Peyton Manning: What His Offense Will Look Like in a Mile High Atmosphere

Marco CummingsContributor IIMarch 19, 2012

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts and linebacker Mario Haggan #57 of the Denver Broncos talk during a video replay ruling at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Colts defeated the Broncos 27-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

In 14 years with the Indianapolis ColtsPeyton Manning wore down opponents with his hurry-up offense. That was in a dome, at approximately 800 ft above sea level. When Peyton Manning begins his tenure with the Broncos, oxygen masks will be a must-pack for the team’s opponents, playing outdoors at a mile above sea level.

If last season was any indication, the two-minute offense can and does work in Denver. Many of Denver’s eight regular season victories were come-from-behind wins with Tim Tebow.

But before that, fourth-quarter comebacks were a staple under John Elway. Just imagine how much more effective this style of play will be with Manning, a 14-year veteran and master of the no-huddle.

Besides bringing a traditional pocket passer into the fold, Manning will improve the play of the offensive players around him, especially the receivers. Remember all those dropped balls by the Broncos last season? That won’t fly under Peyton’s watch. Known as a field general, Peyton will instill discipline into the Broncos' young receiving corps.

The Broncos have a full stable of young talent at receiver with Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Matt Willis. With Manning running the offense in Denver, we can expect these players to go from names that only Broncos fans know to perennial Pro Bowlers.

Peyton Manning’s hurry-up offense will also bring back the advent of the receiving tight end, a position that Broncos Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe revolutionized, but one that has been missing from the team for years.

Many expect Dallas Clark to come along now that Manning is set on an arrival in Denver. But whether it is Clark or someone else, expect the Broncos to draft or sign a receiving threat at tight end.

Peyton Manning has never played for an offense that is as effective at running the ball as Denver was last season. This is an advantage for both the run-based offense of Denver and the new implements Manning will install in the passing game.

If a defense is sold on the run, Manning’s favorite play-action plays will be all the more effective. Likewise, Willis McGahee will have a field day against teams concentrated on pass coverage against Manning.

Manning, John Elway, John Fox and Brian Xanders have effectively doused the Tebowmania fire. One of the main benefits of this will be the fact that they will still be able to fill the stands at Sports Authority Field, but with fans of football and the Broncos, not just Tebowmaniacs.

John Elway is still known as the first Mile High Magician in Denver. For many fans, he will probably be the only one. But Manning is one of the few, if only, quarterbacks that could match Elway’s accomplishments in Denver.

In the 2009 NFL season, Manning became the first NFL quarterback to tally five fourth-quarter comeback wins in a season. This is a pretty impressive resume even compared to Elway, who is credited with 47 career fourth-quarter comebacks.

John Elway will always be known for “The Drive,” a last-minute comeback against the Browns in January of 1987, but few remember that the Colts’ Peyton Manning led a comeback from an 18-point deficit in the 2006 AFC Championship Game against New England.

Mile High Magic under Tim Tebow was considered both surprising and miraculous. But with Manning, just like John Elway before him, fourth-quarter comebacks will be expected almost as a given.