Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peyton Manning Taking His Talents to the Rocky Mountains

The Broncos acquiring Peyton Manning makes an absurd amount of sense for both parties. John Elway and the Broncos front office know that Tebow was actually one of their team's biggest weaknesses. They've always harbored doubts, even in the midst of Tebowmania. Manning gives the Broncos a legit QB, and nobody can argue that this isn't an improvement over Tebow. So the public outcry won't be overwhelming. And for Peyton, he stays in the AFC, and is on a playoff team. A team that actually won in the playoffs.

Not even the Archbishop of the Church of Tebow can argue that this isn't an improvement for the Broncos. Tebow, for as many games as he won for the Broncos, was also a prime culprit in their losses. He couldn't consistently drive the ball down the field and score. He couldn't even consistently get 1st downs. When the defense was able to give him a chance late in games, Tebow could win. But that winning was dependent on the defense. He could finish a victory started by his teammates. He wasn't, however, good enough to initiate victory.

Peyton is. At least he has been in the past. For every Tebowist who spouts "All Tebow does is win," Mr. Manning has about 140 more wins than Mr. Tebow. Manning has won games for team's with horrible defenses. He can survive in an offensive shootout. In fact he thrives in them.

Denver can provide Manning with a good offensive line. Not only does that protect Manning, it allows him to go through his progressions and find the open man. He is a great enough QB to turn mediocre receivers into good ones, good receivers into great ones, and great receivers into Hall of Famers. So I wouldn't worry about Denver's lack of household name WRs. He'll be on a playoff team in a soft division. He has some raw material to work with in Denver. There is plenty of room for improvement, but he's quite capable of improving it.

What do the Broncos do with Tebow? Manning certainly isn't the long-term solution at quarterback, and nobody is absolutely 100% certain if Manning can play, let alone play well. The Broncos could keep Tebow as insurance/QB-of-the-future. They could also trade him. Which makes this acquisition even smarter for them. How many teams dramatically improve themselves AND acquire additional draft picks with one move?

The NFL's schedules aren't set yet, but in addition to playing their AFC West rivals, the Broncos will host Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Houston, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay. They'll travel to Baltimore, Cincinnati, New England, Atlanta, and Carolina.

Not an easy schedule.

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