Peyton Manning & The Colts: A Response

This is a response to my latest post, “The Decision: Peyton Manning Edition” found here. This response comes from an old friend of mine, Alex Hoffman, who grew up on the same street as me. He’s been a die-hard Indianapolis Colts fan for as long as I can remember, so he offers a bit more insight into what the Colts should do with Manning and the rest of the team.

 

As a true Colts fan, and as someone who knows the NFL and sports in general, I feel the best thing is to let Peyton Manning go. It’s mostly about the money. The Colts are paying someone as great as he is $28 million this upcoming season and guaranteeing the remaining money and years for a QB that might never play at his level again.

That’s a risk that a mid-market team can’t afford.

We have the golden opportunity to draft the next “Elway or Manning” so why ruin or disrupt that? Manning’s rookie season the Colts went 3-13 and the next year they won the division and went 13-3. Any true fan will take 30 great years of QB play in exchange for one bad year.

From an unbiased point of view, I think that Manning is the greatest player of our generation because of everything he means and “meant” to the Colts. Look at 2008 when Tom Brady was out with an injury… the Patriots went 11-5 and barely missed the playoffs. That’s not a knock on Brady or the Pats, but they can win without him in there. This season with Manning out, Indy finished 2-14.

I’m a Colts fan through and through but the more I take a step back and look at it from a business and fan standpoint, Manning needs to leave to improve Indianapolis. This should be done as quickly and seamlessly as possible, with Peyton knowing that he will always have a chance to work with the franchise after he retires.

The other big key is what the Colts do on defense and offense. Do they resign Reggie Wayne or Robert Mathis and other key veterans?

They need to re-sign Reggie, who has already stated he wants to stay there. He’s still a top 7-10 WR in the NFL and will greatly help Luck grow and mature while helping the team’s young wide receivers. I also think Indy will re-work Dwight Freeney’s contract by adding more years (1 year left) and lowering the cap hit for this 2012 season.

It’s clearly transition time, the Colts put everything on the table with Manning and I’m happy they did, but they lost this hand. It will take a year or two rebuild those chips we had for the past decade but I’m confident that we can get there.

In summary, I feel that Indy will release manning due to: a) his health (he can’t throw completely without pain) and b) his money owed. They also have major decisions to make on Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, and Robert Mathis as unrestricted free agents. Other important questions include what to do with MLB Gary Brackett who has a large deal but is hurt lately, and also SS Melvin Bullett who is frequently hurt as well.

Both Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay are upset with how the media is taking everything and blowing it up, but it will get solved. I trust both to do what’s best for Manning and the Colts franchise, but it is the end of an era. In sports these days, we rarely see a Derek Jeter or Chipper Jones that will remain with their team and be the face of their franchise for their whole career.

It’s nice to see that my opinion on Manning wasn’t completely out of left field, especially seeing a similar perspective from a Colts fan. It’s also cool to take a deeper look at what the team needs to do to regain the glory days of the past decades. It might take a while but I agree with Alex, and think the Colts will eventually return to prominence…just as long as they don’t beat the Broncos in the playoffs every year!


Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Decision: Peyton Manning Edition

One thing that has become abundantly clear for the past two weeks, and I’ve noticed it especially the last few days after scouring for Super Bowl Media Day sound for updates, is that Peyton Manning is stealing the headlines from the Super Bowl.

Dirty, dirty thief. Look at all of that (probably) stolen Gatorade!

Yes, I know that Pats Tight End Rob Gronkowski‘s ankle injury has also been a pretty big deal this week, especially since entire stories are being based off his walking boot, and whether he’s wearing it or not.

It's just a flesh wound!

But besides this, it’s been all about Peyton, Peyton’s future, Peyton’s team, and Peyton’s injury. I’ll throw in a few more for good measure…Peyton, Peyton, Peyton, Peyton, Peyton. It’s like he really just can’t help but steal the spotlight from his brother.

Can't you smell the animosity?

