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Published on 03/16/2012 at Fri Mar 16 16:37.
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Peyton Manning, John Elway

NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, second from right at rear, walks across a football practice field with Denver Broncos executive John Elway, fourth from left, near Wallace Wade Stadium, Friday, March 16, 2012, at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Elway and coach John Fox watched the star quarterback throw at Duke's athletic fields. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Travis Long)

News broke from Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN this morning that a sleeper candidate has been in play for Peyton Manning all along. In our opinion, from a strictly football perspective, this new team puts the biggest threat on the Denver Broncos‘ bid for Manning to date.

The San Francisco 49ers — those same 49ers who were one botched punt return away from ousting the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the NFC Championship game — have already worked out Peyton Manning and are in serious play to acquire his services, according to the report.

This leaves the Manning finalists that we know of as the following:

  1. Denver Broncos — Visited with Manning last week and worked him out Friday. John Elway and company may have offered him a contract, but they left without signing the quarterback.
  2. San Francisco 49ers — There have been no reports that Manning has visited San Francisco’s facilities, but coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman witnessed a “very impressive” workout with Manning in North Carolina, and team doctors performed a physical exam there the next day.
  3. Tennessee Titans — Have offered Manning a “contract for life.” Visited with him in Tennessee for eight hours Wednesday.

Teams eliminated from the Manning sweepstakes:

  1. Arizona CardinalsKevin Kolb‘s contract deadline passed this afternoon, so they will no longer be pursuing Manning.
  2. Miami Dolphins — According to reports, the Dolphins have been informed they are not a finalist to acquire Peyton Manning.

In my mind, it’s between Denver and San Francisco. The Titans do seem to be putting the sweetest financial package together for Manning, but my gut feeling is that that interests him less than Super Bowl rings. And let’s be frank, the 49ers are the closest of the bunch. With Manning in the fold, they’d be automatic NFL favorites to win it all.

If Manning visits the 49ers facilities I see at as a serious elevation of his interest and, personally, the largest detractor in my confidence he signs with Denver.

  • Guest

    I see what you’re saying, but the 49ers were said to have met with Manning 4 days ago. If it was such a no-brainer, he would have already signed with them, much less visit Tennessee and meet the Broncos for the 2nd time. 

  • Tom9798

    So I decided to give some observations . . .
     
    I log on with this dicks-us thing . . . what crap . . . probably cost us half our blog-posters and has the slowest server . . . except the Wendy’s on Bijou at three in the morning when you are h . . . hungry.
     
    Regardless of what happens, this has been a wild week.
     
    People keep trashing the AFC West because the winner always ends up 8-8 or 9-7.
     
    Possibly it is the toughest division in football because each of the four teams beats the living sh – snot out of each other every time they meet; and they don’t care where.
     
    Point being, one needs to get home field advantage.  This is crucial.
     
    If Manning is with the Broncos or the Titans, can this goal be achieved?  Possibly, but the schedule is daunting.  No less for the 49’ers.
     
    Who are the teams to beat?  We already know; they are the same as last year.
     
    So we sit here and blog about getting Manning and winning 2-3 Super bowls.
     
    Geeesh . . . just that easy, eh?
     
    Yeah, it is.  We get Manning, improve the defense, like we’ve begun, and we will do exactly that.  Whether or not we win  . . .  who knows?
     
    So it’s us and the 49’ers? . . . . talk about being cool . . . haven’t heard about the 49’ers until this afternoon. 
     
    Still, there in the NFC.  Hopefully, Mr. Manning will keep his AFC roots.

  • Anonymous

    Titans have a better defense than the Broncos in place. They have a better o-line and a potential top 5 RB, WR and TE. I just don’t see how the Broncos are a better team than the Titans with what is currently in place. 

    We have a shotty o-line. A bad secondary. No defensive line at all at the moment. Our RB is over 30 and our 2 top WR’s averaged about a 30% drop percentage last year.

    I mean I love my Broncos but let’s be a little more realistic about where we are at in the rebuilding process. There is still A LONG way to go here.

