Michael Vick is a better leader than Peyton Manning

At least that's what Jason Whitlock over at Fox Sports believes. He also thinks Vick is the more mature quarterback of the two.

Sorry, I just fell out of my seat from laughing so hard.

And now give me a second as I enter a new synonym for idiot in Urban Dictionary. That way, you know, if one of your friends staples his thumb to his forehead, you can tell him, "Hey, stop being such a Jason Whitlock." Or, "Got Whitlocked again, huh?"

Okay, I'm back.

If you want to waste two minutes of your life reading the most obviously "angled-at-gaining-readership" and  "trying to ride the one-and-done Peyton Manning media wave for what its worth" article, then hop on over there for a strong dose of "having a mental age below three years." Jason Whitlock even warns Colts fans on his twitter to "read carefully" and "not overreact". What a joke. That's exactly the kind of reaction him and his editor crave.

But, to not give him the satisfaction of actually going to his site and reading his article, you can raise your blood pressure simply by reading these juicy "incites" from his shameless spin:

"Manning is rarely forced to do what Michael Vick has been doing the past three years – look inside and examine himself."

Right, as if no one demanded any answers from Manning during his three-game slump this season. And as if no one ever questions and criticizes Manning to death (essentially what Whitlock is doing right now) each time the Colts lose a playoff game. And who forced Michael Vick to look inside and examine himself? Uh, no one but Michael Vick. If not for his own poor decision-making, things would be very different.

* * *

Whitlock also advocates for Manning to cede control of the offense:

"Manning needs help. He’s bought the broadcast-booth hype that he can compete with Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan and other high-priced defensive coaches in a game of chess. Manning can’t. He keeps getting exposed at playoff time. His high-scoring, regular-season offense falls apart in the postseason. Under Manning’s direction, the Colts have averaged 22.4 points in 19 playoff games."

First of all, I don't see how Whitlock can say that "Manning bought the broadcast-booth hype that he can compete with Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan." He is just doing his job, which is being the best quarterback he can possibly be. How does playing football turn into him believing he is the media's version of Peyton Manning? I don't get it.

Secondly, why doesn't Whitlock match coaches' wits with coaches' wits instead of coaches' wits with a player's wit? Why not say that Dungy and Caldwell haven't been able to compete with Belichick and Ryan? People hardly ever match Brady to a coach. It's always Belichick versus whoever. Brady is never elevated to coach status, while Manning, who is a player and not a coach, always gets blamed for not being a good enough player and coach, when he isn't a coach to begin with. I guess he deep down, Whitlock admits that Manning really does compete on a high level, high enough to be level with one of the best coaches in the league, even though Manning is just a player on the field. I will pocket that as a compliment.

And "Manning's direction of the Colts"? Wait a minute. I had no idea Peyton Manning also directed the defense and special teams in all those playoff games. Like I said, he is not a head coach, you know, like Belichick and Ryan are. I do however, agree that Manning, like any other football player, needs help.

Whitlock then goes to criticize Manning's play in Saturday's wild card game against the Jets. The criticism is fair, hindsight is always 20-20 and I'm sure Manning goes back and criticizes his own play, but what's ridiculous is the last two sentences:

"Manning failed on numerous third-and-short situations, choosing to throw rather than run. Late in the game, he underthrew Blair White on a critical third-down pass that would've left virtually no time on the clock when Adam Vinatieri attempted a go-ahead field goal, rather than enough time for the Jets to execute their game-winning drive. Manning blew the game. He's carrying too big of a burden."

Manning blew the game? Whitlock's idiocy just blew my mind. Manning played a good game Saturday night. He wasn't white hot like he was in his fourth quarter comeback wins, but he was on his game. The rest of the team, coaching in particular (which by the way, Manning has no control over), came up short. The offense scored on every drive but the defense failed to hold its lead. The special teams failed to give them good field position and failed even more to hold the Jets to shorter punt returns. If there is any game where you can say Manning blew it, this is not one of them at all. The Colts blew it, not Manning.

And who doesn't know that Manning carries a big burden? And how is that his fault and not the fault of the Colts' organization? Whitlock says it as if Manning loves this big burden and can't wait to keep carrying it until the day he retires.

Whitlock then does a 180. First he says Manning blew the game, then he says the game is on Caldwell:

"Jim “Chris Webber” Caldwell can’t cover up his own incompetence. C-Well’s ridiculous timeout late in the Jets game all but sealed Indy’s fate Saturday night."

Whitlock then continues to compare apples to oranges. Manning is a quarterback, not a head coach:

"People have improperly interpreted Rex Ryan’s pregame comments about Tom Brady getting more coaching help than Manning. It wasn’t a shot at Brady. It was a shot at Manning. Smart defensive coaches love to take on Manning at playoff time. A good football coach can always outthink a player, no matter how intelligent or talented the player is."