It does makes some sense though, since the Super Bowl is in Indy and is being played in the stadium that Peyton helped build, but come on! It’s the Super Bowl! There are plenty of story lines  to follow too. It’s not like this is a rematch of a classic Super Bowl from 2008 or anything. Or it’s not like one of the team’s loud-spoken defensive players announced that he was guaranteeing a win, right? Nope! What’s the Super Bowl? All I care about are my 2-14 Colts and our ailing QB.

Well fine, if that’s all you care about, then I’ll tell you why the Colts just need to let go of the best player in their franchise history.

Bye Bye Peyton

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first. Yes, I know that Peyton is one of the best quarterbacks of our generation, and could certainly be on the list of best quarterbacks of all time. His accuracy was (and probably still is) unmatched, and he found ways to win with a team around him that didn’t always have the best pieces (although that tandem of Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne was deadly).

With all of these accolades came a big paycheck, and that’s reason number one for why the Colts need to part ways with Manning. They’re about to get the number one pick in the draft, and everybody knows that they’re taking Andrew Luck, QB out of Stanford. Even after the lockout, the number one pick in the draft is still going to get paid a pretty penny for his talents. So, that leaves two quarterbacks, one paid exorbitantly and the second paid slightly less exorbitantly, on a team that just finished 2-14.

WOAH! Same team! Don't lunge at ME!

From a business standpoint, that’s a terrible allocation of your money. In order to improve as a team and get back to the Colts of old (no, not Baltimore old), the Colts need to get some talent surrounding the QB position. But, if they have all of this money locked up with two players, how can they afford to do that? The sensible thing would be to get rid of Manning because a) that’ll free up a ton more cap space, and b) how sure are we that he’ll ever be the same after his injury?

That leads me to my second point, his injury. There have been a ton of mixed reports about whether Peyton is getting better, or whether he’ll even have the ability to play again. I won’t pretend to fully understand his injury, but for those who have no idea what it is, he hurt his neck, and has had multiple surgeries to try and fix it. That doesn’t sound all that bad, except that the nerves in the neck lead down to your arms…so therefore Manning is having trouble with the nerves in his throwing arm. There are reports saying that his velocity is down considerably, which only leads me to believe that his injury is serious.

This is where the two tie together. You need the money to build a better team, the way to get that money is to cut ties with your biggest salary. And who should you cut? Well how about a guy who is injured and may never be the same again. Seems like the obvious choice to me.

I know that you have to take history and past performance into account, but when it comes to this, it’s all about the future. A 2-14 year is humbling for any team, and it kind of throws the past out of the window. It’s time for the Colts to move forward, draft Luck, make him their starter, deal with the bumps, and send Peyton on his way.

Although, for Peyton’s sake, I hope they discuss it first and he decides that he’ll retire, rather than being cut or released. That would be the wrong end to a career as stellar as his.

Musings!

I’ll stick with football for my musings, although it doesn’t really have to do much with the sport. But, man, how freakin’ awesome are the face-masks that Chris Canty and Justin Tuck have? Seriously, they look so bad-ass.

SO AWESOME!!!!!

ASDFKJASDFAKSDJFAS:LDKFJASDFKJ SO COOL!

I know, I know, I’m obsessed, but let me explain why. I’m an avid player of EA Sports NCAA Football games. In those games there’s a mode where you can create yourself and play as a certain position through your whole college career, and you can customize how you look and everything. In this year’s edition, they added a ton of different helmets and face-masks and I always try to find the coolest looking one….so seeing crazy awesome face-masks in real life is really cool. I mean, seriously though, these things are awesome. Not only does it offer ultimate protection (it’s like a castle wall for your face), but it also makes it harder for those O-Lineman they’re going against to grab their face-masks and deter them from the QB. Did I mention that they’re awesome? Just checkin’.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Duck Hunt: The NFL and Chip Kelly

Over the weekend, there was a big story that took the Oregon sports world by storm. There were rumors that turned into facts about Chip Kelly leaving the Ducks football program to bolt to the NFL and take the head coaching position of the Tampa Bay Bucs. For those of you living under a rock (or, really anywhere but the Pacific Northwest) I’ll give you a summary of what happened.

It Rains Here

Panic Ensues!

