The Denver Broncos won the AFC West all four seasons Peyton Manning was the quarterback there. The team never won fewer than twelve games in a season and reached Super Bowls with a combined regular season and playoff record of 55-17.
Sure, you could say it was the defense that won this Super Bowl and you'd be correct. Looking back, however, I am doubtful that that team gets to a Super Bowl, much less wins it, with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. Maybe Osweiler one day commands the kind of respect from his peers that a Peyton Manning has, but that day wasn't coming during the 2015 season. That truth is clearly evident from this clip from Super Bowl 50.
The players are still thinking about him and there have been reports that a clear void in leadership exists on the offensive side of the ball now that Manning has retired.
"Peyton [Manning] was last year," Emmanuel Sanders said on Friday when asked about Peyton Manning. "I texted him yesterday and told him that I miss him being out here, but at the end of the day, this is a new team with the same goal. We have to get past that Peyton Manning era. Right now, we’re trying to find ourselves a quarterback and that’s what it’s about."
That brings me to a very important question. As great as we expect this defense to be, what happens to their mindset if the offense crashes and burns again in 2016? With Manning, the players could at least remember how great he was and could be again. Would they feel the same way about Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch? Unlikely.
With those thoughts, two things must happen this season regardless of who the quarterback is. First, the Broncos have got to start out strong with a couple of wins. Second, the running game must carry this team.
If either of those things don't happen, we'll find the rookie quarterback much sooner than many expect, because there is no calming force like Peyton in that locker room to help right the sinking offensive ship. Football is all about momentum and a season could quickly become derailed. Just ask last years' Baltimore Ravens.
Broncos Training Camp Takeaways: Day 10
The progress of Michael Schofield and Trevor Siemian are two positive developments for the Broncos as they head into a day off.
Broncos Training Camp Quick Hits: Day 10
Red-zone work, defensive takeaways and a decided intensity highlighted the Broncos' final practice before another one-day break.
Gary Kubiak won't name preseason QB starter - ESPN
With the Denver Broncos’ preseason opener just five days away, coach Gary Kubiak said he hasn’t “come close" to naming the quarterback who will start against the Chicago Bears Thursday night, let alone Sept. 8 in the regular-season opener.
DeMarcus Ware, the Broncos’ Peyton Manning on defense – Denver Post
Every Broncos defender, no matter what position they play, receives some sort of guidance, leadership and advice from outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
Denver defense is dominating training camp, ready for preseason games – Denver Post
Pity the Broncos defense. In a mostly non-contact training camp, they have to settle for assuming their physical domination.
Mark Sanchez struggles against first team defense | Broncos Wire
Russel Okung has quickly become a leader in Denver. The seventh-year tackle came out to practice early Saturday to demonstrate to recently signed lineman Mathu Gibson how to block a defender in various situations. Okung, 28, is entering his first season with the Broncos.
Terrell Davis believes Broncos will win AFC West for a sixth straight year | Broncos Wire
Is there a greater running back in Denver Broncos history than Terrell Davis?
Brett Favre, 7 others inducted Saturday in Canton - SBNation.com
The Class of 2016, headlined by Brett Favre and Tony Dungy, will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday.
A pair of Rams legends are going into the Hall of Fame, but the team's owner didn't bother to show up - SBNation.com
Terrible billionaire Stan Kroenke can't be bothered with celebrations that aren't profitable. He was the only owner who's not in Caton to support the players.
Kellen Winslow Jr. to get tryout with Packers - NFL.com
Every once in a while, a player widely considered to be past his playing days by virtue of drawing little interest sends out an inspirational tweet or post about his future comeback.