Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is Peyton Manning having a down year?

That's been the assertion by many. We've covered a lot of the reasons why that might be the case (a very difficult early schedule, line troubles, no run game, dropped passes, the knee, Marvin Harrison's troubles). There's only one big's not actually true. As always...numbers can help. These are Peyton's projected stats for 16 games this year:

2008 (proj)37460861.6410927146.886.6

Here are Manning's stats for the last 9 years (rookie year excluded)


These are the averages for those seasons:

Att Comp % Yards TD Int YPA Rating



  • Manning's completion percentage has been lower than in previous years. The Colts have also dropped more passes than any of us ever remember. Marvin Harrison has only caught 51% of passes thrown to him as opposed to numbers around 70% in his best seasons.
  • Yards, TDs and picks are all completely within normal ranges. 27 TDs is 'below average' only if you count 2004. 2004 aside and Manning throws 29 TDs a year. His interception % is actually LOWER this year than average due to what would be a record number of throws and a typical number of picks.
  • His YPA is legitimately lower than ever. He also has had no running game at all. This has lead teams to play deep all season and not respect the play action.
  • His rating is lower than some years, but on pace with what he did in 2002 when he took a 10-6 team to the playoffs in Dungy's first year.
  • These projections assume a steady pace for the rest of this year. As we've noted, the Colts schedule was front loaded with tough pass defenses. It is likely that Manning's final numbers will spike significantly by the end of the season. While I doubt he can get his final completion percentage to 65%, he most likely will get his rating up over 90, and has a good chance to get his YPA well over 7.
  • His numbers look very similar to his first 4 years when he only had one reliable WR. Reggie Wayne began to emerge in 2003 (and wasn't a force until 2004). That was when Manning's efficiency stats jumped to another lever. It's clear that Harrison's struggles this year have hurt Manning's numbers.
So the next time someone tells you how funny it is to see Manning struggle this season, just point to the numbers. Most of them are fairly normal, and the ones that are low are likely to rebound. It's too early to call this a successful season, but by the end, it will likely be a fairly ordinary one statistically, and an extraordinary one given the context of the season.

More blips on that radar. Adam Schein says Manning is #2 on his MVP list and is currently underrated.

The Polian corner addresses the play of Ugoh. He sounds pleased, but he talked that way about CJ at LT too. Ugoh has been up and down some, but there is no question that his return has solidified the O-line.

Edge wants out of AZ.
So sad. Who can blame him really?


Julio Queiroz said...

San Diego's defense is the worst of the league against the pass.
I think that might just help 18's numbers, as well as our chances to win.

Demond Sanders said...

I want to beat a dead horse by mentioning that the lack of the run has hurt Peyton A LOT more than Marvin's play.

Deshawn Zombie said...

If Harrison was catching the ball at his 2006 catch rate (64% at the same weak 11.1 YPC he has now), Manning would have a completion % of over 64% and a rating of 89.9. His YPA would be 7.0.

If Marvin was catching the ball for a better YPC...well that's not even worth thinking about. Marvin's play has almost single handedly docked Manning's stats. Again, if he was just catching more normal passes (let alone deep balls and TDs), today's post wouldn't be necessary.

Demond Sanders said...

To prove my point I'll quote from the article you just linked:

"Joseph Addai joined the party with his first 100-yard game of the season. According to Tony Dungy when we chatted on Monday, Addai's success was one reason Manning and Marvin Harrison finally were in sync for the first time this year."

Deshawn Zombie said...

Why is it that Addai only affects Peyton's ability to hook up with Marvin, but affects NONE of the other targets? Sounds like Tony was covering for Marv.

Good quote though. It's obviously hard to argue with.

Texas Hoosier said...

What about this quote? "Dungy says an injured Bob Sanders will return on Sunday." Is that official? Have you guys heard this from another source to back it up?

Deshawn Zombie said...

I saw that and it surprised me. It was the opposite of what I had been seeing other places

Anonymous said...

In regards to Marvin and Peyton, Addai's success may affect that because Marvin may need the bite up on the run to get open enough to catch some things.

But even if Tony IS covering for Marvin, would you rather him throw 88 under the bus instead?

Because it sounds like you want him to just rip Marvin apart.

Deshawn Zombie said...

That's an ignorant thing to say.

I don't want Tony to rip Marvin apart. Tony said exactly what he should have said about Marvin. I wouldn't want Tony to say anything else.

I LOVE MARVIN HARRISON. I'm sitting here caressing the Harrison autographed Riddell Mini helmet Demond got me 10 years ago.

All that being said, I don't think Dungy's answer makes a lot of sense. I'm not sure why the Colts inability to run the ball would affect only one specific receiver while not really hurting Clark, Wayne, and Gonzo.

If Marvin Harrison all of a sudden needs CBs to bite on the run to get him open for slants, then he's clearly degraded as a WR. The run would help on the deep balls, but Marvin has been open on deep balls.

Questioning the quote by no means indicates a desire on my part to see Harrison fail or for Tony to rip him.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Phil B says in his post today that he thinks Hayden is further along than Sanders and that apparently we don't have to worry about Nick Graham having a special teams penalty this week.

