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Denver Broncos: 3 Ways the Broncos Can Preserve Peyton Manning's Career

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 20:  Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos speaks after the news conference announcing the signing of quarterback Peyton Manning with the Broncos in the team meeting room at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre on March 20, 2012 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, entering his 15th NFL season, was released by the Indianapolis Colts on March 7, 2012, where he had played his whole career. It has been reported that Manning will sign a five-year, $96 million offer.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Scotty McGrawCorrespondent IIIMarch 26, 2012

The Denver Broncos now have one of the NFL's best quarterbacks of all time in Peyton Manning. However, after their mega signing, the Broncos are faced with reality.

Manning is a 36-year-old signal-caller with four neck surgeries in the past 20 months. He signed a massive deal, which tops over $95 million for five years.

According to ESPN's Andrew Brandt, the Broncos have protection if Manning gets injured, but they still need to keep Manning at an elite level for more than two years.

Here are three ways Denver can preserve Manning's career and save some juice for the fourth or fifth year of his contract.

 

1. Ground and Pound the Ball With the Running Backs

The Broncos were extremely effective in the ground game last season. Along with the defense, the running game propelled them into the playoffs. Tim Tebow was key in the run game during the better part of his 2011 campaign, as he and Willis McGahee ripped defenses in half with the shotgun read option during the middle of the season.

All Manning has to do is hand-off and get out of the way. Manning would still be able to gun plenty of passes a game, but will also get to watch the backs grind out quite a few yards.

 

2. Ensure Offensive Line Stability

With Manning under center, Denver needs to protect their quarterback at an A1 rate. They need to upgrade from JD Walton, a 2010 third-round center. The Broncos nearly landed Jeff Saturday, Manning's long-time snapper in Indianapolis, but the center ventured up north to Green Bay.

The Broncos also need depth after RG Chris Kuper's gruesome ankle injury in 2011. They need insurance for the line, so Manning won't take a lot of hits.

 

3. Develop a Wildcat Package For a Specialty Player

I am not saying that the Broncos should commit to the wildcat formation, but they should make a package for a player and let him take two or three snaps a game.

They could put Demaryius Thomas or McGahee back there, or they could even put a defensive back as the wildcat QB. Champ Bailey played wide receiver in college, so you never know who could end up taking snaps. 

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