Twitter exploded as fans went through an extremely quick 5 stages of grief. At first there was extreme skepticism about one report making headlines (albeit it from a solid news source in KGW News Channel 8 out here in Portland). “I’ll believe it when I see it” was a quote thrown around quite a bit. I’ll call that the denial phase.

Washington Huskies fans came out in full force to pile on to the Ducks fans at the source of this news (for those who don’t know, Huskies/Ducks is the big rivalry out here in the upper reaches of our country). Ducks fans responded, in what I’ll call the anger phase.

The hate starts young

Then came the bargaining phase, as each fan was going around looking for a respectable replacement for Chip. Boise State coach Chris Petersen and TCU coach Gary Patterson were being bandied about as top options, but in all honesty I saw about 45 names posted as an option. (Yes, I know this doesn’t follow the exact definition of that phase, thanks for pointing that out all you psychology majors out there).

Then the depression and acceptance phases came together, as Ducks fans realized that their run atop the Pac-12 might be over, and that they’d have to install a new system and that the team might lose some of their great recruiting class (which includes six 4 star and 7 three star recruits).

When the media jumped in, many criticized Kelly’s move, saying that a) he was only leaving because he didn’t want to be caught when the NCAA investigation into the program turned up badly, and b) that Chip Kelly’s offense wouldn’t actually work in the NFL. I’ll get back to this point specifically in a second.

He kind of screams "I did something wrong"

The next morning, news came out that Kelly had officially accepted the deal, but then called Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer to say that “his heart was still in college and at Oregon” and that he had “unfinished business to attend to”. There was a huge collective sigh of relief out here, but one thing in this whole 24 hour ordeal really stuck with me and bothered me.

Chip’s offense not right for the NFL?

Many people came out and said that there was no way that Kelly’s offense could work in the NFL. They said that it was an offense made for college and an offense that would only work in college.

Side Note: For those who don’t know, Chip Kelly runs a glorified Spread offense..focusing on the no-huddle/hurry up offense and quick passes, shotgun option/zone read and pure team speed. For a more in-depth look, read this, or watch this:

Firstly, I understand the basis of college-type offenses not working in the NFL. You face three teams twice a year and you’re going up against the cream of the crop in terms of players and coaches. Kooky offenses will only work for so long (as seen by Miami’s Wildcat Offense or even my beloved Broncos Tim Tebow offense this year). For the Dolphins, it worked for much of the first season it was employed…and then teams started to figure it out and the Dolphins fell back to earth. For the Broncos, they went on a nice 7 or 8 game run with it this year, and then got smacked around at the end of the season and into the playoffs.

Although Kelly’s offense features the option zone read that the Broncos employed for much of this season, his offense would still work in the NFL, and here’s two reasons why: the no-huddle, and the players he’d have in the NFL.

I’ll start with the players. On the Ducks, he breeds his players to run the zone read right out of high school. In the end, this becomes the only offense they have practice in, so they run it very proficiently (see: Tim Tebow).

However, the downside of this is that they can’t do much else (see: Tim Tebow).

If Chip moved to the NFL, he’d discover a wealth of offensive players who, guess what, can throw the ball! Can run an offense that has a more complicated system! Would Kelly have to slightly change his system? Yes, but it would be for the better, he wouldn’t be locked into a zone option read offense that he teaches his players on the Ducks. He could actually get a bit more creative with the play calling while still keeping some of the option to keep defenses off-balance.

That leads me to my second point, the no-huddle. If you’ve ever seen Oregon play, you’ll see a game that is high scoring and close until around the third quarter, then the Ducks pull away and win by 20+ points. Why is that? Because the opposing teams defense just can’t do it anymore. Opposing teams aren’t built to deal with a no-huddle for four quarters. Once Kelly got his NFL players conditioned like he wants them…no team would be able to keep up with them. Of course the players in the NFL are in better shape…but then again you also have guys like Vince Wilfork.

His belly deserves it's own number

Can you imagine old Vince and his stomach making it against Kelly’s no-huddle? I think he’d wind up thirty yards behind the play and get called offsides…..every time.

