Peyton Manning Is a Step Back for Broncos by Alex Ray
It’s a Broncos fan’s worst fear. Tebow time looks to be an actual improvement over our new washed-up superstar, Peyton Manning. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play at Indianapolis in his prime. At the time, he was one of the best, if not the best, pocket quarterback we had ever seen. Crisp, accurate passes were abundant, completion percentages off the charts, and a winning team. Who could ask for more? As it turns out, can we even ask for the same? The 36 year old is looking to be a shadow of the Colts’ player we knew. At the moment, Manning is sitting in 10th place in the ESPN passer rating charts, between Kevin Kolb and Joe Flacco. Given, these numbers are after only four games. Furthermore, the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans, two top class teams, handed them two hard defeats. However, there is really not much in these statistics only four games into the season (Manning jumped 10 places with this last win alone). It will certainly be interesting to see how Manning does with his passer rating. Some games, he looks to be a sensation, and other days he looks like he should just retire on the spot. The elder Manning has a 64.7% completion rate this season. Eight touchdowns and three interceptions finishes Manning’s big numbers so far.That being said, compared to the other teams they have played, this isn’t much different. Total passing yards are above the opposition by 75, and all of the other stats show that Denver is sticking with their opposition. In an alternate universe, the Broncos could easily be 3-0. We need to start looking to the future. It is clear that we have just made a half-successful attempt at bringing immediate pleasure to the loyal Denver fans with the purchase of Peyton Manning. Yes, he will almost certainly bring us a couple of seasons of moderate success, exiting in the first round of the playoffs. However, Elway needs to look at drafting or signing a new quarterback within a year or two. Manning is not a long-term solution. Looking at the rest of the team--yes, there is a team besides Peyton Manning--we are, once again, average. I’ll stop trying to heap the Broncos’ statistical woes on our newly acquired playmaker. Our rushing is leaving nothing to be desired. Starting running back Willis McGahee isn’t doing badly, per say. He is just not doing exceptionally. Just like the rest of the team, he is unspectacular. Combine that with his relative old age (he is quickly leaving 30 behind him) and things are not looking up. I think that we need to look at Ronnie Hillman, our newly acquired running back that we got in the third round of the 2012 draft. A quick, 21 year old player straight out San Diego State University. If Hillman can adapt to the rigours of pro football, the Broncos will have a long term solution to the impending rushing problem. Defensively, we are very strong, again. There is certainly room for improvement, and we aren’t nearly as good as we were ending last season, but there is definitely a strong foundation with which to build on. Allowing 1200 yards in four games is good enough for any team with playoff aspirations. On the other hand, individually on defense, Denver has no players in sight of the top 50 for tackles in the NFL Four games into the 2012 season, things could be much worse. On the other hand, some key players have to start overachieving for the Broncos to set foot into the playoffs. Eric Decker has to start putting up great rushing numbers, Peyton Manning has to start replicating his performance against the Raiders, and McGahee needs to step up or step out.