One person I respect greatly who has always been a few pounds overweight once said to me: “Andrew, if I were thin I’d be fat.” It was a simple acknowledgment of who he was. He loves food and loves life too much not to enjoy the pleasures of eating… that if he ever worked hard enough to get his weight down, that he loves food too much to stay thin for long.
It can work like that in the NFL. You have to know who you are. If you play in a dome or in San Diego, you can play offense differently than you can in the Meadowlands. Try completely differently. In 1985, the Jets drafted Al Toon and the 49ers selected Jerry Rice six picks later. Wonder remarked that if Toon had gone to the 49ers and Rice went to the Jets, Toon would’ve been the Hall of Famer and Rice would have gotten killed. If New York had a Hall of Fame wide receiver, it wouldn’t.
So here comes Percy Harvin, WR out of Florida, who sees himself as a younger version of Panthers WR Steve Smith.
Florida. That should tell you something right away. Darting speed. Quick. Elusive. Harvin would be an excellent fit for the Colts. Could you imagine a darting receiver like that on the TURF, being able to get hit IN STRIDE by an accurate QB like Peyton Manning? In the track meet of a dome? Can you say YARDS AFTER CATCH?
Contrast that with a team like the Giants, where Peyton’s brother’s less than stellar accuracy and weak history with YAC would make Harvin look as if he’s playing in quicksand. I can see the color running out of your face, just as it did with mine. It’s the sad acknowledgment that NY has never been the WR nirvana we would like it to be. And that that prognosis won’t be changing any time soon. We pine for Braylon Edwards, not because we envision him getting back to the Pro Bowl. But just so that he can get 800-1,000 yards, get enough done out there to take the heat off the box. Take the heat off our coordinator. And take the heat off our less than accurate QB.
Yes, we have been ripping Eli’s accuracy the past few weeks, and it all started with Trent Dilfer’s candid admission about what it means for Manning to have that tall WR. Let’s call it an acknowledgment of what we have in our QB. He throws high, he throws behind, he does not throw in stride. Eli Manning is the NY Giants QB and he has delivered a championship to the organization. We just have to be frank about some of his limitations.
To his credit, Manning has learned about trying to place the ball where it cannot be intercepted. But this is not what you do to get the track meet started. How many of you heard the candid admission from Plaxico Burress on the winning Super Bowl catch? Burress essentially said that he was (routinely) adjusting his speed and his route to compensate for the inaccuracy of Manning’s passes. Obviously that one pass was more accurate than many others Manning has thrown, but if you watch it again, Burress is there waiting for the pass to arrive, slowing just enough to have it come in. And have that defender close the gap so that the tackle is made. Yards after catch.
The Giants’ Steve Smith would be a jitterbug for Peyton Manning with oodles of stats. For Eli Manning he is just another WR who happens to have the same name as the one Percy Harvin is trying to emulate.
Tomorrow- Draft analysis of RB, CB, TE, C, and Guard