Yes, I think NFL teams could adapt better to a Kelly-run offense, but I certainly don’t think it would fail in the NFL either. A mix of spread and option to keep the defense off-balance while they are trying to catch their breath would be devastating. At some point, I’m sure Chip will head to the NFL (sorry, Ducks fans), and you’ll see his offense take the sport by storm.

Musings!

Speaking of Ducks, here’s an underrated ‘This is Sportscenter’ commercial for ya.

The ‘This is Sportscenter’ campaign is one of my favorite ad campaigns of all time. I’m reading the ESPN book right now, and just got past the part where they talk about coming up with the idea and using Portland based Wieden + Kennedy (the makers of the Nike ‘Just Do It ‘ads) to make it. They couldn’t have picked a better ad company to do it, in my opinion. Almost every commercial is hilarious.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scapegoats: A Response. Why I’m Awesome, But Also Why I’m Too Mean.

This post is a response to my previous blog post “Scapegoats, Ted Ginn Jr., and Dubstep!” Which can be read here. It is written by my good friend and fellow blogger Jordan Freiman. You can read his blog here, and you can follow him on Twitter @SirJFryMan. From  here on out, anything italicized and green will be me, and anything not is, obviously, Jordan. 

Fans don’t just love to find that person to blame for their team’s loss, they have to. It’s a psychological need. Our brains like to make things rational and simple, finding balance and patterns where there often are none.

That’s why it’s so easy for us to blame one man for the loss of a football game. Surely this couldn’t be the outcome of a week of planning and practice, involving upwards of 200 people at any given time. That’s too complicated, and there’s no balance in that equation.

200 people, give or take

It’s so much easier to sit there and think, “this was the way it was supposed to happen, and that guy messed it up. Take him out, and everything would be totally fine.”

Of course, if we think about it for more than 3 seconds, that’s not how it works.

Mike, you made an excellent point by outlining all the different ways the Ravens let that game slip right through their fingers. (Why thank you.) If you win the turnover battle, and hold Tom Brady to no touchdowns and two interceptions, you should probably win that game. It can’t all fall on Cundiff, even though he totally should have made that kick.

If I were a Ravens fan, I would be much angrier with Lee Evans than Cundiff. Evans had the game winning TD in his hands, and he let it get jarred out by a defender that he had already beaten. You can say all you want about the great timing to swat the ball away, but you see this all the time in football games. Defensive backs are taught to swipe at a receiver’s hands when they catch the ball. They do it almost every play. More often than not, the receiver holds on. Evans didn’t. The Ravens lost. (Let it be known that Lee Evans is a former Buffalo Bill…if that kind of consistent failure means anything).

Cundiff’s kick wouldn’t even have assured the Ravens of a win. It would have only made it highly probable that the game would go to overtime. Baltimore still could have easily lost given the extra time.

And I agree that Cundiff’s kick will eventually be forgotten. It may take a while. It all depends on future success of course. It didn’t take all that long for me to get over Desean Jackson’s walk off punt return against the Giants because a season later, we’re in the Super Bowl.

You came down pretty harsh on Kyle Williams of the San Francisco 49ers though, and it’s hard not to. He turned the ball over twice, both times giving the Giants great field position, which they converted, into 10 points.

I don’t think Williams lost the game for the 49ers though.

As an aside, I wonder how many Niners fans think that first punt never touched Williams. It certainly looked like it did to me, but I was rooting pretty hard for Big Blue. Williams still doesn’t think it touched him, and I bet there are plenty of San Francisco fans who think the same. (From an unbiased perspective, that one replay clearly showed the ball hitting his knee and changing directions. I know the other two were inconclusive, but the third replay was pretty damn convincing to me).

"WHAT AM I DOING!?!?!?"

But again, I look at those plays and I wonder, if those had gone “according to plan,” would the Niners have won that game? The answer — just like with Cundiff’s kick — is a pretty resounding “umm…maybe?”

After all, you really can’t brush aside 1 – 12 on third down. Especially when the 1 came on the last play of regulation when the Giants only goal was to keep the ball out of their endzone (SUCCESS!). Who’s to say San Francisco would have done anything with those possessions?

