Peyton Manning: Days Numbered with Denver Broncos?


With Peyton Manning‘s injury and inconsistencies this season, should the Denver Broncos move on from him after the 2015 season?

Denver Broncos fans clamored at the idea of getting future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning just a few seasons ago; however, Peyton Manning’s time in the Mile High City looks to be coming to a close after a disappointing 2015 season. Peyton Manning brought the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl in the 2013-2014 season, but the Seahawks destroyed the Broncos by a score of 43-8, the largest margin of victory by an underdog in Super Bowl history. In Peyton Manning’s first three seasons with the Denver Broncos, he registered a 38-10 record, while earning three Pro Bowl and two All-Pro First-Team selections in the process.

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Despite all of Peyton Manning’s accolades in the past, he looks like a shadow of his former self, failing to stay healthy and maintain a high-profile offensive attack. This season, before Peyton Manning’s foot injury, he led the NFL in interceptions, and for the first time in his career, he leaned on the defense to carry the load. Moreover, Peyton Manning averaged just one touchdown per contest this season against nearly two interceptions per game. Many people wanted to blame Gary Kubiak‘s system for why Peyton Manning struggled on the field this season; however, he looked overmatched during the first half of the season. 

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On numerous occasions, opposing defenses cheated up on Peyton Manning, shutting down the rushing attack and short passes, because they did not fear Manning beating them deep. Peyton Manning struggled to throw the ball downfield, causing Demaryius Thomas to post just one touchdown in the first nine weeks of the season. It is easy to tell Manning is in the twilight of his career, registering career-worsts in touchdown percentage (2.8) and interception percentage (5.3). Also, through the first nine games this season, Peyton Manning posted his second-worst completion percentage of his career, sitting at just under 60 percent.

Peyton Manning is one season removed from a Pro Bowl selection; however, his age seems to have caught up to him. From 2013 to 2014, Manning digressed in nearly every offensive category across the board; however, he put up otherworldly numbers in 2013. Thus, there was no need to panic in 2014, mainly because Peyton Manning continued to put solid numbers. However, Manning took a big step backward this season (regressing further), and he faces seeing the bench for the remainder of the season. If Brock Osweiler shows promise in his trial-run as starting quarterback, the Denver Broncos might see Peyton Manning as an expendable piece on the team. 

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  • Peyton Manning stated that he wanted to play next season (2016-2017), and it did not matter what team he played for, hinting at the possibility the Denver Broncos let him go. After the 2015-2016 season, the Denver Broncos have Peyton Manning under contract for one more season, so they could look to trade him in the offseason if Gary Kubiak and John Elway believe they can compete with Osweiler under center. In addition to Peyton Manning’s woes this season, he played the worst game of his career against the Kansas City Chiefs, completing just five passes for 35 yards. Moreover, he threw four interceptions and looked outmatched in the contest.

    While Kubiak has not committed to Osweiler being the starter for the remainder of the season, Peyton Manning remains sidelined for, at least, two more weeks while he recovers from his foot injury. The earliest the Denver Broncos expect Peyton Manning back by is week 14’s matchup against the Oakland Raiders, but it is easy for plantar fascia injuries to linger and, with Manning’s age, take longer than expected. Brock Osweiler looked effective in his first start of the season, throwing for 250 yards and two touchdowns. However, the more important stat is that he did not commit a turnover.

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    With the Denver Broncos possessing one of the best defenses in the NFL, they need their offense to step up to make a deep playoff run. Peyton Manning does not look capable to march the ball down the field anymore, and defenses do not fear the aging quarterback as much as before. With Peyton Manning’s arm strength and mobility evaporating by the second, the Denver Broncos might find more success by rolling out Osweiler on a weekly basis. The Denver Broncos’ window of opportunity to win a Super Bowl is shrinking quickly, so they must make decisions to put them in a better situation, now.

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    While the Denver Broncos do not want the Peyton Manning era in the Mile High City to end like this, it very well might have to end abruptly. The Denver Broncos are in a situation where they cannot afford for their offense to continue to sputter under Peyton Manning’s command; thus, they need to fully commit to Osweiler, seeing he is their quarterback of the future. Perhaps, this offseason, the Denver Broncos look to trade Peyton Manning to a team looking to contend, so Manning can end his Hall of Fame career with his head held high (and not on the bench). The Denver Broncos, surely, will not have Manning start next season, so it looks like Manning’s days with the Broncos are numbered.