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Denver Broncos Had To Sign Peyton Manning, Ditch Tim Tebow

Will Robinson |
March 22, 2012 | 10:34 a.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

The Canton-bound Manning immediately fixes many of Denver's problems. (Wikimedia Commons)
The Canton-bound Manning immediately fixes many of Denver's problems. (Wikimedia Commons)
The biggest free agent in NFL history now has a home, as a giant week in the league began with Peyton Manning signing with the Denver Broncos.

John Elway acquired a very traditional passer in Manning, thus displacing the very unconventional Tim Tebow and somehow avoiding an all-out riot in Denver as Timmy was traded to the Jets. Well, actually it’s quite simple: Elway is the most popular Colorado athlete ever; Manning has a guaranteed spot in Canton; and Tebow still holds many question marks.

Though Tebow has a cult following in Denver and across the United States, even he gets it: he is no Peyton Manning. He may not ever come close to being Peyton Manning. Though Denver achieved its first playoff success since 2006 with Tebow at the helm, Manning immediately seals Denver’s role as AFC West favorite and possible contender for a first or second seed in the AFC.

This move had to be done by Denver, and fortunately, for the Broncos brass, the team did not fall on its face.

Beside the already drawn out talk about how Elway wanted a QB more of his own image -- that’s fair -- but from a straight football standpoint, which seems to get lost amidst Manning/Elway and Tebow talk, it was essential.

The offense was 1940s-esque in its production with very few throws and lots and lots and lots of running. Despite all of Tebow’s epic comebacks, the sheer inability to do anything in minutes zero through 55 of a game was killer. He was fortunate his horrific passing did not automatically disqualify the team from winning any games.

Despite Tebow's popularity, unloading him was the right choice. (Wikimedia Commons)
Despite Tebow's popularity, unloading him was the right choice. (Wikimedia Commons)
With Manning -- and this is under the assumption Manning will at least return to his 2010 self -- points will be scored often, and before the fourth quarter’s two-minute drill. It sounds sarcastic or biting of Tebow, but it’s true. Manning’s air attack will put up seven points more frequently than Tebow’s “two runs and a long third down pass” game that was dialed up for him.

Wideout Demaryius Thomas was “unleashed” with Tebow, but can you imagine Thomas having a chance to catch all the balls Tebow either under- or overthrew? Manning himself even said he has never played with a receiver as big as Thomas. He sounded legitimately excited, just as a school kid ready to play pitch-and-catch with a friend at recess.

Having Manning around will also be a major help to the defensive side.

Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil form a terrorizing pass-rushing tandem, akin to Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis in Indianapolis. The defense was much improved under now-departed defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, with significantly more sacks and fewer points allowed than 2010. The defense worked wonders keeping Tebow in games, an offense that only scored an average of 18 points per game in all his 2011 starts -- a full four points below the 16th- and 17th- ranked scoring offenses.

The biggest impact will be that defense can no longer stick eight or nine guys in the box, daring the quarterback to throw. Manning would carve up secondaries if they decided to… which probably wouldn’t happen regularly, barring a for-sure running situation… and with Manning that is never a certainty (look how many times he passed it in 2010. He had no running game).

Elway helped solidify his reputation as a good personnel man. (Wikimedia Commons)
Elway helped solidify his reputation as a good personnel man. (Wikimedia Commons)

Opposing defenses will be on their toes, needing to stop Manningtime throughout 60 minutes instead of Tebowtime for the last five.

Yes, of course, Elway replaced the media circus of the unsubstantiated Tebow with the one that followed the entrenched Manning.

He turned an unproven quarterback and a seventh-roundselection into Manning, a fourth-round pick, a sixth-round pick and about $2.5 mil to cover Tebow’s contract.

Kicking off his second year as an executive, Elway seems to have the job down pat.

Going into his third year, it remains to be seen if Tebow will ever have his job figured out.

Fourteen years later, Manning has internalized the nuances of the quarterback position and wants to keep doing his job.


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