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Let's Talk About Peyton Manning
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AnAngryAmerican


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:54 am    Post subject: Let's Talk About Peyton Manning Reply with quote

I've beat around the bush for a long time vis--vis Peyton but I think, after what we saw last Sunday and now that the raw emotion from everyone has ebbed (at least somewhat), a frank conversation amongst the well-informed portion of the fan base - of which I count some of you - needs to be had.

Said conversation is certainly not going to be had in the local media (at least the vast majority of it, many of whom are simply cheerleaders participating in a pay-for-play game) or amongst casual fans who think Peyton is an infallible god.

So it's up to us.

I think it goes without saying - but it has to be said to avoid derailing this thread with degenerative homer-or-hater, fanboy-or-apologist like-conversations - that Peyton is, without question, one of the all time greats. He's a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, he's changed the way the game is played, he's a great guy, a great teammate, a leader around whom his teammates rally, as competitive as they come and there is no one in the NFL who wants to win more than he does.

But, are Peyton's short-comings - and the problems they create for the other 52 players on the roster, for the front office, for the coaching staff - enough to counteract the (extraordinary) positives he brings to such an extent we cannot and will not win a Super Bowl with him at QB?

Just like the 1998-2010 Colts, the 2012-2013 Broncos have become the very definition of a finesse team. Like Peyton's Colts, Peyton's Broncos can win one way and only one way. Despite their regular season success, against teams they could just out-score, to whom have Peyton's teams lost? Teams that beat them up - the Pats of the early and mid 2000s, the Chargers of the mid-to-late 2000s, the Steelers, the Jets, the Ravens and, this year, the Seahawks.

When opposing defenses, inclement weather or the a combination thereof disrupt the meticulously-prepared game plan created in Peyton's image (and likely with his input, if not outright control) his teams prove unable adapt.

Look at how many times Peyton's teams seasons have ended against teams that just out-muscled and out-physicaled them, teams that just beat them up:

1999: Titans
2000: Dolphins
2002: Jets
2003: Patriots
2004: Patriots
2005: Steelers
2007: Chargers
2008: Chargers
2009: Saints
2010: Jets
2012: Ravens
2013: Seahawks

This is not cherry-picking results, since 1999 teams with Peyton Manning at QB, in years he's set, broken, or flirted with some all-time NFL records, have lost. It's not a coincidence; it's a byproduct of what he does and how the franchise for whom he is playing sets their approach to cater to his skills. Again, his skills are substantial but his teams have lost in the playoffs to teams quarterbacked by Steve McNair, Jay Fiedler, Chad Pennington, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson. Big Ben is a borderline elite QB and Rivers has ping-ponged between very good and average throughout his career, but the rest? I like Russell Wilson but as a pure QB he can't hold a candle to Peyton. So why are Peyton's team's losing?

The reason, at least in my opinion (and I've been wrong before) is because, for all his greatness, he is such a control freak and has built up such a reputation (deservedly mind you) that his rosters are built around him. The problem is building a team around Peyton, or altering your approach to fit his skillset, yields record-breaking numbers but limited post season success. As I've said countless times, when thins do not go according to plan, Peyton's teams -whether it's the 2002 Colts or the 2013 Broncos - are so pigeon-holed into a singular winning formula that they cannot win outside said formula.

In the deepest of the deep part of the playoffs (the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, the NFL final four if you will) the more physical, more stout team, the one that can control the line of scrimmage is, very often, the one who emerges victorious. Need some examples? Off the top of my head; The physical 49ers beat the finesse Falcons and the physical Ravens beat the finesse Patriots last year in the AFC and NFC Championship games. The physical Giants beat the finesse Patriots in the Super Bowl. Twice. The finesse Cardinals lost the physical Steelers and the finesse Colts lost to the physical (some might say downright dirty, "bounty-gate") Saints. Who was the last finesse team to win the Super Bowl? The 1999 "greatest show on turf" Rams? They lost 2 years later to the physical Patriots (interesting how the Pats have come full circle, winning 3 Super Bowls as tough, stout teams, losing 2 Super Bowls as finesse "we will just outscore you with our bada$$ QB" team).