So, Rex Ryan was taking a shot at Manning by telling him he is the most intelligent quarterback there is who doesn't get as much help as another great quarterback, Tom Brady? Okay... And so if a good football coach can "always outthink a player," how does that explain Manning carving up Ryan's defense?

Then Whitlock says:

"If Manning had Vick’s self-awareness, the Colts QB would demand that Caldwell be relieved of his duties and that someone like Jon Gruden be hired."

I don't really get this part. I'm on the fence about Caldwell too, but how does Vick's self-awareness relate to Manning's ability to demand that Caldwell be fired? And did Vick's self-awareness make him, you know, not funnel a dog fighting ring and get booted from the NFL and earn a stint in prison? Or did his self-awareness have anything to do with the Eagles' organizational decision to trade McNabb for a new starter?

"Joe Montana had Bill Walsh. Tom Brady has Bill Belichick. Terry Bradshaw had Chuck Noll. John Elway had Mike Shanahan. Troy Aikman had Jimmy Johnson. Bart Starr had Vince Lombardi. Jim Caldwell? Really? No, really?"

This I agree with. But again, how has who fills the Colts' head coach position been in Manning's power to control? This year, I would argue, is different though because he is a free agent and therefore has more negotiating leverage.

"Manning is going to be 35 next season. I hope he doesn’t waste his twilight years trying to prove he’s smarter than Bill Belichick. Manning can’t win that battle. He should focus on proving he’s better than Brady, Montana and Elway. Let a real coach match wits with Belichick."

Again, this statement is made operating under the assumption that games are played Head Coach vs. Peyton Manning. But games are played Head Coach vs. Head Coach. It just so happens that Peyton Manning is amazing at what he does. But how Manning tries to prove he's smarter than Belichick on aspects of the field that aren't related to the offense, I have no idea where Whitlock gets this from. Of course Manning can't win that battle because, uh hello, he is a quarterback and not a head coach and nor is he trying to be a head coach.

And I do agree, let a head coach match wits with Belichick. By making this argument, Whitlock is assuming that Peyton Manning is a head coach when it's so obvious that he is not. At least, not yet.

"But at least he knows the answers to all of his problems begin and end with Michael Vick. He gets it.

Peyton Manning? I’m not so sure."

I understand that quarterbacks get the bulk of the credit when teams win and the bulk of the blame when teams lose, but does Whitlock? I'm not so sure.

Peyton Manning is a quarterback, not a head coach. Whitlock claims that Manning bought the broadcast-booth hype that he is greater than what he really is, but I think no one bit harder on that than Jason Whitlock himself. Whitlock is the prime example of why Fox has such a bad rep.


Anonymous said...

I am huge colts game and Peyton is my guy, but I find it a little curious that you only want to lay the blame on the Defense and Special team. The offense scored 1 TD, and 3 FG, they didnt convert in the red zone and we couldnt convert 3rd downs. The defense gave up 17pts, I mean in the NFL, that is a pretty low score when you expect an elite offense to be able to score more than that. And Peyton is now 9-10 in the playoffs, you cant tell me that some of the failures in the playoffs should be on his shoulders as well.

PMC said...

I get what you are saying and I agree, Peyton hasn't been perfect in his playoffs games and does deserve the blame for some of them. What I take issue with is saying that Manning blew the game Saturday night, when clearly it wasn't him.

He played a good game. Could he have been better? Yea. But what player wouldn't be able to say that after a game? The defense was unable to keep the lead and get the ball back for the offense. The Jets were on the field for a long time and the offense didn't get to make that many drives. The special teams always gave them a long field and had they done their job, could have kept the lead for the Colts as well. Of course you can argue that Peyton should have drove more touchdown drives. If you want to, you can nitpick at anything, but saying that Peyton was the one who blew the game last night just isn't right.

One point I thought was interesting was pvirsky's comment on 18to88, pasted here:

"One more point to add: strategy. I'm not prepared to relate this to each of those losses, but on Saturday, our strategy was not to score 30+ points. Sanchez sucks, the Colts knew it, and wanted to play accordingly. If we thought we needed 30+ points, I would hope that we would have gone for it on some of those 4th and 1's. We would have taken more shots down the field. We would play more aggressively. BUT if you think the Jets suck and aren't going to score much, the smart play is to be conservative, avoid turnovers at all costs and aim for around 20 points."

In Peyton's post-game interview, he also mentioned that he felt like they stuck to their game plan pretty well.

I personally think Caldwell needs to be more aggressive and stop making weird challenges and calling even weirder timeouts.

So to sum things up, yes you can blame Peyton for some of the Colts playoff losses, but I absolutely do not think he deserves the blame for the Jets loss. But he is the face of the Colts so it is what it is.

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