For Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos It All Comes Down to Timing
But then as the season got going somehow he still kept hitting his receivers in stride, at exactly the right moment. There was no doubt that his throws didn’t have the same type of velocity that they did in his heyday with the Colts, but it didn’t seem to matter.
Then it hit me, it was all about timing.
Manning understood the game at such a high level; he could see where the open receiver was going to be quicker than anyone in recent memory. And to make it even more impressive, he was clearly releasing the ball earlier than he would have just a few years ago, compensating for his lack of ball speed.
This was savvy on a whole new level. Not only was he consistently getting his team in the best formation and play before the snap and manipulating the defense after it, but he was actively adjusting for his declining skills.
And the scary thing for the rest of the NFL is that he’s getting better as the year goes on. He’s getting better chemistry with his receivers and a better understanding of what defenses are doing to stop the Broncos attack.
He’s well on his way to proving that you’d rather have a quarterback with a coach’s understanding of the game, and in the end that might be the way the league has been heading for a while now.
Football is constantly getting more and more complex. Coaches have spent decades coming up with better and more effective ways to score points and stop the other team from scoring points. Offensive masterminds like Bill Walsh come up with revolutionary scoring machines, and defensive gurus like Dick LeBeau come up with ways to stop them.
It may very well have been that not so long ago the scales were tipped in the favor of the lively arm and quick legs, but now defenses are becoming so complex that reading them is more important than out throwing them.
If Peyton Manning continues his 2012 success into 2013, taking his new team deep in the playoffs and even maybe all the way to the Super Bowl, he’ll settle the debate, at least for now.