Off Season Looks Promising For Peyton, And Cloudy for Eli
There may not be a quarter back in the NFL having a better off season than Peyton Manning. Coming off of a season in which he returned from major neck surgery, single handedly changed the culture of the Denver Broncos organization, and returned to his Hall of Fame form this season coming up could be even better for the 16 year vet. For starters Manning gets a full off season without distraction, the media watching his every move (off the practice field), and knows which team he will be playing for until his time in the NFL is done.
With a full helping of OTA's, and training camp coming up Peyton will continue to develop chemistry with his receiving core. One that helped him finish with a 4,659 yards, 37 td, & 105.8 passer rating season. And there are also new additions to the team with talented rookies coming in such as NCAA standout running back Montee Ball (formerly of the Wisconsin Badgers).
However no new addition to the team is as important, or more exciting than the addition of arguably the best slot receiver of all time Wes Welker. The slot position is underrated now a days, and in the past 5 seasons Welker has been statistically the most productive receiver in the entire league. However that was being the number 1 option for Tom Brady who now is the enemy. Reports are coming in on how fast Manning, and Welker are building chemistry. Something the AFC doesn't want to hear right now.
And on the other side, in New York little brother Eli Manning has some headlines this off season as well. Just not the headlines he felt like having I'm sure. There is always the questions that loom over Eli's spot as a top QB with former teammate Chris Canty (now with the Baltimore Ravens) proclaiming to the media that fresh faced champion Joe Flacco is a better QB than his former 2-time Super Bowl MVP teammate. There is also the NFL's highly anticipated top 100 players list that is voted by the players, which has Eli below some QBs which is causing a stir.
However If there is anything we have learned from the blank faced, and fearless leader of the NY Giants it's that none of those things matter to him. The most troubling situation which means everything right now is the continued absence of his two best offensive weapons this off season in Victor Cruz, & Hakeem Nicks. Cruz's absence was to be expected as he has been in a long, and drawn out contract negotiation with the Giant's front office & GM Jerry Reese. Nicks's absence however was the most surprising as reports have it being a "personal" reason.
Cruz, and Nicks not being on the practice field has given Eli the time to build chemistry with new receiving addition Louis Murphy, and second year talent Rueben Randle. As well as start the mentoring process with new back up QB rookie Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse Univ. Still having the two most dynamic pieces to the offense not being there with the team has clearly affected the mood at Giants OTAs, and head coach Tom Coughlin who expressed to the media his extreme displeasure with Nicks not being there.
Not a good pre-start for the upcoming 2013 season for Eli, and the G-Men. While big brother Peyton is on track to make some big strides before seasons start. It will be interesting to see how it all works out, and if these situations affect the Manning Bowl III this season when Peyton & his Denver Broncos visit Eli's Giants for a week 2 matchup.