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Scouts Inc.: Manning's injury may affect stretch play

Posted by Scouts Inc.'s Ken Moll

QB Peyton Manning is coming off an injury and hasn't played one snap during the preseason. As a result, he will be less mobile, struggle to make all his throws and depend on his teammates more than usual.

Manning's bursa sac injury in his left leg is likely to affect his delivery and weight transfer on certain routes. The Colts' favorite play -- the stretch -- requires Manning to move quickly to his landmark and hand the ball off or set up quickly, transfer his weight to his front left leg and deliver the pass effectively. This process will be tough on Manning in the beginning.

The universal pattern, which Manning uses to pick apart defenses, attacks all three levels -- one receiver crosses over the middle shallow, one receiver runs an intermediate dig route and one receiver runs a deep post. This scheme is tough to defend, but is also tough to execute without full mobility. As a result, Manning may need to stay in the pocket and drop back or use the shotgun to complete passes that require less foot work and stress to transfer his weight -- like dump-offs, screens and seam routes.

In order to take pressure off Manning, the Colts will also likely pound the ball with their ground attack more and rely on their defense and special teams until Manning develops his timing and is fully healthy.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.