I think John Elway needs to recognize that the "Peyton Way" works in Denver about as well as it did in Indy and if he is being honest in his assertion that the only thing in which this team is interested is winning the Super Bowl, some changes need to be made.

Rather, instead of re-signing Peyton-favorites Eric Decker and Zane Beadles, that the team's money and draft picks would be better used on upgrades on the defensive side of the ball, on re-signing DRC and adding a RB who has attributes beyond pass protection.

Let not anyone think this is a "should we cut him?" or "should he just retire" thread. We all know the odds of either of those things happening are further below zero than is the temperature along the Front Range right now.

What's say you?
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champ+jay+al=SB


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely knew you were leaning towards this opinion AAA, and I am really happy you made this thread. You and B67, among others, made the points about our team being mentally (and physically) soft earlier this year and I definitely saw the basis, but was holding off judgement (and being a fanboy//hopeful) because of how well we were playing...the Ravens game was just one game after all....

BUT...

This team had some major short comings that we all saw and talked about all year......and I think we were all hoping that the offense would carry us through. Aaron Rodgers did it two years ago (he is the best player in the league imo) and I though that we could do that this year....but yeah the Super Bowl happened.

I really thought that our offensive minds were going to come out with a gameplan to beat the hawks (who play fairly straight up)....and we got embarrassed. It made me sick and it was utterly terrible how owned the offense looked. Completely out matched.

Anyways....I do have faith in Elway as far as building a great team goes. I have very few negative things to say about him thus far. But I really do agree with you that the nature of this team has to change in order for us to win the Super Bowl. The Hawks, 9ers, Panthers are not going anywhere...and they are all bangers.

It was honestly sad watching us try to make crossing patterns work when we were down 15 zero. It was sickening. In that situation, we would have done much better with a different type of QB. The gameplan was tossed (they had us figured out) and we needed a player to ball the eff out and win (ala Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers).

Our defense was definitely not the problem in the SB (they played pretty well)....but they were built to hold...not built to win by forcing turnovers and pushing the other team back. But at this point it really doesn't matter....we weren't winning that game.

But I agree with you....this Peyton offense could win a chip, but it's doubtful. We need more of an aggressive//opportunistic defense (the pieces are there) and an offense that is willing to adapt and overpower people (pieces are also there).

Well I'm hammered so I hope y'all don't end up reading this for nothing.
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DILinator


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually agree with you completely AA! I've been saying similar things to people lately, especially after that performance in the Super Bowl. I wanted to believe he and that offense could single-handedly overcome the elite Seattle defense, just because of how great he is. But I think in the back of my head, I knew that was possibly wishful thinking, and the SB proved that to be true.

So I too, am advocating letting pieces like Decker and Moreno walk, and instead focusing our money and resources to the defensive side of the ball, using the blueprint drawn up by the Seahawks, Niners, and Panthers as much as possible. The offense will still be very good, but if we can get our defense a little more to the playmaking side of things, this team can definitely take that next step towards winning a Super Bowl. Because with those elite defensive teams stacking up over in the NFC, we're not going to win with brute offensive prowess. We saw that this year...
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7DnBrnc53


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think John Elway needs to recognize that the "Peyton Way" works in Denver about as well as it did in Indy and if he is being honest in his assertion that the only thing in which this team is interested is winning the Super Bowl, some changes need to be made.


All I have to say is that, if Peyton implodes in the SB next year like he did on Sunday, his rear end is grass, and John Elway is the lawnmower.
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elliot878


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

7DnBrnc53 wrote:
Quote:
I think John Elway needs to recognize that the "Peyton Way" works in Denver about as well as it did in Indy and if he is being honest in his assertion that the only thing in which this team is interested is winning the Super Bowl, some changes need to be made.


All I have to say is that, if Peyton implodes in the SB next year like he did on Sunday, his rear end is grass, and John Elway is the lawnmower.


Peyton's teams are finesse, I agree. They always have been. He also has a tendency to choke on the big stage.

That said... No, no GM will ever give up Peyton Manning unless faced w the situation that the Colts were faced with. Having the first pick when the best QB prospect since Manning is on the board.

