The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Peyton now, Eli later

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For now, I'd still take Peyton. He's brought an indifferent offense through two of the more remarkable comebacks in recent memory this season, won a Super Bowl in the same year his team had just about the worst run defense in NFL history, and worked with injuries and positional ineffectiveness over the last two years. He's learned the one skill that truly separates the greats of an era from the all-timers -- the ability to win, no matter what. He's now that quarterback who can take his team on his back if need be. A remarkable transformation from the guy who threw his offensive line under the bus after a playoff loss a few years ago.

I like what I've seen from Eli this season and in last year's playoffs, but I need to see him define a game without Plaxico Burress AND not facing Seattle's pathetic secondary. Plus, I don't know if he wins a Super Bowl without that incredible front four -- that's something Peyton's never had. Right now, I have Eli on the fence between the truly elite quarterback and the quarterback who is as much helped by his team as the other way around. Every element of his game has improved exponentially in the last full year -- decision-making, progressing through reads, pocket presence, overall mechanics. You know the light's gone on. And over time, it could be a seamless transition from Manning to Manning on the elite list.

If I've got a two-year plan, I'll take big brother. If I'm looking to build a team from scratch and have a younger quarterback grow with his offense, Eli might be the better bet. Peyton's there now; Eli's still climbing the mountain.

By Doug Farrar  |  October 6, 2008; 10:16 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: It's Still Peyton | Next: Peyton's Place Ahead of Eli

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