Peyton Manning had a phenomenal season -- and the same can obviously be said about his career. So it’s no surprise that NFL players tabbed him as the one player they’d want to build a team around.
I don’t have a problem with that because of Manning’s excellence. But I am surprised that New England’s Tom Brady received 21 fewer votes than Manning and 15 less than Andrew Luck. Brady’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but considering the situation at tight end and receiver in New England, what he did was quite impressive. He threw to a cast of no names and has them one win from the Super Bowl.
With Manning, you get not just a coach on the field, but also on the practice field and in the meeting rooms. It’s been that way for a long time. Manning makes many players look better. Brady helps many players win. Given what Manning did this season, it’s hard to go away from him. But there shouldn’t be a big gap between he and Brady.
Also, if I were taking a quarterback with more than five years left, I’d take Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. A young quarterback? It’s hard to go against Luck, bad playoff interceptions and all. My reason? Durability to go along with immense talent.
I’m also surprised that Calvin Johnson received 37 votes. There’s no doubt he’s one of the top players in the game, but if you have your choice of any player to build around it has to be a quarterback. And Johnson received 26 more votes than Drew Brees.
Redskins angle: The only Redskins player to receive a vote? Running back Alfred Morris, who received one. A year ago at this time, even with Robert Griffin III’s knee injury, he would have received a decent amount of votes. Griffin was at the top of the new age quarterback: the multi-dimensional threat capable of leading a more dynamic attack.
The Redskins’ offense went from inconsistent and turnover prone in 2011 to one of the most feared a year later and it was largely because of Griffin. So, naturally, many would have wanted to build around him. Now? He lags behind other young quarterbacks. In addition to Luck, Seattle’s Russell Wilson (five) and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick (one) received votes.
Morris is not a player I would build around, much as I like him. Not as The Guy to build around if I had my pick, that is. He offers the ability to have a strong running game, but to build around I’d like him to be more of an all-around threat or more explosive. That said, with Griffin and Morris, the Redskins still have a chance to build something offensively.