Peyton Manning Showing Diminished Arm Strength

6/13/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

June 12, 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) during Minicamp at the Denver Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRENate Davis of USA Today reported that Denver Broncos' offseason prize Peyton Manning, who has undergone multiple neck surgeries over the past year or so, wasn't as sharp on his deep throws and showed diminished velocity at Broncos' minicamp yesterday. Davis doesn't specify exactly how much worse Manning's velocity is, but he did mention that he doesn't have the liveliest arm on the team, and the Broncos certainly do not boast any impressive backup quarterbacks.

Come regular season, this issue could completely go away. Manning admits that he is still in the rehab process and continues to work hard in an effort to get back to peak physical condition. The triceps in his throwing arm is his current main area of focus.

If the problem remains, however, it will be interesting to see how Manning responds. The Hall of Fame success that Manning has had since being the first overall pick by the Colts in the 1998 draft has been in large part due to his exceptional knowledge of the playbook, accuracy, and ability to manipulate defenses. With less velocity, Manning will still be able to do those things incredibly well.

Less velocity, however, won't be harmless to Manning's game. If he can't get the ball as deep, that's less field that opposing coverages have to cover, allowing them to crowd the intermediate and short distances, giving the Broncos' weak receiving core less room to get open and less room to run after the catch. It also allows safeties to play up closer to the line of scrimmage in the run game. It reminds me of what happened to the Jets when they lost Braylon Edwards. Without a true deep threat, you could compare the Jets pre- and post-Edwards and see how differently opposing defenses played them.

Also, with the increasing speed of defenses in the NFL, it is becoming more and more important to be able to zip passes quickly to receivers, especially on throws to the sidelines. Weak velocity makes those short and intermediate throws much tougher to squeeze into coverage, and a weak throw to the sideline is the most commonly pick-sixed ball in the game.

Obviously, arm strength isn't everything (see: JaMarcus Russell) and Peyton Manning has plenty of other attributes that have contributed to his successful career. This diminished velocity may go away, but if it doesn't, Manning may be forced to play a different style of quarterback, relying less on zipping passes into tight coverage and airing it out, and relying more on manipulating defenses, which he is great at.

As a Raiders fan, I'm fine with that arm staying just the way it is; but as NFL fans, we should all be rooting for Peyton to get back to full strength. That arm used to be one of the best we've ever seen.
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6/19/12   |   King_Cardinal   |   2663 respect

It's tragic as a Colts fan to see Peyton go away, but we got Luck and free cap space to spend this offseason to improve our team.