Sunday, November 1, 2015

Peyton F'in Manning

Those of you who either know me, or have been reading for awhile now, know I am a loyal Denver Broncos fan despite my new home in Chicago.  For the past four years watching Peyton lead the team to more wins than losses, and countless exciting games, has been such an incredible joy. Of course I am frustrated we have yet to win a Superbowl during this era, but like the rest of the fans I keep thinking, "There is always next year."

Something I was talking to Patrick about a few nights ago, is how sad I will be if this season proves as dire as some are predicting for Peyton and the Broncos. I will be sad because I want a Superbowl win for my team, sad because I want a Superbowl win for Peyton, and sad because I want a Superbowl win for myself (;)). Mostly, though, I will be sad that Peyton won't get to go out on top. I want victory for him. I know his incredible legacy will live on, but anyone, including Peyton, would be straight up telling a fib, if not to admit that finishing a record breaking career with anything other than a Superbowl win would be good enough.

The conversation then, in true "Stuff Shayla Says" fashion, turned to the psychological components of all this: First-- I know, and you know, Peyton has thought about all of the above. Second, and more interestingly, if you ask me-- the issues plaguing him right now. I don't know about you, but I haven't heard a single conversation about the fact that a lot of the errors Manning has made in the past six games, are Mental not physical. He is over-throwing, under-throwing, not throwing at all (aka getting sacked). I'm not saying it's all mental, but to what I consider an alarming degree, it seems like he is in his own head.

Anyway, I have a million things to do this week... and my gem of a boyfriend is in town scoping out this glorious, albeit, freezing cold, city.  Therefore, I have enlisted him to talk a little more about the conversation we had because I found it quite interesting and I think you all will too:

Patrick Says...

Did you see that Cleveland game?! It felt like I was watching a rookie taking his first snaps in the NFL. The reads were questionable and the throws lacked muster. Having watched Peyton for more than a few years now, it's hard to watch this level of play, but knowing he's a Hall Of Fame caliber QB-- the General of the greatest offense in the history of the NFL, I cannot accept this as his fate.

Being the fan that I am, (and not to mention, having a girlfriend who overthinks everything there is to overthink), I have spent a lot of time analyzing the issues the Broncos are facing this season. I wonder, is the problem due to the loss of weapons: Julius Thomas and Wes Welker? Both were dominate mid-field in seasons past, and now the team is left with few options in this respect.  Maybe this lack is creating a situation where defenses can cheat toward deep threats, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. On the other hand, maybe the new offensive line is the problem. It has Peyton looking for rushers instead of looking downfield to make the correct decision. Or, as hard as it might be to admit, maybe the game has become too fast for our beloved Sheriff. I mean isn't slowing down inevitable for all NFL players eventually? Have the surgeries and blindside hits finally caught up to him?

The conversation Shay mentioned, brought up a very good point for me, however. I started talking about "the system" new Broncos head coach, Gary Kubiak has become famous for. Shay asked me to explain to her how the new offense works: Basically, it forces Peyton to line up under center and make his reads after the ball is snapped. This is a harsh contrast to what he is used to-- Rather than sitting back in the shotgun position and surveying the defense, pre-snap, now he's gotta know where he's going with the ball before it's even in his hands.

You can see the evidence of this in the questionable throws that Peyton made in the Browns game. Look here. Especially the throw he made in overtime. At the 3:15 mark in the video you'll notice it seems like Peyton throws the ball directly to the defender. To me, it looks like he's still trying to make the read pre-snap, instead of going through the progressions this new offense requires.

We will have to wait and see if Peyton can adapt to this new offense... and maybe at this point in his career it isn't  worth going through the growing pains, I don't know. As the season progresses I would imagine we'll see the offense revert to Peyton's comfort zone. After all it's what he's been doing  his entire career despite the criticism due to lack of success in the playoffs. If you ask me, it could work for us this year if we make it to the postseason, and the reason is simple. Defense. Peyton won't be forced to carry the team like he has in  the past. In my opinion, if defense keeps playing like they have so far this season and Peyton can find some kind of  rhythm, this could be a very special year for the Denver Broncos.

No comments:

Post a Comment