It’s always dangerous to get into a week to week analysis of a player. Newton is playing well right now, avoiding turnovers and the Panthers are on a nice little run. None of that precludes a four-interception game next week. But on the larger point about the way Newton’s performance has tended to be judged – that he’s more interested in his stats, is taking a long time to learn the value of ball security and so on, I was struck by this comment from ESPN’s Johnette Howard, in a piece this weekend about Giants’ GM Jerry Reese and the team’s general failings:
There’s something perversely admirable about Eli Manning‘s refusal to give a damn about his stats. He just keeps slinging the ball all over the yard while trying to win games for the Giants single-handedly. But it’s hard for even Manning to be magical when he is constantly getting hit, has no time to throw and no running game to rely on.
As I’ve said before, I have a hard time imagining that if Newton were turning the ball over as much as Eli, his performance would be interpreted as an unusual act of selflessness. But this is par for the course in evaluations of Manning the younger. I know that Eli gets a pass from many because he’s won two Super Bowls. And yes, I believe that if Newton wins one, he will be judged differently, as are all Super Bowl winning QBs. But apples to apples comparisons of Newton’s performance continue to be difficult to come by. For a player midway through his third season, he’s arguably doing exceptionally well. But he’s being held to some other standard.
(Peyton, by the way, gave the ball away four times yesterday. Shit happens).