Why Peyton Manning Guarantees the Denver Broncos Nothing in 2012

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst ISeptember 18, 2012

Sep 17, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) reacts after the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Broncos 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Hold your horses, Denver Broncos fans. 

Peyton Manning doesn't assure anything. 

No, this isn't a knee-jerk reaction after his three-interception performance in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons on a Monday Night Football. 

While it's never easy getting a legitimate read on any player two games into a season, Manning's delivered one great game and one bad game, and the Broncos are 1-1.

You especially can't get a read on him just yet. 

Many believed that the sole presence of Manning meant the Broncos would challenge for the AFC West divisional crown or even the Super Bowl. 

Not so fast. 

Manning is still certainly Manning, especially from a cerebral standpoint. He's still amazingly sharp when it comes to pre-snap reads, calling subsequent audibles and knowing where to go with the football. 

But it was blatantly obvious last night, specifically in the disastrous first quarter, that Manning's arm strength is not 100 percent. Yet. 

Peyton would probably say so himself. 

He also doesn't seem totally in sync with his new receivers and doesn't appear to be caught up with the tremendous speed of opposing secondaries. 

This is not to say Manning can't lead the Broncos to the postseason (the AFC West currently looking like a two-team race) or that it's impossible for him to take Denver deep in the playoffs. 

He's an 85 to 90 Peyton Manning, and that is better than most quarterbacks in the NFL

But Manning doesn't appear to have rediscovered the ability to totally take a team on his back like he did many times in Indianapolis

The Broncos have two good pass rushers and some talent in the secondary. Can they dominate the opposition on defense? I'm not so sure. 

Can the offensive line protect Manning well enough for the 36-year-old to formulate a sound rapport with his pass-catchers? I'm not so sure. 

It was easy to fixate on Manning as the savior in Denver when he was signed to the monster deal. But quarterbacks can't do it themselves, even if you're a legend. And the loss to the Falcons was a harsh reminder that Peyton may not be all the way back just yet.