Peyton, Slot Receivers, and Concussions

Please don't misunderstand me. Peyton Manning is easily my favorite active player, and in my estimation, the best quarterback ever. But Saturday's preseason game against the Houston Texans highlighted a type of play that has me wondering. Does Manning share some of the blame for Wes Welker's concussion?

With Peyton masterfully running the two minute drill and marching down the field, he hit Wes Welker on a slant rout in the middle of the field; Welker was annihilated by DJ Swearinger. This hit and Welker's subsequent concussion obviously concerns Broncos fans--and not because we might be without the services of Wes Welker week 1 against the Colts.

By now, we realize the seriousness of repeated brain injuries over the course of a short time span. These types of injuries can derail a career, and much more importantly, an individual's life quality. The examples of former players with lasting effects from concussions are all too familiar by now.

And this concussion, along with Welker's multiple late-season concussions last year put him on shaky ground. I can remember another slot-receiver who suffered multiple concussions in a relatively short time span: Austin Collie. Collie was on the receiving end of some of the most vicious hits to the head I can remember seeing in the past 20 years.

So while most of me is just upset at the Swearinger's bad behavior last week, culminating on his hit to Welker's head, another part of me can't help but notice that two of Manning's favorite slot targets have suffered repeated brutal hits from defenders in the middle of the field. Is it possible that Manning is, at times, partially to blame?

When Welker played for New England, it seemed like Brady consistently found Welker dragging away from defenders with room to run after the catch. This has sometimes been true of Welker and Manning, but my eyes tell me that most of Welker's catches are in traffic with defenders closing in.

So I thought I'd throw out the question to those of you with keener eyes and smarter football brains: does Peyton Manning have the tendency to set his receivers up for some of these concussing hits? Or is this an inevitable part of being a slot receiver in the NFL?

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR.