Why the Denver Broncos Just Aren't a Good Fit for Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning could make any team respectable.
Over the years in Indianapolis, he did more with less than arguably any quarterback in NFL history.
Although the city of Denver was transfixed by Tim Tebow mania following an epic trip to the postseason a year ago, it was ready to open its arms to the legendary quarterback this March.
After five games, Manning's been Manning, averaging 300 yards per outing with 11 touchdowns, three interceptions and a typical 101.0 QB rating.
However, his team is 2-3, with wins over a struggling Pittsburgh Steelers club and an awfully inconsistent Oakland Raiders bunch.
Sure, there's more than enough time for the Broncos to return to contender status in the AFC, but after a rather disappointing start, it's certainly fair to wonder: Were the Denver Broncos a great fit for Mr. Manning?
As it currently stands, I'm inclined to say no.
Most importantly, Manning's age (36) and health history project him to play, in his productive prime, for two or three more years.
He seems to have picked up where he left off in 2010, but are the Broncos really ready to compete for Super Bowl this year?
Are they really in win-now mode?
Is the talent around him on both offense and defense good enough?
Denver's defense is far from abysmal, but it's certainly not garnering any elite consideration. With Manning, you don't need an elite defense.
Demaryius Thomas has tremendous potential and has contributed early in his career, and Eric Decker is a serviceable chain-moving option.
Again, Manning's dealt with less intimidating wideouts in the past.
Were the Denver Broncos the best fit for Peyton Manning?
The most glaring issue to me is the shortcomings along the offensive line. It has allowed 10 sacks and has paved the way for a 3.8 yards-per-carry average thus far, which are respectable numbers.
But in the end, the offensive front is a liability.
This isn't to bash Manning's teammates, but a lot of this 2012 Broncos club outside of Manning appears to be average.
Right now, they're 15th in total defense. Average. They're 17th in rushing yards gained. Average. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged a 94.7 QB rating against Denver. Below average. They allow the 21st-most points per drive. Below average.
The Broncos aren't an absolutely atrocious fit for Manning, and who knows, with the way the AFC has started the season, they could be fighting for a playoff spot in the final weeks.
But would Manning have meshed better and seen more general team success with an Arizona Cardinals club that's started the year 4-1 with Kevin Kolb? What about the San Francisco 49ers?
Denver seems like a club a few years away from having all the necessary pieces to legitimately compete for a championship.
By that time, hopefully Manning can still be Manning.
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