Bob M. said...

Thanks for the stats-mongering; it's reassuring and too easy to forget we faced a murderer's row of defenses early on.... (really only missing were the Bucs)

All in all, generally positive news.

Bob M. said...

Just read the Polian Corner and was about to send the link--he really gives Ugoh a tongue-bath, and I suspect it's partially to reinforce him (ego/self esteem, whatever). Yes, they're happy and they want Ugoh to know that. Maybe he had a moment of doubt in midseason for whatever reason, but seems to be rounding into form. Thank God!
Polian's discussion of the penalties was pretty funny too--hey, a tripping penalty is better than a sack--no need to lie, Bill. And I like the "let's just say we won't hold him accountable for the other one" line.
I love that column.

Bob M. said...

One last comment--Marvin's catch % is down? Maybe he needs a sprained/broken wrist like two-three years ago when he wore that brace nearly all season.... Keeps those ninja hands focused on the ball and not decapitating the CB.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Marvin is down from 64% in 06 to 51% this year. He was at 47% before his last game.

Demond Sanders said...

You are type-casting yourself as "that guy who bitches about Marvin." You're only one rung above the clown who sits behind us and demands that Addai be cut.

What will you write after Marvin grabs 6 or 7 balls against San Diego?

Deshawn Zombie said...

You are an idiot.

(Name calling and pointless personal attacks are exclusively reserved for Demond and I to use on each other. Let's not let this turn into a CHFF message board).

I hate you, and I hate your ass face.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Peyton has not been as sharp. No, its not anywhere near as bad as fantasy fools are saying.

Peyton got better and better every year, regardless of the stats. He was better the last couple of years than he was in 2004. When evaluating his play, it isn't about his numbers. It is all about how accurate he is when he has time and how well he functions when he has little to no time (all relative to the quality of the coverage, etc.).

This year, he wasn't as sharp early in the season as the level of play he had shown at his peak. Lot of problems with the line, drops, Marvin, etc., but he still wasn't as razor sharp as we have become accustomed to seeing him.

I think the knee is no longer an issue and I think he's pretty much back. The season numbers won't be as good, but he'll still be the best QB in the playoffs. As always.


Deshawn Zombie said...

The point of the post is that most of the season numbers will be just as good. If he has as good a final month as we expect, there may be little to no indication 20 years from now as to what happened for the first 8 weeks of the season. People may well have a hard time looking at the stat line and figuring out that he was hurt at all.

slash196 said...

Speaking of Edge, I'm about to float a very unpopular opinion: He was never that good, and getting rid of him gave us the last piece of the puzzle we needed to win it all. He was a "numbers" player; if you looked at his stats he seemed elite but he never got it done in clutch situations. I have strong memories of countless 3rd and goals coming up short because his lack of burst and power. Maybe someone wants to disagree with me, but he's certainly been unremarkable in AZ (bad O-line granted, but you could argue he only got good numbers because of Indy's solid line).

Deshawn Zombie said...

Edge was freakishly talented. He always played incredibly hard. He was a physical runner. He was an incredible blocker. He was a devastating receiver.

His only problem was that he ran too hard, too much, too early in the year and was out of gas late. If he came up short in playoff games, it was only because the Colts had run him into the ground.

When he left, the Colts smartly went to a two back set, and Joe Addai never started until the playoffs. Then in the fourth quarter of those games, they brought in Dom's fresh legs and he finished teams off. Figuring out that that was the way to go took the O to the next level. That's not Edge's fault.

The AZ line was AWFUL and he went there right at the magic fall line on which most RBs careers fall apart. Don't presume that his AZ years prove anything about Edge.

RBs can't really be clutch can they? The hole is either there or it's not. I'm one of those people who don't believe in clutch in general. If it doesn't exist in baseball with its large sample sizes, it almost certainly doesn't exist in football with small ones. But even beyond that, I'm not sure that a RB can be clutch. Sure, Edge fumbled on the goal line in NE in 04 (which cost us the Super Bowl in week 1). But Dom fumbled in the AFC Championship game in 06. In 04, the Pats picked it up. He's a choker. In 06, Saturday falls on it. Dom goes to Disney World.

Shake'n'bake said...

Am I crazy or did everyone's username in the comments not use to have capital letters?

Also I remember someone somewhere running the numbers on % of goal line carries converted into TDs and Edge was awful, but I'd rather sleep than dig it up right now. Edge was awesome between the 5s, but his power just seemed to disappear near the goal line.

Bob M. said...

