As much talk as there has been about Peyton Manning and the team he could land with, the bigger story that sometimes has been left under the rug is that of his arm strength. Teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and others are reportedly interested, but it will be risky business if he can't get his arm to where it needs to be.
Albert Breer of NFL Network filed this report on how much Manning needs to be fixed up and the timetable that will get him back on the football field.
What we know about Manning's recovery is that the spinal fusion has taken, and he's been cleared to play. That doesn't mean he can play quarterback. It simply means he can, physically, go out there and take contact. The rest is about being able to throw like an NFL quarterback again. We know Manning's been throwing. The question is whether or not he's improving. Condon did say, "He's had very significant improvement from the time of the operation until now." But the key isn't the improvement from the time of the surgery to now, it's the rate of improvement from the beginning of the nerve regeneration, presuming it's underway, to now. If there has been kind of improvement Condon's talking about, then Manning would be out of what the doctor calls the "dormant period." Which, again, would be great news.
"What that means is there's not permanent blocking of the nerve signal," the surgeon said. "If he's getting better, then the wires are working. Now, it's a matter of gaining strength and fine motor activity to return. The question is the pace of recovery for a 36-year-old guy, he's got a ticking clock. But you can plot the trajectory of his improvement over the last several months, and if you see a significant increase in strength the last few weeks, you can be more optimistic.
"You can plot the level of function and strength compared to the opposite arm, and plot it out to where he would be based on the current level of improvement on March 8. And if that plots out to over 90 percent by September 1, teams would be crazy not to take a shot on him. If it's a slower rate, that's a different story."
We all know that March 8 is a very important day. For the sake of football, we all hope that his arm progresses to where he can play again. For Arizona Cardinals fans, the thought of that happening and having Manning land in Arizona is even better.
You can talk more Cardinals over at Revenge of the Birds.