One of my favorite Broncos beat writers is Cecil Lammey. When it comes to football knowledge, you won’t find a beat writer with more than Lammey. He has a scout’s football acumen and it makes for enlightening and in depth reading.
With 2014 being Manning’s 3rd with the Broncos, his arm strength has been steadily improving. This time last year, guys like Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker were praising the Sheriff’s arm and opining that they felt like the balls were coming in with a speedier velocity.
This year’s version of Manning has been no exception. Lammey reports that Demaryius Thomas dropped a Manning pass recently, because he didn’t expect the ball to get there so quickly.
As Manning’s arm strength relates to the deep ball, Lammey said this:
"“In order to beat tough, physical defenses like those in Seattle or San Francisco the Broncos must do two things.First, they must run the ball more effectively. When a defense is stacking the line of scrimmage to jam receivers in a spread set, an offense must be able to soften up an opponent up the gut.Second, the Broncos must go vertical. Press-man or press-bail coverage near the line of scrimmage means a lot of one-on-one situations deep. Manning needs to take advantage of this look with vertical routes on both sides.”"
I couldn’t agree more. And with the NFC West on the docket this year, Lammey’s philosophy takes on even more importance. The Broncos certainly had this same thought in mind when they went out and swept the rug out from under the Kansas City Chiefs and signed Emmanuel Sanders.
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Sanders’ vertical speed and short area burst will certainly wreak havoc on opposing defenses in 2014. It was an element the Broncos’ offense lacked in 2013.
In the Super Bowl, it was very frustrating, watching Manning dink and dunk, whilst the Seahawk defense swarmed and wouldn’t give up those short throwing lanes.
With the speed of the Broncos’ current crop of receivers, Manning will have many opportunities to gouge defenses with the deep ball. And having increased arm strength is a requisite component in executing it.
Do you still think PFM is going to retire after this year? Me neither.