The truth is probably somewhere in between, and until I see video proof to the contrary, I'm still betting that it's closer to noodle than rocket. For clarity's sake, the question we're discussing is how much strength Colts QB Peyton Manning has regained since his most recent neck surgery. To say there has been conflicting information may actually be an insult to the word "conflicting."
During the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, the sources of the conflicting information were the Colts and Jim Irsay, "versus" ESPN and Peyton Manning. More "sources" have emerged in the last week. Here's what they've said:
Thurs, February 2: Jason LaCanfora on NFL Network:
There are times when he has tingling, has the wrong sensations, he can't grip the ball, throw the ball with velocity. There is no consistency.
Tues, February 7: Bob Kravitz on The Kornheiser Show:
The guy's arm is a noodle. He can't throw like an NFL quarterback.
Thurs, February 9, Michael Lombardi on The Bill Simmons Report:
He can't throw the ball. I've talked to people who've caught the ball for him. He can’t throw the ball to his left. He can’t throw the ball across his body, because he doesn’t feel it. People who catch the ball for him say he doesn’t really have velocity on the ball yet.
Thurs, February 9: Bill Polian on Pardon the Interruption:
It's marked (improvement) from where he was back in September. He threw it accurately, he threw it with a good, tight spiral, and he threw it with velocity.
Fri, February 10: According to Skip Bayless, Chris Mortensen allegedly said that
Peyton is throwing "very well" right now.*
*If anyone can actualy find Mortensen having said this exact quote, I would appreciate it. I listened to Mort's interview on The Herd, and I did not hear him say that exact phrase. I cannot find his recent NFL32 interview.
On the whole Peyton Manning "noodle arm" comment... I misspoke.... What I've heard is he's throwing OK. Not terrible, not great like an NFL quarterback.
Even Peyton's teammaters are inconsistent. At the end of December, Adam Vinatieri and Joseph Addai said that Manning was throwing well.
December 22, 2011: Addai to the Associated Press:
He's not throwing deep-level passes, but the short stuff is really good enough to play.
Wed, February 1: Vinatieri on NFL.com:
I haven't watched him the last few weeks, but I did see him at the end of the season. He was developing nicely. Was he quite all the way back yet? No, probably not. Not to his standards. But he definitely is not that far off.
Wed, February 1: Reggie Wayne in an interview prior to Super Bowl XLVI:
I think his chances of returning to football are 50-50.
Nobody will know the truth until a video is shared showing Peyton in action. At ColtsAuthority, we have long maintained that this video will not be available until Peyton is healthy... or said another way, if Peyton were healthy, he and Tom Condon would be shouting it from the rooftops and dropping DVDs of his latest workouts into every NFL city like a leaflet propaganda campaign. This exposure would put sufficient pressure on Jim Irsay to take a step, one way or the other, to decide on Manning's future with the Colts.
I'm sorry but I don't feel like you folks at Colts Authority have been reporting on this situation objectively or honestly for that matter. Let's start at the beginning. Back in early Dec. Dr. Watkins released a statement saying the fusion was "firmly fixated" and Peyton was allowed to enter the next stage of his rehab. This was based on a post opp checkup a few days earlier. Then we had the recent checkup in which Dr. Watkins cleared Peyton to resume his football career. Colts Authority reported that this was nothing new, only a repeat of what we already knew. Not true. Manning wasn't cleared to take hits in Dec. He wasn't cleared to workout without restriction back in Dec. He still had a rehab regiment that was dictated by the doctors. He's been cleared to rehab without restriction. This is no longer in the doctors hands. It's in Peyton's hands. While the recent report didn't specifically mention nerve regeneration, it did say that Peyton underwent an extensive checkup. I can assure you that testing Peyton's strength on both arms was a part of this checkup. Dr. Watkins WOULD NOT clear Peyton if his arm was still in atrophy. This pretty much rules out the worst case scenario. That Peyton's nerve was not progressing. As far as the conflicting report go, lets take a look. Lombardi, LaCanfora, Kravitz, Nate, and even Morts statements have been based on unnamed sources. At least Mort said which workout he was reporting on. I'll paraphrase Morts comment. "I talked to someone who watched Peyton throw last Thursday. They told me that Peyton