You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone but Broncos’ fans, blinded by childlike enthusiasm for their team, who doesn’t believe that to be true.
But if you strip away the fact that this team is still winning games — I think most smart football fans long ago figured out that quarterback wins/losses is an absurd stat — and the fact that it says Manning on the back of his jersey and simply assess the body of work for a highly paid franchise quarterback on a team in Super Bowl-or-bust mode, the only conclusion would be this: The Broncos have a big quarterback problem.
There is no easy fix here. The idea that the shotgun would save Manning has been debunked. He’s one of the worst shotgun passers in the league. Even screen passes have the potential for great misadventure for Manning at this stage, and even with a plethora of gifted weapons he can rarely deliver the ball in a position to tap into much of what they can do.
He cannot make things happen on balls that travel more than 20 yards downfield. He leads the NFL with 10 interceptions and has become one of the more likely pick-six candidates from week to week, especially on anything thrown to the sideline. He’s looked every bit as bad as his quarterback rating of 72.5 would suggest.
Listen, the idea that viewing our favorite team objectively makes us lesser fans is silly. I want the Broncos to continue to win consistently, but I know that won’t be the case if Manning continues to play. It’s okay to identify areas where the team can improve, and to identify players who aren’t getting their respective jobs done. Manning is one of those players.
It’s a hard thing to do as a fan, separating heart from brain. But those who are able to do it aren’t “fake fans,” Ronnie Hillman. They’re intelligent fans. Nobody is cheering for the Broncos to lose. Some of us are just saying that we’re afraid they will if they don’t address their single biggest flaw, which is bad QB play.
I’ll leave you with more numbers to chew on, and then I’ll come back later and count how many commenters call me an idiot for pointing out something that really is terribly obvious, and obviously terrible.
Attempts: 237 (T-4th)
Completion %: 61.6 (26th)
Yards Per Attempt: 6.43 (31st)
TDs: 7 (T-21st)
INTs: 10 (1st)
Passer Rating: 72.5 (33rd)
TD%: 3.0 (28th)
INT%: 4.2 (32nd)
QBR: 46.36 (25th)
Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt: 4.56 (32nd)
The answer to these problems isn’t tinkering with the offensive line, or using different formations, or calling different plays. It is simply time to put the old dog down. If the Broncos are serious about winning more than just the AFC West this year, they’ll need to be honest with themselves and address the real problem.