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Peyton Manning Says He’s Tanked His Baseline Concussion Test

As the medical field continues to learn more about the harmful effects of concussions, sports leagues are becoming increasingly concerned about players suffering the injuries. The NFL became more sensitive to concussions last season, holding concussed players out of games who typically would have played in the past. But one issue raised by Alex Marvez last week is that some players could try to fudge their medical exams so they can play. One strategy to beat the test he wrote about was using ritalin to improve focus in concussion tests. Another is by tanking their baseline exam, which is something Peyton Manning admitted to doing.

Pro Football Talk pointed out that in a recent interview Peyton said he purposely does bad on his baseline exam. “They have these new [brain] tests we have to take. Before the season, you have to look at 20 pictures and turn the paper over and then try to draw those 20 pictures. And they do it with words, too. Twenty words, you flip it over, and try to write those 20 words. Then, after a concussion, you take the same test and if you do worse than you did on the first test, you can’t play. So I just try to do badly on the first test.”

Whether Peyton was joking is for you to decide, but this is no laughing matter. Marvez had said players were already trying to cheat concussion tests and Peyton’s comments support that sentiment. I’m not sure how to police that other than by developing a new test, but I’ll say what I’ve said before: if players want to screw up their first test on purpose and end up with scrambled eggs for brains, that’s their issue. You just hope they’d be wise enough and thinking long-term enough not to do that. At least that’s my hope.

Rex Ryan: Peyton Manning Studies More, Has Less Coaching Help than Tom Brady

One of the great sports bar debates of our era involves the top quarterbacks in football: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. Pats fans of course go with Brady all day, while Colts (and Saints) fans will argue they prefer Peyton. Most people either prefer one to the other, or oscillate in the debate based on who’s having the better season. I’ve always put stats aside and said I prefer Brady, with his incredible 2007 and 2010 seasons proving the case. If you ask Rex Ryan for his pick, it’s obviously Peyton Manning.

The bloviating Jets coach took time out of his busy foot rubbing schedule to explain why Peyton is better than Tom:

“Nobody studies like [Manning]. I know [Tom] Brady thinks he does and all that stuff,” Ryan said. “I think there’s probably a little more help from [Bill] Belichick with Brady than there is with Peyton Manning.”

“He’s not just a coach on the field,” Ryan said. “You give the coaching community too much credit. This guy is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game, and he’s one of the smartest guys. And it’s not just a coach dialing up plays. He dials his own plays.”

Rex was answering a question about how gifted Peyton is and introduced the Brady comparison without prompting. That’s sure to tick off Patriots fans who watched Tom light up the Jets for 326 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-3 butt-whipping week 13. I suppose it’s not surprising to hear Rex knock Tom; the two got into it before the season started after Tom said he hated the Jets and Rex responded saying the feeling was mutual.

Now that the stakes have been raised, I know I’m not alone in hoping that a Patriots-Jets playoff game comes up. All we need is a Jets upset of the Colts to see it happen. Can Rex take care of business first?

Colts’ Ninth Straight Playoff Appearance on the Line

The Indianapolis Colts have missed the playoffs just twice with Peyton Manning as their quarterback — in his rookie season of 1998 and in 2001.  They are currently riding a streak of eight straight playoff appearances, but that streak is in serious jeopardy today as they face the AFC South-leading Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts lost a heartbreaker to the Jags in Week 4 on a Josh Scobee field goal as time expired.

Sundays game is a must-win for the Colts. If they lose, their playoff hopes will be shot, and contract negotiations with Manning may have to start a little sooner. If they beat the Jags, the two teams will have identical overall winning percentages and divisional winning percentages — the first two NFL playoff tie-breakers. The third tie-breaker — winning percentage in common games — would give the edge to the Colts. Each team has one game remaining against an opponent the other has already beaten, so as long as the Colts win out the Jags can’t catch them. After today’s game, neither team has a game remaining against a playoff contender.

The Colts have already seen their streak of seven consecutive 12-win seasons snapped, and surely don’t want to lose this one too. They may not win out, but I can’t imagine they will lose today — at home, with their playoff lives on the line — though Manning has been less-than-spectacular in playoff games. That’s what this game today is for the Colts. Win and your still alive. Lose and we’ll see you next year.

Colts Radio Announcer Bob Lamey Rips Peyton Manning Off-Air

What do New York Islanders TV announcer Howie Rose and Indianapolis Colts radio man Bob Lamey have in common? Both men were caught on epic rants which they thought no one could hear. The difference: Rose was bagged ripping a horrendous hockey team that had just lost 13 straight games, while Lamey was dogging one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.

Pro Football Talk called our attention to an interesting piece from Stampede Blue that highlights Lamey’s alleged spaz out, where he trashed Peyton Manning and said Jim Caldwell should bench him.  The clip — which Stampede Blue has yet to track down — was played on ESPN Radio 1070 in Indianapolis.  At first I was skeptical about the validity of the claim, but word has it Lamey approached Manning at his locker to apologize on Wednesday.