A top 5 franchise QB is the hardest thing to obtain in this league, you get one, you don't discard them.

Poll the 32 GM's in this league, and the 32 head coaches in this league - do it anonymously. Make the question hypothetical - "if PM had three straight Super Bowl losses like last Sunday would you let him go?" Your response would be No, and the votes would be a unanimous no. You'd also get a lot of laughs.
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Peyton has nothing to do with the defensive coaching, or the defensive players. Nothing he can do can make them finesse. Our defense has a ton of talent, more than any Colts d has ever had. The defense should not have been as bad as it was during the regular season, and besides the Super Bowl it proved not to be.

I think the effect Peyton has on the defense is that they see him, and the scoreboard, and they get lax, knowing that Peyton is just going to go out and get back whatever points they give up. There is a "no big deal PM will get back those points" mentality with our defense during the regular season. There's not really a lot you can do about it as a defensive coach, its just something that settled into those guys.

I actually think JDR did a good job of snapping them out of that mindset in our two playoff wins, because the D had tightened way up before the Super Bowl.

Defenses on PM led teams will always become complacent during the regular season, no matter the amount of talent. Offense will always be the identity of the franchise. My goal as a coach or defensive coordinator would be to ask my defensive players to steal the spotlight from the offense. I'd challenge them to be so tenacious for 16 games that they create their own identity, that their playoff opponents fear the Broncos D more than the offense. I'd challenge my players as a unit to create their own reputation, as the offense has done.

Changing the identity from finesse to physical comes with how you motivate your players from a coaching standpoint. Manning has no impact on our defense. They're two separate things. It's simply the D become nonchalant in their attitude knowing the offense will pick them back up. Its the coaching staffs job to keep them tenacious - easier said than done when you're up 21 in the second quarter.
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paul-mac


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our defense stepped it up in the really important games this year.


That SNF game against Kansas they were absolutely sublime. Then the two playoff games they pretty much shut the oppo down until the 4th quarter. Then even in the superbowl they did well to keep it a two possession game for a little while.


Only really bad games were the Chargers loss and the second half up in Boston.

They need to force more turnovers though.
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lomaxgr


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just don't understand how this team is a 'finesse team', and especially not since Peyton became QB.

Here are the highlights of the moves we have made on Offense since Peyton became QB :-

* Broke the bank on a mauling RG, who outweighs his predecessor by over 20 lbs.

* Placed Manny Ramirez at Center, who also outweighs his predecessor by over 20lbs.

* Drafted a tough, big built RB in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL draft to help give the team more of a physical presence in the run game.

* Signed Wes Welker. Finesse? He is as good at getting off the LOS as any slot WR in NFL history. He isn't a, "smack you in the mouth" type WR but he is tough and doesn't define finesse to me.

The Defense also were best at stopping the run in our playoff run, so surely they can't be seen as finesse?

This Offense showed, especially late in the year, that they can run the ball down the throats of teams when they want to. Now if you were to say, "Peyton is a control freak and his own playcalling at the LOS is very poor at times" then I could actually agree. I think he backs himself too often at times but can you blame a QB for wanting the ball in his hands? Hardly the sign of being a mental midget.

This team isn't soft. They got beaten up in a baaaaaad way to a very, very physical team that peaked at the right time with very few injuries. It was a bridge too far for a beat up team against a very good opponent.

I think this team, when healthy, was balanced enough to win a Superbowl but we just came up against the wrong opponent. Peyton's history with the Colts is totally different. They couldn't field a Defense worth a crap for years, and Polian always blamed it on Peyton locking up the salary on Offense. What a load of crap. Why then didn't his Defense play well when they were under cheap, rookie contracts? Because Polian was crap at drafting and he missed time after time on Defensive (and Offensive) players.
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broncos67


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Lomax. I don't think Denver is really "finesse" per se. I think the Eagles are a finesse team.

Denver's offense is littered with big bodies, on the line, at RB, and at WR. They are athletic, no doubt, but they aren't this quick and agile offense.

Now, the defense...I would say the defense is somewhat finesse. The front 4 are not quite finesse, but the speed of the LB corps and the secondary is a bit more in that mold, and I think a change there could help.