  • Matt Streeter

    Have to disagree with you on a few things…the forty niners receivers are not very good…and even if somehow Randy Moss has sipped from the fountain of youth, he’ll fold when things go badly.  We’re annointing them the favorites, but they still have to get by Green Bay, the defending champion giants, and a myriad of other strong teams.  Their record last year was partly due to Harbaugh’s presence, but also due to a week division and soft schedule overall.  What quality wins did they have last year?  Detroit imploded at the end of their game and they caught the Giants while they were in a funk.  We’ll see what they can do with a division winning schedule.  Just as I believe San Fran is overhyped, I think you’re being a little rough on the Broncos.  The O line did help generate the top rushing offense in the league and many of the sacks they gave up were because Tebow held the ball too long and/or broke the pocket too early.  McGahee is over 30 but relatively low mileage due to missed time from injuries and riding the pine behind Ray Rice.  Our D line was mediocre at best but remember, Ty Warren was out before playing a snap, Vickerson missed a substantial portion of the season, and Doom was coming back from injury.  Our cornerback play was actually pretty good overall..Champ doing his usual solid job, Goodman looked better and Chris Harris looks to be a regular corner in the future.  The safeties were unquestionably bad, but we were running 2nd/3rd stringers half of the year due to injury.  Quinton Carter looks to be a solid player and our signee from the Browns is certainly an upgrade.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of holes to fill but I don’t think we’re that far off from the Niners.  Let the guessing games begin. 

  • broncfan

    Why would FEX get HOF Manning who only has 2-3 years left if our ’O’ & ‘D’ were that bad?  They wouldn’t.
    Our ‘O’ was fantastic last year, #1 in rush and with Pey it’ll be top 5 in passing.
    Our ‘D’ was fearsome at times and will be even more so this year was Fox & Rio at the helm.
    Special teams is top of the heap.

    With a couple of more pickups, it’s quite feasible to win the next 2-3 superbowls.
    If not, why bother getting Pey?

     

  • Tom9798

    Trog . . . good points . . . but breathe deeply . . . it’s not that bad.
     
    We had one of the best rushing offenses . . . so don’t slight the O-line . . .
     
    The 167 yds. Rushing against the Patriots in the 1st quarter will always be the look I want to see on Bill Belichick’s face.
     
    The four games we lost by seven points are what the concern is.  The 7-3 loss to K.C. makes my eye twitch.
     
    The alternative mindset being . . . outscore them! . . . Do what we have to do to outscore them.
     
    The gentleman we are pursuing has a past of wanting to outscore everybody.
     
    That makes all of the last week seem way o-k in my book.

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate the homerism. 

  • broncfan

    ssshhhhhhh…

  • Anonymous

    The rushing offense was a pure product of the system. By the numbers we actually had a bottom 5 oline last year. People tend to look at basic numbers without factoring in all the things that go into taking place which is why they get so confused over simple things. Like when everyone thought the Broncos had a top 5 offense with Cutler. No we had a top 5 yards gained machine. Our points scored were like 16th in the league. 

    Here is a good article going in depth on the play of the oline. http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/02/23/o-line-performance-toward-fair-evaluation/

  • AtomicLeo

    II still think the favorites have to be the Titans. Money is about the same, he stays in the AFC and an FO job when he hangs it up.
    But between Denver and SF, I think Denver has the edge. PM will be OC and I don’t see Harbaugh stepping away from play calling.

  • CJ

    the niners got in to keep the cardinals out

  • Tom9798

    The leading rusher in the NFL in 2011 was Maurice Jones-Drew with 1,606 yards.
     
    Guess you could say he had a good o-line in front of him.
     
    The Bronco’s rushed the ball for 2,632 yards: 1,026 more yards than Drew.
     
    Pretty good ‘product of the system.’

  • Anonymous

    How is it that no one had the niners in this until today?  They met and worked him out FOUR days ago?  And it gets out today?  

  • Anonymous

    Using FO’s metric, we’re better at run blocking than Tenn. In fact, Tenn is dead last by a mile.

    Pass blocking, though?   Woof.  

    http://footballoutsiders.com/stats/ol  

  • yohoo

    Dude, you’re not supposed to look that close, all we need is a real QB and it’s over. Come on have a drink of the cool-aid… 

  • Anonymous

    Once again, you have to look at the whole. Read the article :)

  • Anonymous

    Yeah Tenn was TERRIBLE last year at run blocking, but they just picked up steve hutchinson and if they package Saturday with Manning, that is probably cured. 

