The League

Rob Rang
Draft Guru

Rob Rang

Senior Analyst for and

Manning More Than Sanchez


One of the reasons why former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez flew up the board as the draft approached was the belief among scouts who watched all 16 of his starts that he played with rare poise for a player of his limited experience.

The ability to handle pressure is important for every player on every team. It is absolutely critical, however, at quarterback.

With questions regarding their health, big contracts, looming competition, etc. one could make a valid argument that the pressure this year will be highest on quarterbacks Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselbeck or Tom Brady (all health-related), Matthew Stafford or Sanchez (contracts), Sage Rosenfels or Jason Campbell (looming competition).

I think the greatest pressure, however, falls upon two NFC East quarterbacks -- Dallas' Tony Romo and, to an even greater extent, New York's Eli Manning.

Romo, of course, is still trying to prove that he can win the big game. He may no longer have the distraction Terrell Owens brought -- but he also no longer has the play-making ability Owens brought either. This, more than ever, is clearly Romo's team. The pressure is intense now and will only increase as the season goes on.

The greater pressure, however, could be on Manning.

Like Romo, Manning is now without his talented, if troubled star wideout. Hakeem Nicks is among the most pro-ready of this year's rookie class, but he can't be expected to replace Plaxico Burress in his first season.

Without a dynamic receiver, Manning could revert back to the inconsistent passer he appeared to be early in his career. It could lead to the speculation that the Giants erred in choosing him over Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 draft.

It could even flame the fire already being stoked in some circles that the Giants' Super Bowl run was largely in spite of Manning's play, rather than due to it.

By Rob Rang  |  May 7, 2009; 12:27 PM ET  | Category:  New York Jets Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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