In two preseason games, Denver Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning hasn't looked great with underwhelming production and stats. While some are making a big deal of Manning's poor preseason, this notion is overblown. It's preseason and Manning is coming off a year without throwing a football.
If one were to just look at the stats, it would paint an awful picture. Manning has completed 20 of 30 passes for 221 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
Two of the interceptions were on tipped passes. Those are the type of fluke plays that you can't control, unless you don't throw the ball or you throw the ball at the ground every time. While they hurt the team and the stats, they aren't necessarily terrible throws.
And frankly, the stats don't matter. The result doesn't either. Manning has done a decent job getting the ball to his receivers. He hasn't looked sharp, but it hasn't been as bad as the stats would indicate. The preseason for Manning should be nothing more than getting comfortable throwing the ball and learning the offense.
One of the reasons for Manning's less-than-impressive stat line is the fact that he's coming off multiple neck surgeries and hadn't thrown a ball for a year. The nerves in Manning's neck, shoulder and arm are still coming together. After that much time without throwing a ball, it would be difficult for anybody to regain their full arm strength.
It will take a while for Manning to get comfortable throwing the football again. The game speed will also take a while to adjust to again. Manning may take a few games into the regular season to get close to where he was before the injury.
Another factor is that Manning is learning a new system and building chemistry with new teammates. He may be one of the smartest football players in the game, but it will still take him some time to get everything down to a comfortable level.
The Broncos are fortunate to be playing in a relatively weak division. They can likely afford to get off to a slow start and still have a great chance to win the division unless the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs or San Diego Chargers can shock the league.
Manning and the Broncos will be fine, it may just take some time. In the season of overreaction, Manning deserves patience before final judgements are made.