tying him with Dan Marino for most in NFL history.
“I’ve been a part of some comebacks and you have to have all three phases contribute,” Manning said. “You’ve got to have a tipped ball or a bounce go your way.”
The Broncos got some breaks, with fumbles and interceptions returned for touchdowns. But this was about Manning too, after he went 24-of-30 passing for 309 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. But you couldn’t tell it from his muted reaction, which amazed teammates.
“I’ve never been part of a comeback like that,” tight end Joel Dreessen said. “Peyton, that guy is so humble. I tried to get him fired up about this. I was shaking him, and saying, “What do you think about this, man?’
“All he said was, ‘Good job. Good job.’ “ Read more…

Peyton Manning’s return gives huge ratings boost

Pittsburgh Steelers v Denver Broncos

Last year, Tim Tebow made the Denver Broncos a big television draw. This year,Peyton Manning has made the Broncos an even bigger draw.

NBC announced this morning that the Broncos’ victory over the Steelers on Sunday night, in Manning’s first game back after a year off, yielded an overnight rating of 18.0, which is the highest rating for any prime time regular-season game ever on NBC. The previous best was a 17.7 rating for the 2010 kickoff game, which was an NFC Championship Game rematch between the Super Bowl champion Saints and Brett Favre’s Vikings.

The Steelers-Broncos rating is up 8 percent from last year’s first Sunday Night Football game, the Cowboys at the Jets. That game drew a 16.9 rating.

The huge TV ratings are evidence of Manning’s stardom, but also another reminder of the incredible popularity of the NFL. In a 500-channel world where TV ratings are in decline for basically everything, the NFL seems immune to that decline. The record ratings numbers just keep coming. Read more…

Is your team’s quarterback at risk for injury in 2012?

Most experts regard the quarterback position as the most important in all of sports. If your team has a great quarterback, a trip to the playoffs is likely. However, a great quarterback does nothing for the team while wearing a sling. Which quarterbacks need to prove that they can stay healthy in 2012?

Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos

Manning has never been chronically injured. However, he did miss all 16 games last season in his final year with the Indianapolis Colts. At the age of 36, he is entering a phase of his career when even a nagging injury will take longer to heal. Considering that he needed three neck fusion surgeries (there was a fourth procedure that went unreported) to get back into playing shape, he may be one hit away from missing all of this season as well. If that happens, the Broncos may be toast. No one thinks Caleb Hanie or Brock Osweiler can lead a team to the playoffs.

Matt Schaub – Houston Texans

Matt Schaub has played in 11 or fewer games in three out of his five seasons with the Texans. Last season, Houston was forced to finish the season with rookie T.J Yates at the quarterback position. He fared OK for a rookie, but Schaub is clearly the type of player at quarterback that the Texans need to lead a balanced attack. In his absence, the Texans have been forced to put more of the burden on running backs Adrian Foster and Ben Tate. If healthy, Schaub has the ability to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season without much effort. Read more…

5 Fantasy Football players that are overrated relative to ADP

Andre Johnson is Overrated in Fantasy Football They say you can’t win your fantasy football league on draft day, but you certainly can lose it. As I said before, fantasy football is all about value. You want to maximize the value of each and every pick. Every time you draft a player a fantasy football bust who doesn’t perform to his draft position, you’re at a disadvantage.

With that said, here are five fantasy football players that I think are overrated in drafts right now.

1. Maurice Jones-Drew (ADP: 8.5)

Jones-Drew was great last season, but his stats were a bit inflated by a four touchdown game and a 169 yard game in Week 17 when most fantasy leagues don’t play (also his only game with over 125 rushing yards). I’m not sold on Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars offense to keep defenses honest and his holdout doesn’t help his cause. I wouldn’t take Jones-Drew in the first round.

2. Peyton Manning (ADP: 53.6)

He’s had four surgeries on his neck. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what would. One hit and his season and career could be over. Now you can say that about any player, but if I’m a Manning owner every time he gets I’m holding my breath and praying he gets up.Quarterback is too deep for me to take a chance on Manning.  Read more here…

Note: ADP Data from FantasyPros.com

Colts GM: Luck as advertised but he isn’t Peyton

Andrew Luck

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Andrew Luck won’t make his preseason debut until Sunday, but Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson has already seen enough to feel confident that the No. 1 overall pick was well spent.

Asked what he has learned about Luck in training camp, Grigson channeled Dennis Green in his answer, saying, “That he really is what we thought he was.”
Grigson said he’s excited about seeing Luck in live game action, because he’s already seen just in practice what a competitor Luck is.  Read more…

Peyton still not dialing it up deep

Peyton Manning

Broncos fans welcomed Peyton Manning to his first training camp in Denver with record attendance and all kinds of excitement. He has energized the organization and its fan base. But as we alluded to in our Denver Broncos season preview, unanswered questions about the 36-year-old quarterback remain.

Manning, who underwent four separate neck surgeries between March 2 of 2010 and September 9 of 2011, didn’t do a whole lot of deep-ball passing in OTAs and minicamps. In early July, Mike Klis of the Denver Post guessed Manning was 85 to 90 percent healthy, before suggesting Peyton might never rediscover the remaining 10 to 15 percent. Manning’s arm strength is a question mark, and he hasn’t answered it yet in training camp.

“Manning has looked better than most people believed he would so far,” ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported on SportsCenter Monday morning. ”But here is a little bit of context: Yes, he’s looked good at the line of scrimmage. His balls have had zip. And the majority of them have been caught. But most of those balls have been short and intermediate, with only a handful of them long.”

