2011 NFL Predictions: 5 Reasons Peyton Manning Won't Be the Best QB This Season

L.J.Contributor IIAugust 17, 2011

2011 NFL Predictions: 5 Reasons Peyton Manning Won't Be the Best QB This Season

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    Over the past decade, the name Peyton Manning has dominated the NFL’s top quarterback conversation, and he is arguably one the best to play at his position. Both as a New Orleans native and an Indianapolis Colts fan, I have closely evaluated his work up until this point in his career.

    But last season I saw a change in his personality, on-field performance and attitude toward the game.

    And by no means am I questioning Manning’s dedication, character or work ethic, but he’s starting to lose his moxie. Despite popular belief and structured arguments, Peyton Manning won’t be the best quarterback in 2011, and here’s why.

Lack of Injuries

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    I know some of you are saying, "What? That doesn’t make sense," but hear me out.

    Manning has been one of the most durable quarterbacks in NFL history. He rarely misses practice, barely has time off in games and he never misses games.

    So that leads me to this: How will the time off the field during the lockout and his recent neck surgery affect him on the field?

    How good will his on-field chemistry be with receivers and backs?

    Besides, the Colts are a passing team right? How good will his conditioning be?

    With the lack of an offseason, minicamps and limited preseason snaps, when will he hit his stride in the offense?

    We will see.

He Finally Got a New Deal

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    Though it might have not been what he wanted or expected, it sure would be enough to make me happy:



    $3.4 million base, $16 million against the salary cap.



    $7.4 million base, $17 million against the cap.



    $8.4 million base, $18 million against the cap.



    $9.4 million base, $19 million against the cap.



    $10.4 million base, $20 million against the cap.


    Manning will also get a $20 million signing bonus and later and about $31 million in other bonuses. The net result is that his cap number will increase by about $1 million a year, topping out at $20 million a year in Year 5.

    So why is this important?

    More money almost always impacts a player’s performance.

    Don’t believe me? Ask Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb.

Manning’s Arm has Mileage

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    Even though some may say Brett Favre’s got better with age, I would be the first to disagree that this rings true with all, or even most, quarterbacks simply because we are all human.

    Wear and tear throughout a decade is going to affect any body part we have, especially if we use it everyday for 85 percent percent of the year.

    Thanks to Favre though, we tend to forget the adverse effect aging has on a professional athlete. Though Manning's storied career may not soon be over, we’re getting closer to the last chapter.

Offseason Moves

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    Question: What did the Indianapolis Colts do this offseason to better their offense?

    I mean, Peyton Manning did ask for less money to bring in help and hold on to key players, right?

    I don’t want to sound like a complainer, but the only news I remember this offseason is Bob Sanders signing with San Diego.

The Conversation

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    The players associated the most in the top quarterback conversation are Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Both were blessed in free agency and the draft with players of star quality and big play potential.

    Both the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots are in "win-now" mode, and both teams will be offensive juggernauts this season.


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    Despite Manning’s domination of the fantasy football ranks in recent years, his body nor his team is equipped to be among the NFL elite this season.

    The Colts will contend for a playoff spot, and they will win this year. But Peyton won’t be the NFL’s top signal-caller this year.

    Feel differently? I want to hear about it.