Archive for the ‘Quarterback’ Category

Will Sunday be Peyton Manning’s last game?

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Probably the most intriguing and perhaps biggest regular season football game in Indianapolis Colts history will take place Sunday night when the Colts take on the Denver Broncos, or more accurately, when the Colts take on Peyton Manning.

Its an obvious observation to say that Peyton Manning is an Indianapolis icon, and easily the biggest sports star to ever play in Indiana’s capital city. But a year and a half ago, with his health and career in question, he emotionally announced he was leaving the Colts, and as a result he left a city divided and many of his fans in mourning.

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Few things in life are more satisfying than a real good “I told you so!” And right now I’m feeling pretty satisfied about Russell Wilson, the undersized, rookie quarterback, who on Sunday led the visiting Seattle Seahawks to a playoff victory over the Washington Redskins.

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I’m in the camp that says the MVP award has already been locked up by the Vikings all-world running back, Adrian Peterson, who after a devastating knee injury a year ago is by any measure having one of the most astounding seasons in the history of the NFL and is the only real offensive threat the Vikings have.

But in an age when passing dominates the offensive game plan and running backs are seen as an interchangeable dime a dozen, Adrian Peterson is the decided underdog in the MVP race. While I understand that this is the way things are these days, it doesn’t mean I have to like it or accept it.

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He’s 32 years old now and his debut seems long ago. And so far Michael Vick has failed to achieve those lofty expectations. Now the clock appears to be ticking down on a career that can at best be described as a disappointment.Yes, there have been truly unforgettable, sensational moments, when Vick has done the seemingly unbelievable, by either running or throwing the ball. But there are also huge gaps in-between, marked by inexplicable fumbles, untimely interceptions and numerous injuries.

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Two other rookie quarterbacks, the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck and the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, have drawn most of the attention this season. They are much taller and thus deemed more NFL ready than Russell Wilson. And because of that they were drafted number one and number two overall in this year’s draft.

But don’t be surprised if “little” Russell Wilson, drafted in the third round, turns out to be better than both of them, and maybe even become a future Drew Brees.

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This has easily been the biggest sports decision ever made in Indiana’s capital city. But deciding to release Manning, who has had at least four “procedures” or surgeries on his neck in two years, has ramifications that loom far beyond the stately, retractable roof, downtown football stadium that Manning’s greatness helped build.

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This also isn’t about the money. Not really. Yes, there are 28 million reasons why the Indianapolis Colts need to think long and hard about whether to pay Manning the bonus he is due the first week of March. The clock is ticking on that. This is really more about honor and doing the right thing.
This is why in the end, it should come down to Peyton Manning truly understanding what the right thing to do is.

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I find myself torn by what’s become of Donovan McNabb, whose enigmatic career now appears to be on its last legs after being placed on waivers Thursday by the Minnesota Vikings. This is the third time in two years that a team has given up on him. It is not the way a former star quarterback wants to be remembered.

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With Sunday’s overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers, the Denver Broncos are now 5 – 1 this season with Tim Tebow leading the way and are now legitimately in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Perhaps victories will begin to quiet the skeptical team president who continues to have doubts about his quarterback.

Still, I hope John Elway will finally acknowledge what is becoming apparent – that something special is happening to the Denver Broncos now that Tim Tebow has taken the reigns.

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On Sunday once again Tebow proved that for now his legs are more valuable than his arm. He only completed two of eight passes for 69 yards in Denver’s 17 -10 win over Kansas City. And while he completed only two passes, one of them went for a touchdown. He also ran 9 times for 43 yards. As a team Denver gained 244 yards on the ground.

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I got another chance to see University of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson on Saturday. He starred in the Badger’s 62-17 drubbing of Purdue. Wilson continues to pass my “eyeball-test”. There simply has not been a better college quarterback this year. Based on what I’ve seen he’s been even better than Stanford’s Andrew Luck, who is considered by many to be college football’s top quarterback and the NFL’s next great passer.

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It has been a charmed decade for the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL’s winningest team during that streatch, but fortunes can change in an instant. This is one of those times. The team that just a few short years ago won a Super Bowl and narrowly missed winning another, is now the worst team in the league. These days the Colts appear inept and literally defenseless.

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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has a problem, a big one. What happened on the sideline last Sunday in the freezing cold of Chicago, as his Bears teammates struggled on the field, may forever taint Cutler’s career. I don’t think in all the years I have watched football that I have witnessed a player whose actions or better yet, inactions, were so grossly misunderstood.

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If Roethlisberger makes it to the Super Bowl again, that will mean his playoff record balloons to a remarkable 10 – 2, one of the all-time best playoff records for a quarterback in NFL history. By comparison, Peyton Manning has a playoff record of 9 – 10 and only one Super Bowl victory.

If Pittsburgh wins the next two games, Roethlisberger will then match Tom Brady for Super Bowl wins with three. Big Ben will only be 29 years old this March, leaving lots of years left to win more Super Bowls and perhaps surpass Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. What will we think if Roethlisberger wins five or six Super Bowls by the time he retires? Where will he rank then in the hierarchy of great quarterbacks?

I think it means that this hulk of a passer, with a face that perhaps only his mother can love, will have to be considered one of the greatest “winners” to ever play the game, whether any of us likes it or not.

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