Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. His understanding of offenses is legendary and his precision has been admired by many quarterbacks. Each year he has been dominant to a point. That point he has struggled at is the playoffs. Since he has been in Denver, it seems the last game of the season always ends up in Peyton Manning looking extra ordinary. And as a result, many have had their thoughts about him and what he can and cannot do anymore. The talk of him retiring got even louder last season as the future Hall of Famer looked really bad towards the end of the season and into the playoffs. Although it was said that he had an injury he was playing through, some had to believe that it was finally happening. Peyton Manning was finally starting to lose some of the skills that he had. It eventually happens to all players in the NFL and Father Time will always win this battle. But could it be that he has started to lose it? Many may not want to believe it, but even though the Broncos are 2-0 after their 31-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Peyton is definitely losing his magic.
Peyton’s first exclusive action of the season came against the Baltimore Ravens at home. And from the start, the Ravens were after Peyton. The pressure that he was under was something he had not seen in a while. His offensive line, which is always solid, was in shambles. The fact is they have not been so good so far up front and that is getting the franchise quarterback hurt. The thought of Peyton getting hit makes some Denver fans nervous. So imagine what being behind this offensive line does for Peyton. But even with the hits he is going to stand in and take at the position, Manning has to overcome those hits. He has to stand in there and deliver. Gone are the days where he probably had the arm strength to fade away and make the throw. These days, Peyton can use all the arm strength he can get. He can be noticed at times skipping throws that should be completed. Manning also can be seen throwing eratically. Peyton mentioned a reason why this is happening to him and this is one that many need to pay attention to. Manning stated that he cannot feel his fingertips in regards to the multiple neck surgeries he has had. When you are not able to feel your fingertips when you are throwing, that can affect the touch you have on the football. Notice that Peyton was missing some shorter and longer throws with no consistency how he was missing them. That leads you to believe that the feel isn’t quite there like it once was.
But along with the touch issues, it seems as if the arm strength has continued to disappear. It seems like when he throws the football now, it takes a lot of energy out of him. And as time has gone by, teams have started to try and test him by many him throw deep to beat them. In the past, you would never allow Peyton that type of advantage. But in his current state, that would be the best option. Teams all know that Peyton cannot throw it as far as he used to. And as a result, Peyton rarely completes passes over the intermediate 10-15 yard range. And even when he completes the short routes, it still looks like he is straining to do so. That is the sign that his arm strength has rapidly gone away. And aside from his arm and his touch, Peyton now has to beat more teams with his mind. Combine his struggles with a new offensive system he has to learn under Gary Kubiak, and he may not ever be the same guy he once was. These things have to be weighing on his mind while he continues to play his last remaining years out on the field. In the past, you could never say that Peyton had to take a backseat to anyone. But with the defense they have this year, he is going to be tipping his cap to that Denver defense all year long. Peyton Manning struggled in the first game and found his rhythm in the second game versus the Chiefs.
Manning has been a great quarterback to watch in my generation. And he will continue to be a guy many look to as one of the living legends in the NFL. But with everyone, the clock will strike twelve. And the reality is that this Peyton Manning is not the same Peyton we are use to seeing over the years. Eventually Father Time catches up and in this instance and Manning is no exception to this one. And quite frankly, it hurts to see him looking the way he does right now. An all-time great is supposed to go out on top, not like this. But either way, Manning is not the same Manning we all grew up watching no matter how much the Broncos have won.