2012 AFC West NFL season preview

peyton-manningFor years, the San Diego Chargers stood as the most fearsome team in the AFC West. The combination of Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson dominated the division. Tomlinson and the team ultimately parted ways in 2010, and since then the division has been somewhat shaky and completely up for grabs. That was never more evident than last season, when three teams in the division finished 8-8 and the Chiefs only finished one game behind at 7-9. Teams from the AFC West will face off against the NFC South and AFC North this season, two divisions that are loaded with talented teams.

As 2011 came to a close, all four teams seemed to be in similar positions, with the Chargers standing as the only team without a question mark at the quarterback position. That all changed when the Colts released Peyton Manning, though. Denver swooped in and signed the four-time MVP.  Read More…

Manning not 100 percent but still wowing teammates

Peyton Manning emphasized that he is not 100 percent, but he has his Denver Broncos teammates convinced that whatever percent he is physically, that that could be plenty good enough.

“I can’t emphasize enough that I still have rehab to do,” Manning told USA Today. “That’s still part of the process.”

Despite the on-going recovery process from the neck surgery that cost him all of last season with Indianapolis, Manning has impressed his new teammates in Denver, even ones who have been around the block a few times like veteran cornerback Champ Bailey. Bailey raved about Manning’s 35-yard TD toss to Demaryius Thomas in Tuesday’s workout.  Read More…

Peyton Manning looks sharp in practice for Broncos

Peyton Manning Broncos

Peyton Manning is the only four-time MVP in NFL history, he’s hoisted a Super Bowl trophy and hosted “Saturday Night Live.”
Yet, he’s never faced scrutiny quite like this.
“I’ve never had to comment before on incompletions in practice, so this is new to me,” the Denver Broncos quarterback said with a chuckle when peppered with questions about some errant deep throws Monday.
“I will say that when you are throwing deep balls, the idea is to take your shot. It’s not the highest percentage play but we’re going to keep throwing them,” Manning said. “As they always say, in a game if you throw five deep balls and you complete one of them, that’s actually a great thing. I mean, you’re taking a shot and trying to send a message to the defense to hopefully back them off.”
Coach John Fox also had some fun with the media’s steely-eyed focus on the Manning’s timing with his receivers on deeper routes.
“You guys obviously pay a little more attention to that than I do, but I think our passing game is way further along than it was this time a year ago, obviously, because we weren’t even here,” Fox said. “Again, we’re not keeping stats now, we’re just installing and getting guys a comfort level.” Read more here…

Cleveland Browns’ Trent Richardson: The next Cadillac Williams?

Trent RichardsonI read an article that was put out by BleacherReport.com, saying that they expect for the Cleveland Browns to use Trent Richardson a lot. A lot like the Tennessee Titans used Eddie George

Trent Richardson has the body, collegiate production and powerful skill set to become a genuine workhorse runner in the NFL. He’ll play an Eddie George throwback-type of role for the Cleveland Browns next season and beyond.

And frankly, he should.

George was the last successful true workhorse back in the NFL. He carried the ball over 311 times every year he spent with the Tennessee Titans, from 1996 to 2003. He made the Pro Bowl four times and was an All-Pro in 1999 and 2000.

There was no questioning that George was the focal point of the Titans offense during his time with the team. And it didn’t matter if opposing defenses knew he was getting the ball 30 times or more—they couldn’t stop him.

Expect the same for Richardson in Cleveland.  Read More…

 

Got luck, Andrew will need it to replace an NFL icon

Andrew LuckAndrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts has all eyes on him by the fans, organization and critics. The pressure of being the first pick in the draft is immense. Some will watch in support, others to critique and criticize.  Now imagine you’re the first pick and a quarterback.  The target on your back just increased tenfold as now you will touch the ball nearly every offensive play.  But why stop there?  Let’s take it a step further.  What if you are the No. 1 overall draft pick, a quarterback, and the replacement of an NFL icon?  All of a sudden the weight of the world is on your shoulders because now not only must you contend with expectations but you will also always draw comparisons to your predecessor.  And in this case, it’s none other than Mr. Quarterback himself, Peyton Manning.

Manning was the Colts’ starting quarterback and the undeniable face of the franchise for the past 14 seasons.  Yes, he on played 13 of those but even in his absence he was talked more about than his hapless team that went 2-14 without him.  All that Manning has accomplished during his tenure as a Colt is to amass 54,828 passing yards, a 64.9 completion percentage, 399 touchdown passes, and a career QB rating of 94.9.  Not to mention two Super Bowl appearances with one win, four league MVP’s and 11 Pro Bowls.  Those numbers are staggering and will be staring Luck in the face right alongside opposing NFL defenses.  Talk about intimidation.

If you look at NFL history Luck will need more than just Luck to replace Peyton Manning.  He’ll need the right pieces in place around him.  Not having those pieces is why the Dolphins have never replaced Dan Marino, the Broncos John Elway, or the Cowboys Troy Aikman.  Each of those quarterbacks was great, but let’s not forget that there was talent around them to compliment their respective skill sets.  The same is true for Manning who had guys like Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark on offense.  And even with that, it wasn’t until the Colts put an emphasis on defense that they finally got over the hump and won a Super Bowl.

So can Luck successfully replace an NFL icon?  Yes, but it will be an uphill battle from day one.  Don’t look at the model put in place by the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers’ replacement of Brett Favre.  Rodgers had the luxury of sitting behind Favre for three seasons before taking the reins of a team that had just gone to the NFC Championship.  A quick step back after the insertion of Rodgers and the Packers were ready to contend again.  In the case of Indianapolis, the team is a mess and still has questions to answer as to who their head coach will be and the future status of Manning.

After that, all eyes and hopes for the future of the franchise will turn towards a not so lucky QB out of Stanford; Andrew Luck.  Good luck!

Aaron Moon is the CEO for The Sports Blitz.  He can be followed on Facebook and Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth.