A new head coach for the Denver Broncos means a new offensive system that focuses more on running the ball, and makes it a very different experience for Peyton Manning than in the past.
Something did have to change for the Broncos and Manning, entering his 17th NFL season and turned 39 three months ago. He was clearly off his rhythm and seemed declined in the second half of last season, as the Broncos were knocked out by the Indianapolis Colts in the first game of the postseason, something that happened to them in 2012 as well despite home field advantage.
John Fox was fired (and hired by the Bears). From Manning doing a lot of no-huddle in the shotgun, it’s on to a variation of the West Coast offense and a lot of running the ball, something the Broncos did try to move towards last season through C.J. Anderson but it never quite worked. Maybe after an offseason of working at completing that change to take some pressure off the old body of Manning, it’s going to work out better.
I would be stupid not to have Peyton to do the things he has done better than anybody as one of the best ever. But it does make sense; having a better running game does a better job of protecting Peyton when the team does throw and forces defenses to commit more resources away from Manning.
For Manning, it’s a learning process, and maybe for the first time in a while it’s not just about learning the tendencies of each and every one of his intended receivers, but working through a certain plan from the head coach instead of being the first and last decision maker when it comes to his own offense most of the time. Despite the media attempting to bait him into making a controversial comment, Manning is sticking to the process and to the expected words of neutrality.
Look, we’re working right now. … To me, to say if I liked it or didn’t like it, it would I think opinion mattered, which I don’t. It doesn’t. It’s our job to execute the plays and make it work. I’m learning, I’m learning about the requirements of me. I’m learning how Owen Daniels runs his routes, running back C.J. Anderson obviously getting more repetitions with him. C.J. of course, if you talk to him you think he’s about a 12-year veteran starter and he’s only started six games. I’m getting a ton of reps with him, and the sky is the limit for him, I will say that … But overall, what we do scheme-wise is kind of between us.
Manning will begin his fourth season with the Broncos. He’s been a Pro Bowl selection in each of his three seasons previously, making the All-Pro first team twice since his comeback and winning the MVP once. After setting the record for most touchdown throws in a season (55), Manning became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns last season.