  • virginiabronco

    Herc it was announced yesterday no decision had been made and that everyone was still in the running AND offers were still coming in.  While everyone was commenting about Elway being spotted flying out of Denver, I said, has anyone been spotted flying to SF. Just check back a few headlines earlier for my comment.  Plenty of stuff is getting out but the Bronco faithful who are totally focused on Manning coming to Denver are not listenning.
    The Manning marketing machine keeps the prices going higher and higher…..and ……
    I expect to hear Washington is making an offer any minute now.  I thought the Manning machine said we might get a decision on Thursday.  Today is (wait for it)___________, Friday.  Tomorrow will be….. Saturday…..
    He is not coming to Denver.  He is playing Elway and the front office and now the Bronco faithful.
    Please come to your senses Bronco nation!

    Can anyone really see Manning and Elway in the same town?  Really?  Not going to happen. 

  • virginiabronco

    Spot on Trog

  • virginiabronco

    One more point.. I told you guys that he had to stop to fuel the jet in Denver.  That was the only reason for his stop.  He couldn’t make all the other west coast stops without refueling.  That was the reason for the stop in Denver. WHile he was there he figured he might as well get a bid from Denver in order to keep the bids coming in.  The Manning machine in action!

  • Thomasharris54

    guess everyone should’ve known something when Moss signed & there was others interested, & the 49ers haven’t signed a QB, Harbaugh must of told him bout Manning.

  • Anonymous

    WOW!

    Trog is this the “real” you coming out? Such honesty. You sound like me… ~rubbing chin~ Have I worn on you that much? LOL

    Bro I’ve never seen you talk like this before, not that I don’t like it but just seems harsh for you and its kinda scaring me ~shrug~…

    This is exactly where we are but 100% more so with Tebow than with Manning. Hey I’m in all honesty NOT a huge PEyton (the cap E was for King if he reads this ;-)) fan, never really have been but dude opens up our offense immediately. And I agree that the D will or should look better this year. Wow, again, now I, sound, well, like you!?! I’ve said it before, I think I love you man…lol.

  • Anonymous

    Very interesting read.

    I wont say I knew it all along, I didn’t, however I have been sitting here at home watching all this PEyton stuff and wondering who is smoking what when they talk about our stellar O-line. I don’t think they are the worst or even suck but they are not as good as some make out. Unless I have seriously missed something, which is absolutely possible, I think ;-)…

  • 5280

    Trog you must not watch to many experts on our oline. every single one of them, even the ex players in the league and including mayock say that denvers Oline  is the best of the teams persuing manning and are a top five line in the league. and to run a read option in the pros you gotta have a line that can block all day and thats exactly what they did, so yes the running numbers are a product of the system being run but you cant run that system without a steller O line. experts have pointed out we have 2 of the brightest up and coming recievers in the game, and several have put denvers D somewhere between #19 to within the top ten. and an olines numbers refelct what the team runs as a base offence not how good the line is. ill agree they need a lil help with their pass blocking but theyre young enough to learn that. if we get manning, then throw our 2012 1st rounder at the steelers for mike wallace, then sign dallas clark, then draft some backers(and obviously a DT, and theres plenty in this draft), and draft a running back then we can quite possibly go to the superbowl next year.  keep in mind that all of this is quite possible considering our cap room and im sure manning knows every single piece of this scenario because Elway and Fox probably already told them that they’d do it.  Running backs are deep in this draft and draft experts including mayock believe that trent richardson could possibly drop to the 20′s in the first round because nobody wants to pick up a 3 down back that high anymore because the league is turning into a passing league, so if richardson drops to the 20′s then the rest will drop further meaning denver can pick up a good back in the draft for cheap. all of these factors is whats making it hard for manning to pick a team.

