Manning not the only answer to Broncos’ prayers
In the immortal words of Dennis Green, “If you want to crown them, then crown their ass.”
And it appears that’s what many people are doing to the Denver Broncos after they made the largest splash in NFL free agency history, signing four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning on Monday.
Shortly after signing with the team, Denver’s odds to win next year’s Super Bowl jumped from 75-1 all the way to 12-1; good enough for fourth in the entire league.
Don’t get me wrong, Peyton Manning is one of the best we will ever see play the game.
He will be a great addition to this Broncos team. But as history has proven many times before, a championship team isn’t always built through free agency (Eagles, anybody?)
Granted, I was never aboard the Tim Tebow bandwagon. I thought it was shameful that one player was basically getting credited for other team’s mistakes.
It was the equivalent of saying Mookie Wilson had a truly brilliant play hitting the ball to Bill Buckner in the ‘86 World Series. That being said, the Broncos established an effective power running offence under Tebow.
Now with Manning at the helm, the offence could not be more different. Young receivers like Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas will have to learn to run specific routes with precise timing, instead of just trying to get open while Tebow scrambled around.
Not to mention Manning’s knack for changing the play call at the line. It will be a strain on these young receivers to adjust to playing with the future Hall of Famer.
I’m not saying it’s an impossible task, but I still don’t believe the Broncos should be the favourites in the AFC this season. In fact, winning the division will be no walk in the park.
With a healthy Chiefs squad, an improving Raiders team and an always competitive San Diego Chargers; the American Football Conference (AFC) West race should be just as tight as it was this season.
The best thing the Broncos could do now would be to bring in some veteran assistance. Ex-Colts centre Jeff Saturday and tight end Dallas Clark would do wonders in helping the team transition to Manning’s style of play.
The team will also look to find a good value deal when trading “the son of God.”
Denver will certainly be a more competitive team than the one that stumbled to an 8-8 division win last season. But team chemistry doesn’t just happen overnight.
With a tough schedule facing them next season, it will be a long journey for this team.
Don’t be shocked if this team is not playing in New Orleans (host of Super Bowl XLVII) in February. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and championships aren’t won in free agency.
I would also like to acknowledge the second-biggest signing in NFL free agency. Defensive end Mario Williams became the highest paid defensive player of all time, and the team signing his cheques is none other than the Buffalo Bills!
The Bills are a team that have always had notoriously tight purse strings, never making big offers to free agents but rather building their team through drafting and other grabbing teams’ cast offs.
The strategy has obviously not paid off in the last decade, and this enormous signing is a sign that Buffalo may finally be adapting its strategy.
Currently in possession of the longest playoff drought in the league, the Bills still have lots of work to do, but it is nice to see management acknowledging the fans’ frustrations, and providing the team with a much-needed pass rusher.