Mandel’s Musings: The Mannings, Agassi, Blake Griffin, Redskins

Published on: 28th October, 2009

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It seems the NFL’s Manning brothers are in their rightful places as we peruse this week’s NFL statistics. Peyton, completing 72% of his passes with mostly new Indianapolis Colts receivers, is number one among quarterbacks with a QB rating of  114.5. Younger brother Eli, playing with mostly returning receivers on the New York Giants, is in 13th place with a rating of 92.2. In completion percentage, Eli is 23rd among NFL quarterbacks, Peyton is first. The question is, Is anyone surprised? The other question is, Can Eli apologists continue to blame the “swirling” October winds of Giants Stadium which in actuality, don’t become a factor until December for Eli’s lack of accuracy last Sunday against Arizona or, was it the fierce winds of the New Orleans Superdome’s gigantic air conditioners that caused those high and wide throws two weeks ago? By the way, it is worth noting Drew Brees didn’t seem to have accuracy issues during that game, playing in the exact same conditions Eli did. Maybe Brees’ receivers consistently run more precise routes than Mannings’ pass-catchers do and are simply in the right spots to receive the ball from their quarterback. But, I doubt it.

The point is, for all of Eli’s cool under pressure in the last quarters of games, he remains a flawed passer. Statistics are certainly not the only way to measure a quarterbacks’ value to a team. It’s a position that has too many built-in intangibles to just use completion percentages and touchdown passes as barometers for a successful field general but, in watching Eli throw the ball, one gets the same impression as watching a major league pitcher who doesn’t have great control or command over his pitches. When you see Brees or Peyton playing pitch and catch with their receivers, think Greg Maddox. When you see Eli throwing high and wide to his receivers but also hitting Kevin Boss in stride thirty yards downfield, think A.J. Burnett, with his gifted arm, being barely a .500 pitcher on a championship team. He can sparkle at times but also frustrate the heck out of you, at times.

Blake Griffin out two months with a fractured kneecap? You’ve got to be kidding. If those Los Angeles Clippers didn’t have such bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all. The NBA’s number one pick in the 2009 draft was exhibiting his great athleticism and skills during training camp and had put the losing culture of the Clippers franchise in the rear view mirror for its fan base. It’s a tough injury for a leaper like Griffin. Just as tough for his new team.

Andre Agassi smoked crystal meth in 1997, according to his new autobiography, due out next month. So let me understand this, crystal meth is not a performance-enhancing drug? What exactly does it do, then? Wasn’t that the year Agassi stopped wearing his toupee on court? Yes, folks, Andre used to pin a wig of long, full hair to the few remaining hairs he had left on his head for his matches. Read the book.

Daniel Snyder used to have a company that put message boards in the student union buildings of college campuses. I’m thinking this most recent venture of his, owning the Washington Redskins football team isn’t going so well for him. The Skins have become a laughing stock. Maybe, those message boards are calling out to him, again. Recently seen on one message board at Snyder’s alma mater, the University of Maryland, was the missive, “D. Snyder, please sell the Redskins and restore civic pride in our football team.”

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