I remember at one point during that game, with about 4:30 left in regulation, and the score tied at 17, Joe Buck made a comment about neither team knowing how many more possessions they would get. After he said that, both teams possessed the ball at least 4 times each.

Now suddenly, if Williams holds onto that last punt, the Niners are going to put a drive together and end the game? Hey, it could have happened. Or they could have gone three and out, punted, and the Giants could have won the game on their next drive.

The point is, the Niners may have lost the game because of Williams, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t going to lose anyway. That’s an important aspect of blame that people often overlook. (Very true, and I may not have given the Giants defense enough credit in my original post. However, the way I was looking at it, if nothing else had changed, and Kyle Williams hadn’t fumbled twice…Niners would have won).

If Lee Evans holds onto that ball in the endzone, the Ravens have about a 99% chance of winning that game.

If Cundiff hits the field goal, the Ravens have about a 50% chance of winning.

Don’t Blame Cundiff. Blame Evans for dropping a game-winner. Blame the coaches for not calling time out.

If Williams holds onto that punt, the Niners have about a 50% chance of winning.

Don’t blame Williams. Blame the entire San Francisco team, whose offensive game plan consisted of hoping Vernon Davis beat the coverage (which he did…TWICE! WHAT THE HELL PERRY FEWELL!? WHAT THE HELL!?).

We all need to blame our sorrows and misfortunes on someone else, but we should be considerate, and at least place the blame where it belongs.

I’m not absolving Cundiff and Williams of any wrongdoing. Both of them cost their teams a chance to go the Super Bowl. But the losses can’t rest entirely on their shoulders.

Thoughtful and well written. If you want more thoughtful and well written blog posts about music and other things, head on over to Jordan’s blog (here it is again). Expect to see some more of his posts on this site, as well as some posts of mine on his!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scapegoats, Tedd Ginn Jr, and Dubstep

Kyle Williams doing his best Tiki Barber impression

Ah, scapegoats. Every fan loves to find that person to blame for their teams loss. In most cases it happens to be a player on said fan’s favorite team, but other times it might be some poor sap who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bill Buckner, of course, will always be one of the most famous scapegoats on the player side for his astounding display of fielding against the Mets in the 1986 World Series.

My personal most hated player scapegoat would have to be Javier Vazquez for his first inning in game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. Watching Johnny Damon (starring as Jesus) circle the bases after that grand slam haunts me to this day.

On the poor sap side? Well that’d be Steve Bartman.

That play started a huge rally for the Marlins, who went on the win the series…and then the World Series against the Yankees. It also prompted a full length documentary by ESPN Films.

Side Note: What a depressing series that was for Yankees fans. Josh Beckett and the rest of the Marlins starters just took giant dumps on our team.

Anyway, yesterday’s two conference championship games gave plenty of Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers fans something they most desperately needed….a scapegoat.

UH OH! UH OH! He missed it! Wide left!

Sad Billy is Sad

That was the call that Westwood One announcer Dave Sims made as Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff hooked the game-tying field goal wide left. I had the pleasure of cutting up that highlight for the station and let me tell you, it was a great call. As Sims exclaimed you could hear every Ravens fans heart fall to the ground. As their hearts fell, they were replaced by a gaping hole of rage that could only be filled by on thing…a scapegoat. So, of course, Billy Cundiff had served himself up on a silver platter.

Should Cundiff have made the kick? Absolutely, it was a chip shot from 32 yards out that he’s probably made more often then not in his long career. Cundiff even set the record for longest kick in Cowboys history when he hit a 56 yarder back in 2005.

Is Cundiff a viable scapegoat? You bet, although argument can be made for Lee Evans.

However, Ravens fans, you have no right to put all the blame on Billy Cundiff, and here’s why. You were the better team last night. You had the Patriots dead to rights and you couldn’t pull out the victory. Tom Brady has been unstoppable for much of the season, and you picked him off twice (three times if you include the botched hands to the face call in the first half) and still let the Pats win! Rob Gronkowski, who has been Brady’s go-to target for the whole year, the man who just re-wrote the book on being a Tight End, hurt his ankle and was out for some of the game and playing hurt for the rest of it. You held him without a touchdown (in fact, you held Tom Brady without a touchdown) and you still couldn’t win the game! Ray Rice ran for well over 100 yards against the Pats defense the last time the two teams played and was your best player for the entire season, as well as one of the best running backs in the game. What did he do last night? Diddly, that’s what.

