What should we expect from Peyton in 2015?

Tom Brady thinks Peyton Manning doesn't have much left in the tank. What do our PFF numbers say?

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

What should we expect from Peyton in 2015?

The prevailing opinion on Peyton Manning coming out of the 2014 season is that Manning suffered a late-season injury that depleted his leg strength and subsequently his ability to throw with any power, resulting in one of the worst playoff performances of his career against the Indianapolis Colts. Yes, Manning did get injured in the Denver Broncos’ Week 15 game against the San Diego Chargers, but was that really the beginning of his decline?

According to our grades, it started well before Week 15. After a solid start to the season, Manning entered his Week 9 contest against the New England Patriots with a league-high passer rating of 119.1, though he “only” ranked sixth in our PFF passing grades. He was already forcing too many passes into coverage, but was getting away with them (keeping his stats clean) while receiving quite a bit of help from his playmakers. Week 9 marked the beginning of a three-week stretch of negative grades for Manning, including one of his worst performances in years against the St. Louis Rams in Week 11.

The second half of the season was littered with inconsistency as he posted three negative grades over his final five regular-season games, and his passer rating started to properly reflect his play to finish at 101.6.

Now, Manning still performed as one of the better quarterbacks in the league, but make no mistake: His decline started well before any late-season injury, and PFF grades were reflecting this even before the raw stats started to catch up.

All that said, Manning is still just one year removed from a remarkable 2013 season. We’re not expecting a total flop in 2015, particularly with new head coach Gary Kubiak implementing his fun-first, play-action heavy scheme, as Manning should continue to be one of the league’s best quarterbacks even if he doesn’t reach his 2013 heights.

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Evan

    Why I hate Kubiak, fun should always be second…

    • Arjun Patel


  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    the ball is flying off his hands in training camp, so health/arm strength won’t be the issue, at least early on

    • GESBoulder

      Verified as accurate.

  • GESBoulder

    There was a lot of internal strife going on inside Dove Valley. The St Louis game was the beginning of the end for the Fox regime, Elway had had enough. After that, Denver changed the offense and Manning was lost, and also began to wear down (typical situation leading into actual injury). Elway wants a balanced attack with far less ware on Manning so that Denver isn’t fading into the playoffs. If the NFL played 18 games, Manning would be sitting on road games against premier teams in the regular season akin to the NBA Spurs.

  • Sam Doohan

    I’m definitely in the camp that think Manning will have another good year. I doubt anyone will top his 2013 for a while yet, but I don’t believe he’ll have fallen off a cliff. Maybe down the stretch there’ll be some worries, but both he and the team are making a point of putting less stress on his body so maybe not.

  • DesertRover

    If Manning can maintain his arm strength he should be fine, EXCEPT that the O-line is much weaker than last year. The left side was considered the strength of the line, and RG Orlando Franklin left for the Chargers, and LT Clady is out for the season. They don’t have much to replace those two, so this could limit Manning to 3 step drop backs, eliminating much of the long game – otherwise he risks serious injury.

  • Aaron McFarland

    He actually injured his leg in the first San Diego game, which is the reason the drop off for the second part of the season.

    • Thomas Bell

      Exactly. There is an article written on this in SI right after the playoff loss, and the writer was able to pin the exact play of the injury. Not sure what PFF is thinking with “late season” , as is throwing ability went down hill before the st louis game.

  • Scooter Woods

    Stats Manning, at his very best, is most often not good enough. If he accepts Kubiak’s scheme (he never will) and subjugates himself to the team concept, he may have another shot. But don’t count on it. One more year like last year and his vaunted quest for a personal ‘legacy’ may spin out of control. And then he will be done.

  • Taylor Christian Vance

    Manning was injured before week 9. He sustained injuries to both thighs. The first was before week 9 the second was week 15.

    • Taylor Christian Vance

      At least that what i remember reading. It’s been awhile.