  • 5280

    Trog you must not watch to many experts on our oline. every single one of them, even the ex players in the league and including mayock say that denvers Oline  is the best of the teams persuing manning and are a top five line in the league. and to run a read option in the pros you gotta have a line that can block all day and thats exactly what they did, so yes the running numbers are a product of the system being run but you cant run that system without a steller O line. experts have pointed out we have 2 of the brightest up and coming recievers in the game, and several have put denvers D somewhere between #19 to within the top ten. and an olines numbers refelct what the team runs as a base offence not how good the line is. ill agree they need a lil help with their pass blocking but theyre young enough to learn that. if we get manning, then throw our 2012 1st rounder at the steelers for mike wallace, then sign dallas clark, then draft some backers(and obviously a DT, and theres plenty in this draft), and draft a running back then we can quite possibly go to the superbowl next year.  keep in mind that all of this is quite possible considering our cap room and im sure manning knows every single piece of this scenario because Elway and Fox probably already told them that they’d do it.  Running backs are deep in this draft and draft experts including mayock believe that trent richardson could possibly drop to the 20′s in the first round because nobody wants to pick up a 3 down back that high anymore because the league is turning into a passing league, so if richardson drops to the 20′s then the rest will drop further meaning denver can pick up a good back in the draft for cheap. all of these factors is whats making it hard for manning to pick a team.

  • Anonymous

     As a team the Jags rushed for 1970 yds.  The Broncos were better.
    The article is rather silly and a piss poor analysis.  Anytime you drop two 100 yard rushers on a team in one game your O-line is getting the job done, period.  The case made by the article is that that was not the case.  Is anyone really dumb enough to say that putting up 144 yards rushing is a sign that the O-line wasn’t getting the job done?  Anyone can easily refute the article by pointing to the 9 games where the Broncos rushed for 150 yards or better and one could compare both games against the raiders.  Or they could point to the earlier meeting with the Pats where the Broncos put up 252 rushing yards.  That is the well disciplined Pats the writer claimed the Broncos could not block to save their lives.
    Anyone who looks at the stats can see that the problem with the Broncos offense is not running the ball.  The writer failed to look at the whole.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been playing pretty close attention to this and I don’t recall seeing anyone reporting SF as a real player until Friday.

      

  • Anonymous

    Go rewatch the games and look at what the PLAN was doing to the defense. Also watch the lineman individually. It’s pretty obvious mate.

  • Anonymous

    It’s kind of like the 1st year the Miami Dolphins ran the wild cat. It was tearing teams UP. It wasn’t the blocking (although theirs was decent). The 2nd year, with the exact same squad, the wild cat was half as productive. The 3rd year it wasn’t any more productive than their normal run game. Us running the option was the same effect. 

  • Anonymous

    lol oh I have my opinion’s that is for sure and I am no blind homer of a fan. Once the deal is done, whatever way they go I’ll support the team and stay positive about it because it sucks just not even having hope every week. 

    I think in the short term if we got Peyton we’d be a better team anyway as he can cover up some holes. I highly doubt we win a SB with him though and he is over the hill so giving him 60 – 70 mil upfront is going to really be detrimental to this club long term.

    I have friends that are hardcore Titans fans and even those knuckleheads don’t want him at that price. I’m not sure why everyone thought he would come cheap.

    If he was willing to go for less, Indy would have renegotiated his contract. 

    Actually I think it’s kind of funny that 3 clubs are stupid enough to play his game right now. Peyton and his agent are laughing it up as the desperation grows for teams to offer more money for him to sign.

  • Anonymous

    haha yeah keep listening to the talking heads on tv that are paid to read a teleprompter my man. That’s where you’ll learn what’s really going on. It’s not by watching the games and dissecting plays for yourself or reading articles from actual scouts that are paid to watch every single play and put together indepth analysis. No that’s for the weekend warriors.

  • Anonymous

    Every game has a plan.  You still need people to execute the plan.  If the plan is so good that you drop anyone into the system and consistently produce then who really cares one way or the other?

  • Anonymous

     No it isn’t.  People said the same thing about the Broncos running game.  The reality was that TD and the rest were good running backs,  The O-line was good and the plan was good.
    The wildcat was a gimmick used by a team that had nothing else. 

  • Anonymous

     They were/are still trying to resign Smith and if nothing else they are playing the Manning card for leverage. 

