The Concerns about Peyton Manning in a Gary Kubiak Offense are Misguided


Dec 7, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak (left) talks with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (right) during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Ravens won 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be a lot of angst among the media and some Denver Broncos’ fans about how Peyton Manning would fit into a Gary Kubiak offense. For those of you who haven’t heard, Kubiak is a heavy favorite to be named the Broncos next head coach following his interview which will take place on Sunday.

Kubiak’s offense features a lot of roll outs and bootlegs off of play action, and the concern is that Manning would not be able to do those things. I’m not going to dispute that the offense would have to change some but these are two smart football people who will work together and adjust.

It’s true that Manning is not going to fake a handoff and then sprint to the outside to make a throw, but he can still run parts of that type of offense. There are such things as half rolls where the quarterback is only required to roll out a few steps, and Manning has already been doing that in Denver. On the goal line, the Broncos used a lot of sprint outs with Manning and they often resulted in touchdowns.

The part of Kubiak’s offense that is really going to help Manning is the return of the zone blocking scheme to the Broncos. Unlike last season where the Broncos seem to be running the ball because they felt like they had to, Kubiak designs his running game to set everything else up.

If you watched the Baltimore Ravens last weekend versus the New England Patriots, you probably noticed that their receivers were often wide open. Why is that?

It’s because the Ravens were running the ball so well that the Patriots had to commit one more defender to the running game. When they did that, the play action game opens up and results in open receivers in the middle of the field and tight-ends open in the flat.

CJ Anderson who was terrific in the second half of the season and in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts has to be licking his chops. The zone blocking system was made for a running back like Anderson. The system is simple; if a running play is designed to go to the right for example, the running back flows that way with his offensive line and waits for the cut back lane. Once he sees it, he puts one foot in the ground and hits the hole. That style of running fits Anderson like a glove but how does that help Manning?

It’s not complicated, if the Broncos are running the ball well and defenses are chasing Anderson then the play action is wide open. Maybe Manning can’t sprint all the way to the right like a Jake Plummer or Joe Flacco but he can do a short roll, and find Virgil Green wide open in the flat.

The bottom line is this, both Kubiak and Manning have great offensive minds and the two of them will sit down and come up with a system that works. It may even reenergize Manning who might actually enjoy doing some different things on offense.

The bigger adjustment might be the idea that Manning is going to have to take a lot more snaps from under center. The zone blocking system and the offense that goes with it is only going to work if the quarterback spends a majority of his time under center. Manning can certainly do it, but it will be an adjustment.

Of course all of this is a moot point if Kubiak does not get the job, Manning decides to retire or both. However Kubiak is a near lock to be the next Broncos head coach and I firmly believe Manning will return.

Kubiak and Manning both love offensive football and they would love working together and for Broncos’ fans, that should be an exciting prospect.