Wednesday, September 11, 2013
QB Watch: Broncos' Peyton Manning
By Jeff Legwold
A weekly analysis of the Denver Broncos' quarterback play.
Rewind: After an offseason’s worth of questions about the relative strength of his right arm, Peyton Manning opened the regular season by adding another rather significant bullet point to his already Hall of Fame-worthy résumé. Manning finished with 462 yards passing against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens -- with seven touchdown passes, which tied an NFL single-game record.
Fast-forward: Manning will have to work his way past the obvious storyline Sunday when he faces younger brother and New York Giants counterpart Eli. The Giants didn’t surrender any pass plays longer than 23 yards in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, but they didn’t consistently pressure Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, either, letting Romo pick away with the short and intermediate stuff. That’s a bad recipe against Peyton Manning, who absolutely owned the intermediate routes against the Ravens: Four of his six completions of between 21 and 30 yards went for touchdowns.
Serve and protect: The Giants certainly hope defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul -- who looked somewhat rusty in 50 snaps against Dallas after being limited throughout the offseason and training camp following June 4 back surgery -- is ready for a little more impact against the Broncos. Left tackle Ryan Clady has to handle Pierre-Paul, the Giants' most threatening defensive playmaker, for Denver's offense to move the ball.
Prediction: The Giants configured coverages in their 4-3 look to keep the Cowboys from going downfield, and should be expected to do the same against the Broncos. Romo had 36 completions for 263 yards, just 7.3 yards per completion and 5.4 per attempt -- not the numbers of a dynamic passing attack. But the Broncos have more athleticism in the slot with Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas -- they sometimes even line Demaryius Thomas up there -- and Manning has a quicker release, so the catch-and-run opportunities will be there if Manning makes the right reads.