was throwing pretty darned well". You left out some of Polians comments. Comments that specifically refuted Lombardi's comments. Why? I watched the Reggie Wayne interview in which he gave the 50/50 odds. He also said that he hasn't even talked to Peyton except when he called to see if Reggie would give him his Superbowl ticks, let alone watch him workout or catch passes from him. So how Reggie's comment is relevent or considered conflicting someone will have to explain to me. I also don't understand why the comments Peyton made himself are left out of this article. Reggie's comment is relevent but Peyton's aren't worth mentioning? Hmmm. Why anyone would base their opinion on what Conden didn't say is something I don't understand. Because he didn't put a # on it like Reggie did? Conden sounded like he hadn't even talked to Peyton when the Rob Lowe tweet came out. How is Conden qualified to give a # or % on where Peyton's arm is at? I guess I wasn't aware Peyton was rehabing with his agent. Conden did guarantee Peyton would be playing in 2012, but I really don't see why anything he says would be considered an expert opinion. And the whole video thing is just ridiculous. I've never seen a video of any player working out in the offseason. Why would Peyton make a video? So other potential teams could watch? He's still under contract for the Colts. They can watch him throw anytime they please. Anyone who has made negative comments about Peyton is a third party. Peyton, Polian, Addai, Vinatieri,and Dr. Watkins statements have all been positive, and they are speaking for themselves not some figure in the shadows. Gee, I wonder who to believe?
Again Laura, nice job of tracking down all of the quotes here, where they originated and when. Thanks for the info.
I don’t really agree with this thinking and I see it far too often: The cries about the lack of video. It’s a totally bogus point based on the track record. What about Peyton Manning and the way he’s done things recently make anybody think he’s going to release a video of him rehabbing regardless of how well he’s throwing?
The man didn’t really seem to want anybody to know about the knee a few years ago. He’s probably been dealing with the neck thing for a couple seasons and tried to keep it off the radar even as recently as the first surgery that we know about. He was apparently annoyed in his first interview in the locker room after the surgery and complained about the gaggle of local reporters. He didn’t even want anybody to know he was having twins. Outside of jokes and scripted DTV commercials he seems fairly private. I’m not even sure that ESPN interview with Trey Wingo wasn’t more about sitting in a dark room in front of a very well-lit fridge full of Gatorade than some sort of politicking.
What does he need to prove to ESPN or you or me? It’s inconsequential to his best interests. If he is getting cut and wants a job, does he need to release a video so Mike Shanahan can see it confirmed by Sports Center or go viral on YouTube? No. Somebody like Peyton Manning is using his agent and making calls and then hopping on a private jet to the Washington Redskin’s or where-the-hell-ever’s facility for an even more private workout for their Owner, GM, and Head Coach.
I wonder if the key to this is the Lombardi quote that he can't throw to his left across his body. That uses a little different part of the muscles than throwing to the right does. Could be that he throws with good velocity to his right, but the muscle he needs to go left is still numb. What that means for his likelihood of full recovery, I have no idea.
I believe Polian on this one. He seems to be the most objective about it. Obviously the arm is not 100% but that is consistent with the expected recovery time for this type of procedure and nerve regeneration. If the regenerate, which is not a 100% certainty, but is likely, it should take approx 12 mo from what I have read, which puts the mythical 100% date at the start of the 2012 season.
So if you think he will be ready to go by March, you are asking for a letdown. But if his progress has reached a point where doctors can predict with any degree of certainty that his arm strength and accuracy will be at an acceptable level by training camp and the 2012 season, then I would pull the trigger.
So basically what I'm seeing is that people who have actually seen Manning throw and/or been on the receiving end of a pass (players and staff) have said his arm is decent and getting better. The people who peddle horseshit for a living (Kravitz, Canfora, Lombardi) said he had a noodle arm. Gee who do I believe on this one.
I'll go with Addai, since he's actually *caught* a football from Manning in the last 6 months.