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RealSport Roundtable: Manning starts – Asset or Liability?

The Denver Broncos announced that Peyton Manning will resume starting duties for the duration of the team's playoff run. But is this the rig


The Denver Broncos announced that Peyton Manning will resume starting duties for the duration of the team’s playoff run. But is this the right call? Our writers put the case for and against Manning as the starter.

Peyton Manning is here to finish the Broncos Season.

says Nathan Hards

There is a reason that I picked that opening line. It’s an intentional double entendre that completely sums up this decision. Let’s get the inevitable arguments out of the way. But it’s Peyton Manning! This could be his last season, he needs to go out with a bang! Manning has been a shadow of his former self, and with the HGH accusations flying around, this season should have buried him. He limped off with a foot injury, and should have been put out to pasture there and then. Thanks Peyton, you’ve been great, but we want to win convincingly this season, so we’re going in another direction. Just because he has legacy, doesn’t mean the team should put him in at the most crucial stage in the competition, when they have a player that has consistently proved his capabilities on the field all season. There is a chance they could win with Manning – based on the defence keeping the scoreline low all season – and enabling the team to limp up the field on noodle throws and runs, or they could go with Brock, and choose the better performer. If the coaches didn’t believe in him, they wouldn’t put him out there. The same coaches that put him out there week on week, regardless of performance, until he essentially retired himself. They play him because they paid for him, and he inspires the team, but Brock has shown himself to be more capable in every game. The Coaches are playing him because they feel they have to, when at this stage, they should be making smart moves. Those are the only arguments you’ll hear for playing Manning in the playoffs this season. They’re weak and sentimental, and they won’t last when they get trashed by teams that are going to take advantage of that. Brock is the smart move. Don’t play with your heart, play with your head.

Manning gives the Broncos the best chance to win

says David Pruett

Firstly – he’s Peyton Freaking Manning! You know, the guy who has thrown for more yards and more touchdowns than anyone else in the entire history of the NFL. Now that he is injury free, he should be the unquestioned starter in Denver. While Brock Osweiler has not been a disaster, he hasn’t been the second coming of Tom Brady either in with the offense struggling to find the end-zone, particularly in the second halves of games. Anyone watching the Denver vs San Diego game last week could see the difference in the Bronco offense once Manning came back in. Everyone on that side of the ball raised their level having gained an injection of confidence seeing #18 leading the huddle again. I know critics will point to Manning’s awful stats this season – leading the league in Int’s despite only playing 9 games, but there are mitigating factors to this. Anyone thrown into a new offense having basically run the same one for over 15 years is going to have a ‘breaking in’ period. What was also clear in the early part of the season was that Manning and Coach Gary Kubiak were not remotely on the same page which isn’t going to lead to high levels of production. Given what we know of Peyton, you can be sure that the time he spent on the side-lines rehabbing his foot will have been spent immersed in the nuances of the Kubiak offense and the player that emerges next week will be different to the player last seen starting in week 10. Manning is now largely aware of his limitations as a passer and will surely have developed some hubris having watched from the sidelines. He was, however, never a player that beat you with his arm, but with his mind, and this mental capacity which will serve the Broncos well in the playoffs. Although the Broncos will be slightly weaker through the air starting Manning over Osweiler they will be stronger, in the run game, and overall, due to Manning’s ability to get the team into the ‘right’ play based on what he sees at the line of scrimmage.  

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RealSport Roundtable: Manning starts – Asset or Liability?

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