  • Anonymous

    And the Option is also a gimmick. Dude we averaged 4.1 ypc that is 20th in the league. Seriously, take the blinders off

  • Anonymous

    Who in any organization was obliged to say Manning talked to the 49′ers?  How are you so sure that it is Manning dragging his feet?  How do you know that contract negotiations aren’t going on right now?  You know nothing but you want everyone to believe that you have some special insight into Manning and the rest of the world.
    The only thing that is known is that the Broncos, Titans and 49′ers are working off of Manning’s last contract.  We know that Condon represents Manning and Alex Smith and that Condon’s partner Sexton represents Tebow.  So we have agents that have a vested interest in seeing their clients get paid.

  • Anonymous

     It wasn’t.  Most likely because the 49′ers were/are negotiating a contract with Alex Smith.

  • Anonymous

    Except that he flew from Denver to Phoenix on his first trip.  He met with the 49′ers the first time in North Carolina.  There goes your silly theory.  Maybe you can get a spot on Alex Jones’ show doing sports.

  • Anonymous

    I’m so sick of this crap. get on with it, Peyton.

  • Anonymous

     Yes the option is a gimmick.  I’ve stated so before.  Try 4.8 ypc which is not bad and good enough for 6th.  The rushing game is not the problem.  What was that about blinders again?

  • Anonymous

     Man, There is absolutely nothing in your whole post that I don’t agree with 100%, and that goes for the ones way above this. You are spot on, and like you, I’ll root 100% for this team regardless.

  • virginiabronco

    I didn’t realize he lived in Denver.  He had to get to Denver right?

  • Guest

    Except the Broncos were the #1 rushing team because of Timmy. With Willis always getting hurt, not sure if the Broncos would crack the top 10. Unless Peyton decides to run the ball for 50 yards a game.

  • VitruvianMan

     Tim Tebow accounted for 660 rushing yards. Factor that in??? Obviously Timmy isn’t playing if Peyton is in Denver. Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  • Anonymous

    Yes you are right, I was looking at their YPC up the middle only and of course that was the worst because Walton was the lowest rated Run Blocking center in the league.

    It still doesn’t change the fact that our offensive line sucked and we only ran well because of the gimmick.

    Anyone who says different OBVIOUSLY did not watch the offensive line or analyze the players on an individual level and is running their mouth when they don’t know what they are talking about.

    There is a reason the only Denver Oline player to make it to the pro bowl was Ryan Clady and he was a 3rd tier replacement

  • VitruvianMan

     Quality wins? Hmmm… Let’s see, Detroit, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati. All playoff teams. Seriously you’re a dumb POS. Do some research before posting ignorant comments that just make you look like the idiot you are.

  • Anonymous

    Pro Football Focus actually has scouts watch game tape and break down EVERY SINGLE PLAY for each offensive lineman and grade them on if they read the right block, picked up the block, how long they held the block for etc… 

    They say the Broncos oline sucks. 

    If you watched more tape, and graded every single player on every single play and said different, I’d respect that. But the fact is you are basing your opinion off of absolutely nothing.

    The bottom line fact is it’s easy to grade offensive lineman because either they picked up their block or they didn’t. Either it was a successful block or it wasn’t. 

    A block is a 1 on 1 thing. You are basing what you want to be true off of a good run. A lot of factors make a good run. Only 1 factor makes a good block or not.

    If having every single play for every single player isn’t enough then go look at football outsiders which has a whole different grading system. They sucked there too.

  • VitruvianMan

     Doesn’t anyone on here realize that the Broncos led the NFL in rushing because of their QB and NOT their O line? Not saying their O line is garbage but Timmy rushed for 660 yards last season, Peyton will be lucky to rush for 0 (Counting sacks as negative yardage). So… Yeah.

  • virginiabronco

    The only people who don’t realize it are the same people who told us we needed to keep Orton as QB to have a chance last year and they are the same people telling us we have to have a 36 yr old QB, who has had 4 neck surgeries and sat out all of last season, in order to win a SB this year. 

  • Tom9798

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.It was March 17th, this day is 1974, when I flew to Stapleton with seven hundred dollars and my guitar.The cab driver took me to a bar in Larimer Square.  It was called, ‘Your Father’s Mustache.’They were handing out pitchers of green beer onto the sidewalk.I took one and sat down on the curb, took a big swig, and told myself, “this is do-able, I’m home.”