Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has clearly lost some arm strength—a big problem for a guy who never had a cannon for an arm to begin with. It's also clear after two games that the Broncos are going to need to find his replacement sooner than they would have liked.
Don't get me wrong—Manning is still better than most NFL quarterbacks. It's his mind that makes him so dangerous, and there's nothing wrong underneath the forehead.
Still, Manning's inability to throw ropes on deeper passes—particularly deep outs and post patterns to the right side of the field—severely impacts the entire offense. Defenders don't have to be quite as sharp as they used to, and now that Manning has trouble with those passes, they can key in on certain things more than they ever could before.
His passes have been fluttering out of his hands, floating as if caught up in some invisible wind, as we're about to see firsthand.
First Interception vs. Atlanta Falcons on MNF
Jacob Tamme had a step on safety William Moore. The old Manning would have dropped a pass in right over the top of the defender.
Manning floated the ball, enabling Moore to come up with an easy interception in front of Tamme, who was helpless to defend it.
Here is another clear example of Manning's lack of arm strength, and it's even more apparent in this next video that he just doesn't have the power to drive the ball downfield.
Second Interception vs. Atlanta Falcons on MNF
Manning attempts to hook up with Jacob Tamme here, and he actually has him open. Unfortunately, he underthrew the ball by about 10 yards, and Thomas DeCoud was there for the easy pick.
Gruden talks about how Manning didn't see DeCoud there in the middle, and maybe he didn't. That said, even if he had seen him, he could have beaten him over the top with the right throw. But he couldn't .
Manning's throw was so short that by the time DeCoud had caught the ball, Tamme was already almost out of the picture.
Brock Osweiler in for the Hail Mary?
This probably shouldn't be a big deal, but the fact that Jon Fox considered bringing in Osweiler instead of Manning for a potential Hail Mary pass stirred up the already-bubbling pot of discontent about Manning's arm strength.
This argument only highlights what is apparent to all of us: Manning's arm strength isn't what it used to be.
Opposing defenses are going to be sitting on shorter routes more than they've ever done in the past against Manning, and since the offense will struggle to stretch the field, the running game will not be as effective.
Manning isn't the savior John Elway and Broncos fans thought he might be. He is limited in what he can do, and unless he suddenly regains his arm strength in the next few weeks, opposing teams will take full advantage in the latter half of the season.
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