Peyton Manning: Strong Running Game Key to Broncos' No-Huddle Attack

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2012

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 18:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on August 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Peyton Manning has incorporated his patented ho-huddle into the Denver Broncos offense, but he'll need some help from the running game to make it work.

According to The Denver Post's Mike Klis:

But it wasn't until the first half of the preseason game Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks that it really hit Sports Authority Field at Mile High: The Broncos are a no-huddle offense.

There's no doubting Manning's mental capacity as a field general within the no-huddle offense. He's the Sun Tzu of the modern NFL when it comes to the art of quarterbacking. The bigger issue this season for Manning and the Broncos is that he's clearly lost a bit of zip on his throws—especially when he throws to his right.

ESPN's John Clayton and John Williamson of Scouts Inc. have both shared this concern, according to Additionally, Bleacher Report's Christopher Hansen broke it down brilliantly in this post, utilizing game tape to illustrate the point to perfection.

What this means going forward is that Manning won't be able to pick defenses apart this year as much has he's been capable of doing in years past. The area of the field that defenses need to cover has shrunk—even if only minutely—allowing them greater freedom and flexibility to defend the pass. 

Manning didn't need a strong running attack during his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts, especially towards his latter years with the franchise. The offense was tailored around his ability to beat defenses anywhere on the field with his arm, which he did on a regular basis. 

The Broncos have some quality receivers and good offensive linemen on their roster for Manning to work with. There's no doubt that the team will have success through the air with Manning at the helm, but it's going to take time for him and his receivers to gell.

Additionally, Manning needs to be protected. Who knows what his body can handle at this point? 

As good as the offensive line is for the Broncos, it would be foolish to turn the Broncos offense into a pass-happy, aerial attack that abandons the run. The best protection a quarterback can have in the NFL is a strong running game that keeps defenses off balance.

Besides, Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno aren't exactly scrubs at the running-back position. Manning's smarts combined with a bruising running game would make the offense nearly unstoppable. 

Jon Fox knows all this, of course, but it would be easy for him and his coaching staff to just turn over the entire thing to Manning and let him air it out.

That would be an error of epic proportions, though. 

Manning and the Broncos need to pound the rock within the constructs of the no-huddle offense. If they fail to do so, it could be a long, frustrating year for the team and its fans. 


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