Friday, February 10, 2012

What David Wright Can Learn from Eli Manning

Eli Manning is on top of the sports world right now. 2 time Super Bowl Champ. 2 time Super Bowl MVP. And now is considered a lock for the Hall of Fame by most critics.

But if you look back at Manning's career, he and David Wright were on the same path. Here are the similarities:

  • Both came to their organization with a lot of hype and expected great things from them
  • Both have had periods where they struggled and were ripped by fans and the media
  • Both have a demeanor about them that would you question their "leadership" in the clubhouse
  • Both have baby faces
  • Both have seen teammates they relied on turn around and leave them
  • Both have played on teams that lacked what would be considered all star talent
There are more similarities than just this short list, but it's the difference in Manning that make comparing them such a stark contrast. The struggles that Wright & Manning both faced have been overcome by Manning. That's not to say Eli did it all himself, but it's hard to argue that he is not the driving force behind the Giants.

When times became tough, when players left for greener pastures, when he was surrounded with less than superior talent, Eli Manning was able to rise to the occasion. When the game is on the line, Eli doesn't crumble under the pressure. He treats a 2-minute drive in the 4th quarter with the same attitude as he does the opening kickoff. When it comes right down to it, Eli Manning does not allow circumstances to impact his performance.

David Wright does.

Wright has struggled the past few seasons as he's been left exposed in the lineup. Trying to take on the leadership role in the clubhouse has put a significant burden on him that appears he is unable to handle on his own. When is the last time you remember David Wright coming through in the clutch? 

Eli Manning has been called the "baby face assassin" and Wright needs to earn that moniker as well. It's time for Wright to grow into a ballplayer who isn't swayed by his surroundings. I'm not asking him to become something he's not. I'm asking him to develop a killer instinct that is needed to be a superior player in any sport and survive the New York sports media onslaught.

For David Wright, this is the season to prove it. There are zero expectations for the 2012 Mets just as there were for the Giants this past season. That's not to say I expect an improbably championship run from the Metropolitans, but I do expect some growth from Wright.

If there is none, than we are well within our rights to question the relevance of Wright.

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