Tuesday, October 9, 2012

0 Manning chose wisely...enough

--> By Jason McDonald

Peyton Manning’s has been known for good decision making, and choosing to be a Bronco is right up there with one of his better football decisions. 

They aren’t blowing anyone out of the water and sit a game behind the Chargers, but they’re in the mix. The original teams that were courting Manning were the Broncos, Titans, 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins, and the Chiefs. There were probably more teams chasing the Manning dream, but this what we are working with. It could be easily argued that the 49ers would have been a better move because they’re the brute squad. They’re beating the crap out of teams (except of Minnesota) and are going to be in the mix till the end. But when I see the 49ers play I can’t envision that team led by Peyton Manning. Sometimes style matters. But seeing the way Alex Smith has been playing, they’re obviously the team doing just fine without Manning.

Manning needed to go to a team with a bit of talent but in need of an identity. That could describe every other team in the mix but some teams were a little more desperate than others. Before the season not many people could pinpoint what kind of team they thought the Seahawks were going to be. They have Marshawn Lynch and a group of suspect wide receivers. Their defense has turned out better than expected, but Russell Wilson has brought them the identity and spark they need. Wilson has more interceptions that TDs, but they need a quarterback who isn’t afraid to throw caution to the wind and occasionally toss up a pop fly. That isn’t Manning. 

The Dolphins got rid of their biggest wide receiver threat in Brandon Marshall, but possibly discovered a new one in Brian Hartline. Reggie Bush is having a good season too. Miami has given up the same amount of sacks as the Broncos, so it appears that going with the Dolphins would have been at least as good of an idea. However the Dolphins face Tom Brady twice and the Pats are still kings of the division. Brady shot down the Broncos last week and once should be good enough for any team.

The Chiefs were probably less in the mix than any other team as they were never seriously considered. They were a terrible team last year and maybe even worse team this year. The run game is back on track, but that’s about the extent of positives. Matt Cassel’s been sacked 13 times and it might be a good place to go if Manning were looking for a miserable place end to his career.

But where Manning really dodged the bullet was with the Titans. His decision came down to the Titans and Broncos, and on paper the Titans probably should have had the edge. The run game was terrible in 2011, but Hasselbeck had all the time in the world to sit in the pocket. With another year to work on the run game, surely they’d get back on track. I am not the first to point this out, but it seems apparent that the Titans benefited from the lack of an offseason in 2011. The playing field was evened out a bit by the fact that there was little time to prepare. Now that they’ve had all the time in the world to prepare, we see that Munchak has basically built a house of cards. There are a few aces in the deck but little else to hold it together. The offensive line is waning and as the season unfolds, and it’s hard to imagine even the magical Manning and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men putting that rotten egg back together. While the Broncos are probably not Super Bowl contenders, they’re hardly contenders for the number one draft pick either. They also look like a Peyton Manning run team in no time at all, which is likely what he was shooting for.  

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