I need to begin by admitting that John Elway signing Peyton Manning to quarterback the Denver Broncos might have been the single best move this organization has made in recent memory. With that in mind, I will not discount drafting players such as Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller or even the trade that brought Champ Bailey to the Mile High City. It’s the promise of another Hall of Fame QB late in his career with a solid defense and run game that makes this such a coup.
But I will say this. This 2012 NFL season may not be all about Manning, just as it was not all about Elway in 1997 or 1998. Die-hard Broncos fans catch your breath, I am not speaking blasphemy here. Think about it just for a second. This defense is good enough with what I believe is a top-three pass rush in the league and if they can continue to stop the run as they did against the Pittsburgh Steelers, then you just sit back and watch Bailey and Tracy Porter do their thing.
The running game will be a big contributor this year as well. Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball, and even Ronnie Hillman, if he learns how to pick up his blocks, are a good group who will move the chains. The balance will be felt by opponents which will make Manning even more effective as he unleashes the no-huddle offense.
Just remember that it took pieces such as Shannon Sharpe, Terrell Davis and Rod Smith on offense, and John Mobley, Steve Atwater and Bill Romanowski on defense to help Elway to the elusive Super Bowl wins. There were many great players on those teams that Elway relied upon to take him to the pinnacle of his career and allow him to ride off to the sunset an ultimate winner.
Manning can not do it alone either. He will need every one of Miller’s sacks and Bailey’s interceptions. He will rely upon hard fought yards on the ground by McGahee and amazing runs after the catch by Salt and Pepper, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. This may just be a special year, not only because of Manning, but because Elway has set this team up to closely resemble the ones he left behind in 1999. Manning, as Elway once was, is merely the catalyst that will bring it all together.
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