As for Manning I'll say this:

He's no doubt one of the GOATs, but what hurts him is that he succeeds because he has a routine and a rhythm that works against 90% of the teams in the league because they just don't have the overall skill to combat it. However, when Manning faces a team, like Seattle for example, who throws him off of that plan/rhythm, it opens the flood gates and I think he panics a bit too much.

I also think that the offense played very uptight in the SB when they didn't do that most of the season. You could see guys just weren't themselves, maybe because they are afraid to screw up, or maybe because they got bullied too much. I do think Denver is a mentally soft team, however. Every game they lost was when they lost the opening coin toss (that's a big problem to me.) I think they win only when they can control the tempo, but in 50/50 games where tempo is equal they struggle much more. I would like to see some more grind it out wins from this team because I think that defines a teams character. Manning hasn't had to play in many games like that in his career and I think that's why he gets rattled come playoff time when the stakes are higher.

This team also needs to start running the football more. Period. I know we ran a decent amount this year, but it needs to continue. The passing stuff is great, but we had two very capable backs this year and didn't use them as well as we should have.
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paul-mac


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think we should automatically defer every time we win the toss. This team has to learn how to put opening drive TDs even in the first half.
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Winder23


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Broncos need make a real commitment to running the football. Use real running formations instead these inside zone handoffs out of the shotgun. Maybe even use a fullback every once in awhile.

Jake Plummer likes this old football cliche. You pass to score and run to win. If the Broncos can run the ball and settle down the game last Sunday, they might actually get some first downs and develop some rhythm.

John Elway understands what wins championships. Granted he had arguably the best O-line ever and TD, but they have to show a real commitment to the running game or else they will face yet another disappointing loss.
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broncosfan07


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the biggest problems I've had with Manning is we hardly ever test the middle of the field, when a majority of the time it worked very well. Some of it has to do with him wanting quick releases consistently, and part of it is locking onto one guy when he knows the short route will be open.

This has less to do with Manning but him and Gase shoulder the blame, we need a true Fullback on this team, the 4 TE's is cute and all but what's the point of having 2 blocking TE's if you don't use either one? I would like to see us use the spot vacated by Tamme or Dressen and sign a true Fullback. This goes hand in hand with my other compliant of not going under Center enough. Broncos Dynasty and I have talked about this at length and we both think it "holds" back our offense per say.
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AKRNA


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty much on the same page as lomax and 67.

Our two playoff victories we dominated the LOS on both sides of the ball. Played a more controlled tempo, grind it out kind of game. That's not finesse, that's power.

We have the personnel to do that. Why we deviated from that style to revert to our "Madden" no huddle, 3 and out, 80% passing style against the Hawks I'll never know.
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Winder23


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AKRNA wrote:
I'm pretty much on the same page as lomax and 67.

Our two playoff victories we dominated the LOS on both sides of the ball. Played a more controlled tempo, grind it out kind of game. That's not finesse, that's power.

We have the personnel to do that. Why we deviated from that style to revert to our "Madden" no huddle, 3 and out, 80% passing style against the Hawks I'll never know.
Agreed. When the Broncos look in the collective mirror the coaching staff needs to look real hard at themselves. They need to be better too.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to continue with my previous point. John Fox never admits to anything. He isn't accountable to the fans or the media. It is almost condescending to the point I don't like him.

For example, he wouldn't admit to any mistakes with the snap count on that first snap. On the NFL films stuff, you can hear a conversation where Peyton says they should have gone silent to start the game. To me that is coaching. Also in that situation Manning needs to call a timeout.

Last year he wouldn't admit that kneeling with time and timeouts on the scoreborad was a mistake. Fox needs to be better or else I would advocate looking for someone else in 2015. The leader can't wilt under the spotlight.
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iLikeDefense


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

champ+jay+al=SB wrote:
....but they were built to hold...not built to win by forcing turnovers and pushing the other team back. .


I totally agree with this. We were built to shut down the run and pin our ears back when we had a lead except we had no pass rush and our DBs were super thin. Regardless, I don't care for that style, I wish our defense could be that game changing defense. I'm sure will everyone back it will surely help but we need more playmakers and depth for this to happen.
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