With a 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, Peyton Manning’s seventeenth season as a professional football player came to an end. The best quarterback in NFL history turns 39With a 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, Peyton Manning’s seventeenth season as a professional football player came to an end. The best quarterback in NFL history turns 39 on March 24, 2015; so obviously the big question on everyone’s mind was whether or not he would return for more this year. No one thought Manning had any intention of retiring at the end of this season, but then it was revealed that he had been playing on a torn right quad for the last month or more of the season.
Peyton said that his decision would be based mainly on coaching and personnel changes within the Denver Broncos franchise. Well, the team’s three major coaches are jumping ship: defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will be the Oakland Raiders newest head coach, offensive coordinator
Adam Gase accepted the San Francisco 49ers heading coaching position, and even head coach John Fox is leaving to start over as the head coach of the Chicago Bears.
Correction: Gase is the Offensive Coordinator in Chicago now, not head coach in San Fran.
The Broncos did not waste anytime searching out the best available coaches. After all, if they want their best player and quarterback to return, they will need a coaching staff that he is confident will be able to help him win a Super Bowl in his final season. The Broncos hired two great coaches and former Houston Texans coaching standouts: head coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Great coaches, great hires.
The hiring of Kubiak was questioned at first however, because he is well known for running a roll-out mobile quarterback style of offense. Peyton Manning is not a mobile quarterback. Well, Kubiak was quick to ease the minds of the Broncos faithful: at the announcement of his hiring, Kubiak assured fans that he would be running Peyton’s offense, not Kubiak’s offense.
So Peyton is coming back then, right? As of now, that’s how it looks. Kubiak has made it his personal mission to assure Peyton that coming back for one final season with the Broncos would be a smart move. Obviously Kubiak would love a chance to coach the greatest player in NFL history, but more importantly the Broncos have no real back up plan.
Broncos General Manager John Elway has done a great job bring big name free agents to Denver; however, he seems to have forgotten about one thing—planning for the future. Elway really does not have a backup plan for 2016 after Peyton has retired. The Broncos current backup quarterback is Brock Osweiler, a 2nd round 2012 Draft selection out of Arizona State University. Maybe it isn’t fair to compare a young quarterback like Osweiler to the best of all time, but he has shown no potential as far as leading the Broncos goes.
Manning misses very little game time, but the time that Osweiler has had in game has not been pretty. The only playing time that Osweiler got which was not at the very end of the game in a blowout came on December 14th against the San Diego Chargers. Manning, who had been fighting the flu all day, led the team down the field for a touchdown right before halftime; and he left the field earlier to get fluids. The Chargers went three and out, so Osweiler had a chance to show the world his stuff. To make a long story short, the Broncos went three-and-out, leaving so much time on the clock that the Chargers were actually able to score. One first down would have ended the half, but Osweiler was unable to complete a single pass.
The bottom line is Osweiler is not ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Sure, the team will say he’s ready, and they’ll have his back when he is the starter in Denver; but if the Broncos want any chance at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl 50 they will need Peyton Manning under center come August.