Amidst Lamey’s rant was talk of NFL defenses having “figured Manning out” and that the Colts should start looking for his replacement in the 2011 draft.  Lamey also expressed that he thought No. 18 should be benched in favor of Curtis Painter.  That’s right, Curtis Painter.  Manning has been horrible lately and thrown 11 picks in three games, but he’s still Peyton Manning.

Lamey is supposedly a classic homer when he calls games, but he should probably be in fear of losing his job.  The Indianapolis Star said Manning “appeared to accept” his apology, but now that the story has become public it may be tougher for Manning to let go and if Peyton ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.  How would you feel if someone said Curtis Painter should replace you?  Not too good, and you aren’t one of the two best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Chargers’ Defense Owns Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is a 10-time Pro Bowl quarterback and three-time NFL MVP. One doesn’t accumulate such accolades without performing extremely well against opponents throughout a career. However, for whatever reason, Peyton Manning seems to struggle against the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers beat the Colts 36-14 on Sunday night, bringing both teams’ record to 6-5 on the season. San Diego’s defense put on a show, intercepting Peyton Manning four times, twice for touchdowns. In fact, Manning is 4-5 in his career against the Chargers with 16 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In terms of recent history, Peyton is 1-4 against the Chargers since 2007 with 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. There aren’t many teams that have success against Peyton, but San Diego is one of them.

Here is a look at Manning’s career numbers against the team his brother spurned in 2004:

    2010 reg. season L 36-14, Manning 285yds, 2/4
    2008 reg. season W 23-20, Manning 255yds, 2/1
    2008 playoffs L 23-17 (OT), Manning 310yds, 1/0
    2007 reg. season L 23-21, Manning 328yds 2/6
    2007 playoffs L 28-24, Manning 402yds 3/2
    2005 reg. season L 26-17, Manning 336yds 1/2
    2004 reg. season W 34-31 (OT), Manning 383yds 2/1
    1999 reg. season W 27-19, Manning 404yds, 2/1
    1998 reg. season W 17-12, Manning 137yds, 1/1

Shall we call it a case of Eli Karma? Works for me.

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Peyton Manning Disregards Criticism from Ron Jaworski

While many people are looking forward to the Monday Night Football game between the Colts and Texans to see if Arian Foster will set more franchise records against Indy’s defense, there’s another matchup about which I’m more excited. Seeing how ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski handles his commentary about Peyton Manning piques my interest.

A few weeks ago Jaws suggested in an interview that father time may have been catching up to Peyton. That was after the Chiefs’ defense had shut down Indy’s passing game and before Manning went for over 300 yards to beat the Redskins. After initially dismissing Jaws’ suggestion, I noticed Peyton lacked velocity on many of his throws against Washington though he had good stats.

The comments by Jaworski got back to Peyton for a response. The All-Pro shrugged off the comments and declined to get into things saying “I really have zero reaction.” Players take criticism of that nature personally and some hold it against broadcasters. Peyton will likely be out to prove to people — Jaws especially — that he is still an MVP quarterback and on top of his game.

What’s rare is to hear a game analyst like Jaworski be critical of a star player. Broadcast crews meet with teams and players prior to games in order to prepare for their telecast. To say the production meetings between Manning and Jaws were awkward is probably an understatement. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Jaworski address his critical comments at some point during the game or go all out in praise of Peyton as an apology. Getting into conflicts like this one is exactly what keeps television personalities from being critical in their analysis.

Ron Jaworski Thinks Peyton Manning’s Skills May be Diminishing

The way he started off the season, I thought Peyton Manning was on his way towards winning a 4th MVP award. Peyton had 11 touchdowns against one interception through the first four games of the season (producing a 2-2 record). He still might bring home the hardware, but he’ll have to bounce back from a sluggish game last weekend against the Chiefs where the Colts won 19-9.

Manning obviously wasn’t sharp in the game, going 26-44 for 244 yards, a pick and no touchdowns, but his team pulled it out. ESPN analyst and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski apparently has been studying some film on Manning and told Mike and Mike in the Morning that he thinks father time may be catching up with the quarterback.

Here’s what Jaws had to say, courtesy of Pro Football Talk: “The last couple weeks, as I’ve studied Peyton Manning, he has not been real sharp. Maybe there does come a time when the skills start to diminish a little bit. I’m not saying it is, but I’m seeing little signs now that the deep sideline throws are not as accurate as they used to be, there’s not the zip on the ball that there used to be. Maybe father time might be catching up with Peyton Manning a little bit.”

I really respect Jaws and find him to be extremely likable, but I saw Manning the entire game week two and most his game week four and he looked great to me. Jaws says he’s been watching the last couple weeks, and that would include the Jacksonville game where Peyton looked good. I honestly believe this is more of an overreaction to his off game against the Chiefs. Kansas City’s defense is greatly improved, and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel had an extra week to prepare for this one. Manning may have missed some throws in the game, but I think it’s premature to say his skills may be diminishing at this point. Another MVP award wouldn’t surprise me for the Colts quarterback.