Well said about Edge--I don't think he was a numbers guy at all (Slash)--those are the guys who run for 2,3,1,2,0,25 and end up with gaudy YPC but little true contribution to the team. One of his greatest gifts was/IS his consistency (and I joke about it sometimes) but he rarely got less than 3 yards (and the joke that follows would be... "or more than six"). But that's okay. FO's standard-bearer for RB success rate.
We were never set up as a power rushing, punch it up the gut team, and relied on the stretch and fear of Manning to open creases for Edge to exploit, so when we had a 3rd and 1 or 4th and inches, there was very little room for error. In the memorable "4 stuffs from the 1" game against the Pats, we were down one or 2 OLs, a FB, and a TE or two when manning called for the jumbo package to ram the ball in. The play calling was also suspect, but we flat-out did not have the manpower to run the play PM wanted. Nobody seemed to tell him that so he ran it anyway and I guess hoped for the best, which turned out to equal a NE Lombardi trophy.
I agree that they ran his wheels off, but he was VERY reluctant to share any time until his later years--he'd never pull himself out even after running 5-6-7 straight times and gettig them 45 yards downfield. Sometimes that hurts the team. As I have said countless times, PM has called him the best teammate ever.

While I sometimes blame him for some of PM's postseason failures (9 rushes for 13 yards in the 41-0 NYJ drubbing) part of that problem is he was not run often enough, as PM tended to take posibly too much of the burden on his own shoulders(IMO), and in that particular case, we started the game down 17-0, so the run game was an afterthought for 50 minutes.

Now on to more important matters, whom are you guys flaming regarding Marvin? If it was in response to my joke about his catch % (can't see how, but maybe...) I was just pointing out that even when injured for most of a season and clearly wearing a wrist brace he would never discuss or complain about, he was a very reliable, productive Pro Bowler. The joke being that maybe he puts on the brace again and he's back at 100%.
Or were you just kneeing each other in the nads in a burst of sibling pique that I'm just not picking up on?

Colts Girl said...

Slash, I'm with you. I'm not a fan of Edge. Maybe it's his attitude coupled with poor play in crucial situations, but I have never liked him. He always just seemed like a cocky jackbag who thought he was much better than he really was. That said, he was actually pretty good; he just thought he was phenominal. Irritating.

I disagree with Deshawn that Edge always played hard. I'm of the opinion that he played hard (and was amazing) when his contract was coming up and he wanted to be resigned/marketable, but not necessarily when he felt in a position of greater security. I could be wrong, fellas, but I don't think I am. I was really glad to see him go, and I'm not terribly interested in ever having him back.

And Shake, you're right: the names used to be all in lower case.

Bob M. said...

way too long. sorry.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Bob-Yeah, Demond and I were just yelling at each other. It's a joke.

Colts Girl-You couldn't be more wrong. I actually typed a long response saying why, but it was so long, I've decided to make it a post. Check back later and I'll make the case for Edge should always be beloved in Indy.

Anonymous said...

I don't think some folks realize how bad Edge's offensive lines were. Anyone remember having our tackles knocked straight back four yards into the backfield on a power run? Pathetically bad.

Edge was not a great runner, especially after the knee injury. But he was strong, tough and consistent and he fit into the Indy system perfectly. I've never seen another NFL back who did a better job of getting two more yards than were there.

Indy cobbled together their unique outside zone and the draw to produce a semblance of a running game. Go back and look at the film to see how special Edge could be running that stretch. There wouldn't really be a hole, but Edge would cut it up b/w 2 defenders with his pad level down around their knees and drive for 3,4,5 yards. Great pad level and leg drive.

Don't underestimate the value of those extra couple of yards on a consistent basis. Third and 6 was a lot easier for 18 and 88 to convert than 3d and 8 or 9.

He was rock solid in pass pro and as a receiver. He was an excellent fit for the offense. Without 18 he doesn't get into the hall of fame, but when he does, he will have earned it.


Demond Sanders said...

People questioning Edge? Wow.

slash196 said...

Edge is NOT a HOF back. No way. He was a solid player, probably most potent as a receiving threat out of the backfield. But to be a HOF RB you need to be beyond solid. You need to be THE top back in the league for five, six, seven years, and Edge was never that. The competition at that position is just too strong. Even AP will need to keep working his magic for another half-decade to even enter into the HOF picture.

Then again, maybe I judge him too harshly after he ditched us to go be on an awful team just because they would pay him more.

Colts Girl said...

Looking forward to the response. It almost certainly won't change my mind, though. I just don't like him. Maybe, like Slash, I judge him because he went to play with a subpar team just because they'd pay him more. Of course, now we have Addai, whom I like.

And maybe (this is very, very probable) it's just that I found him personally a bit of a jerk. Not that I ever met him and had a face-to-face; he just never struck me as a good guy. That always clouds my ability to like someone as a player.

Deshawn Zombie said...

I'm saving most of it for my post, but be assured:

Edge didn't come back because the Colts didn't want him back. Polian used him up and didn't want to pay him. There was no betrayal.

I just got home. In a couple of hours I'll put together a long, detailed post about Edge.

slash196 said...

Looking forward to it DZ

Anonymous said...

If I read this correctly, he is 12th all-time in yards from scrimmage. Add his outstanding value as a pass blocker on a team where that was critical and you have someone HoF worthy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, he was just solid, which is why he walked on to the NFL field and was the league leader in rushing back to back years and on his way to a third when a freak knee injury set him back.

He came back and still produced. If your boss refuses to pay you, should I call you a shitty worker for quitting and going to a boss who will? Some people should pull their goddamn head from their asses before typing.

Demond Sanders said...

In the words of Ed McMahon: