5 Reasons Peyton Will Be Even Better in 2009


With the start of the 2009 season just days away predictions, speculation and sometimes what seems like just wild guesses are in full swing.  Sports writers, analysts, and bloggers all alike are throwing their hat into the ring, staking their claim on who will sink and who will swim this NFL season.

Well folks, it’s time for my two cents.

And what better topic to discuss than the NFL’s reigning MVP? A while back a friend and I had a conversation about Mr. Manning and how this year might be different than last year.  And yes, there are plenty of changes, but still, I truly, honestly believe that Peyton could put up better numbers than last year.   Here’s five reasons why.

5) The Tight Ends

Yep, you got it, the tight ends.  If Manning is going to produce better statistics than last year, the tight ends will be a big reason why.  This year’s team boasts a foursome of ends that should give opposing teams fits all year long.  There is superstar Dallas Clark, a favorite target for Manning; returning starting Gijon Robinson; and sophomores Jacob Tamme and Tom Santi.  Tamme was hurt most of last year and Santi went down as well after seeing some time and grabbing one touchdown pass.  However, both can catch and Tamme has yet to show what he can really do on game day.  Manning loves checking down to his ends or finding them open in the middle of the field.  Look for it to continue in a big way in 2009.

 4) A Healthier Offensive Line

This one kind of seems like a no-brainer, a healthy offensive line equals better quarterback play.  But last year the Colts did not have that luxury.  Guys went down left and right, rookies were forced to start and the team nearly started recruiting lumberjacks from the Canadian forest.  It was awful, absolutely awful.  Despite the current training camp craziness regarding Charlie Johnson and Tony Ugoh, a healthy offensive line will greatly improve this year’s team.  There should be better continuity, unit cohesion and overall better play, which will ultimately improve Peyton’s play as well.

 3) A Better Defensive Line

What, What? Ok, I know at first thought this sounds a bit odd, but hear me out.  Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, and Raheem Brock are all returning stars to the Colts D-line. Factor in the addition of Fili Moala, the re-signing of Ed Johnson and the improvement of returning nose tackle Antonio Johnson, and this year’s defensive line should be immeasurably better than the 2008 version.  With the middle finally anchored down, this unit should be able to get to the passer, get some quick three and outs and force the opposing team off the field.  Thus, giving Peyton plenty of time to orchestrate the offense, not just the two minutes he was given way too many times last season.

 2) An Improved Run Game

The Colts threw me a bit of a curveball in this year’s draft selecting Connecticut running back Donald Brown in the first round.  However, the more I think about this pick, the more I like it.  Brown provides Indy with that solid one-two punch which nearly every NFL team is going with.  It’s the formula that helped win Indy a Super Bowl in 2007.  If Joseph Addai can stay healthy, which should be easier with Brown sharing the load, the tandem could prove deadly.  The return of Mike Hart, who missed nearly the whole year, as a third down and change of pace back will also help.  Add in some plays for Chad Simpson and Lance Ball and the running back core is also greatly improved.  This of course only helps Manning sell the play action pass and keep the offense rolling.

1) His Health

This one really is as simple as it sounds.  Peyton Manning at 100% health is a scary, scary thing.  The man is a machine and simply will not stop.  I bet there are several teams who would opt for Manning at 70% or 75% over their current starters.  The problem is last year Manning was not fully healthy.  Knee problems, which led to surgery, hindered Manning for some time.  It was evident in the opener against the Bears in which he just looked rusty and then through the first several games.  However, he finally regained his form and led the Colts on another impressive win streak and playoff run.  Showing once again that Peyton Manning will not stop and will do whatever it takes to win football games.

With all that said, it’s fair to say that Peyton Manning won last year’s most valuable player with a bum knee, a banged up line, an inefficient run game, and at times a pretty bad defense.  Flip forward a year and turn all these factors in Manning’s favor.  If all, or even just a couple, of these predictions become true than it’s easy to believe that Peyton Manning’s numbers this year could easily surpass those of last year’s MVP season.