Oakland Raiders: Kryptonite to Peyton Manning's Superman
David Wilson – Jul 7, 2012
With Peyton Manning coming to the AFC West, many sports pundits have the Denver Broncos as the favorites to win the division. I don’t. Manning is a year out of football, and whilst I do not doubt his talent, he is stepping into a totally different environment than the one he played in at Indianapolis.
Against the Oakland Raiders, there are two players who are going to make Manning’s life a misery, and who I expect to have big games on the two occasions that the teams meet.
Those players are Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly.
The reason I say this is not just because Seymour and Kelly are possibly the best defensive tackle combination in the league, but because the Broncos interior offensive line is probably the worst.
In the last two years, Seymour (12.0 sacks), and Kelly (14.5 sacks) have been elite performers in pressuring the quarterback.
Oakland has to keep Seymour healthy. He disappeared for long stretches last year due to injury, but when he is fit, he is still one of the dominant defensive players in the game.
Also over the last two years, the Broncos starting quarterbacks have been pressured on an incredible 42.7% of pass plays. Manning on the other hand, had a league low 24% being pressured. He is going to see a big difference in the environment in which he works here, and with pressure, it is always difficult to avoid when it is generated up the middle.
Tim Tebow, being young, strong, and extremely mobile, coped with that pressure very well given his circumstances. Manning for all his talent is an aging, brittle, and immobile quarterback. Manning’s quick release compensates for his immobility, and he can, to a degree, avoid sacks by maintaining a great awareness of what is around him. But, although his career interception percentage is low (2.7%), it jumps to 4.6% when under pressure.
That is the fifth highest in the league over the last three years. To make matters worse for Manning, it isn’t just the interior line that struggles for Denver.
Orlando Franklin, the right tackle, has struggled mightily with speed rushers, and their left tackle had a very bad year last year.
I like the way the Raiders defensive line matches up against the Broncos offensive line very much.
This isn’t a team built around Manning, he does not have the receivers or tight ends he had for the Colts, or the coaching he had in Tony Dungy. This is different, and my guess is that different is going to hurt, a lot.
Although there are differences for Manning in so many ways, the biggest difference is the pressure he will feel from Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, as well as the rest of the teams on the Broncos' schedule.
If some say Manning is as close to Superman as the NFL gets, then Seymour and Kelly will be his Kryptonite in 2012!
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