Denver Broncos: Protecting Peyton Manning is the Key

By Joe Morrone

It seems as if everyone has been talking about Peyton Manning since he signed with the Denver Broncos; is he back, what about his arm strength, can he stay healthy and so on. None of those questions are an issue since Manning is healthy and his arm is plenty strong enough. What it comes down to is if the Broncos can protect Manning then he is going to pick any defense apart.

In the Broncos two losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans, Manning struggled at times because of the pressure he was under. He still put up decent numbers in terms of yards and touchdowns, but he was not as effective as he wants to be. In the Broncos two wins versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders, Manning was protected and had a field day with both defenses. The Raiders never got close to Manning and he just sat back in the pocket, picked out the open receiver, and delivered the football.

All of this talk about the strength of Manning’s arm strength is completely pointless because he has never thrown the ball down field that much. In his best seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Manning just dissected defenses while surveying the field from the comfort of the pocket. He proved on Sunday versus the Raiders that he is still the best at finding the mismatch and exploiting it.

So what’s the bottom line? Simple, if the Broncos offensive line can protect Manning like they did on Sunday then they are going to put up 30 points a week. Even with the perceived struggles of the offense through the first four weeks, the Broncos are averaging 29 points a game. Imagine what they are going to average if Manning continues to stay clean. The real good news for Manning and the Broncos is they are about to get their best offensive lineman back in Chris Kuper. In addition to getting Kuper back, center Dan Koppen is an upgrade at the position and the offensive line should be a strength.

Manning and the Denver Broncos are getting more comfortable every week. If the offensive line protects number 18 like they did versus the Raiders then the questions are going to change from, is Manning back to how do we stop this guy?

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