Sure, Billy Cundiff may be an easy target but he was just part of the problem last night. Ravens fans, your team let the number one seed in the AFC off the hook last night, and for that, the scapegoat has to be the entire team. Not one player could elevate themselves to propel the team to win, even though the Pats were giving you the game.

The Real Scapegoat

He knows it too.

Ravens fans, if you want to look for a real scapegoat, look no further than your losing team brethren in the San Francisco 49ers (or to the left of this paragraph). That man is Kyle Williams and he is the reason that the Niners lost to the Giants last night.

Who knew that when Tedd Ginn Jr. was drafted way too high by the Dolphins a few years back that he would be the most important player in the 49ers 2012 postseason. Confused? Well, Ginn has been the Niners punt returner for the whole year (and a pretty explosive one at that) and he was hurt and unable to play in this game. In steps Kyle Williams to take his place. The fun starts in the 4th quarter when the Giants are punting the ball away for what seems like the millionth time. Kyle Williams doesn’t receive it but let’s it bounce. All of sudden he is put in a trance by the ball and doesn’t move out the way. He let’s the ball hit is knee and the Giants recover it. Shortly after the Giants score a TD to take a 17-14 lead.

All of that would have been forgotten, as the 49ers tied the game and forced OT. In OT, Williams is back to return yet another punt, and this time catches it and brings it upfield….only to have it stripped away almost immediately. The Giants then drive down the field and kick the game winning field goal.

In all honesty, I kind of saw it coming. Williams had lost all confidence with the earlier mistake and I was worried it would bite him in the rest of the game. Sadly for the Niners…it did on the most important punt return of their season.

So what’s the difference between this and Cundiff you ask? “The Niners didn’t play a great game either, they only converted one third down!” Well, you’re right, they didn’t play a great game either, but neither did the Giants. Do you know why the Giants won? Because they scored 10 points off of these two Williams turnovers and held strong enough on defense to make it count. If Williams hadn’t fumbled, the whole complexion of the game would have been different and you can count on that.

In the end, Billy Cundiff’s miss will probably be forgotten (eventually, at least), but Kyle Williams’ double punt return fail will not. This will follow him forever, and that’s what makes a true scapegoat.

Musings!

For those who don’t know, I’m a huge music fan. My favorite genre is metal, but I like everything from rap, to classic rock, to some pop (key word ‘some’, it is becoming less and less tolerable). With my wide range of tastes, I tend to give all sorts of types of music at least a try before I make up my mind on whether I like it or hate it. Recently I’ve been seeing all of these posts all over Facebook and Twitter about Dubstep and Deadmau5 and Skrillex. I had heard some of this type of stuff sampled in other songs (such as by the metal band The Browning), and thought it sounded pretty cool so I decided to take a listen to the genre itself.

Well……what a mistake that was. If this is the direction that music is going in I am legitimately scared to what my future kids will listen to. Now, I’ll say that the concept is cool…but man does it not come off that way. It’s like listening to good sounding club music vomit all over the place after a night of binge drinking. Some of the good elements are there, but in the end you are pissed because you have to clean up the puke.

Now I’ve been criticized for my style in music, and I’ll never criticize anyone for liking music, so if you enjoy Dubstep…more power to you. I give you props for being able to stay interested past a certain point, so good for you.

Also, has anyone seen that awesome Audi commercial? The new one for the Quattro?

What a phenomenal commercial. I originally thought that it would be better placed as a Super Bowl ad, and might even become one of the top ones of the year. However, according to my friend who actually works at an advertising firm (follow him at @TheBeils on Twitter) Audi would have to pony up way too much money on a 60 second long spot…and it wouldn’t work as well in a shorter version. Oh well, it still makes for a great commercial and I will enjoy it every time I see it.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment