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september 19, 2012 • 12:28 PM

Peyton Manning would have been pulled for hail mary

Peyton Manning has not completed a pass of more than twenty yards.
Foto: Getty
 

Peyton Manning sure looks like Peyton Manning out there, but the evidence keeps mounting that he'll never be the complete threat he once was.

He came into this season questioning when he'd get his strength back. His "laser-rocket arm" disappeared against Atlanta.

And now, it appears, he's second on the depth chart when it comes to game-winning downfield heaves.

Broncos rookie backup quarterback Brock Osweiler was getting ready on the sidelines during Monday night's game against Atlanta because he was the one who would throw the long pass if Denver went for a last-gasp score, Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports.

"I was going in for the Hail Mary," Osweiler said. "I'm not sure what the dividing line was as far as me going in, but I was getting ready to go in."

While Manning has always been valued more for his precision than a raw ability to chuck it, onlookers have noticed a significant lack of zip on his passes since he returned this year after a lengthy layoff due to several neck surgeries. One of the main issues was that the damaged nerves in his neck could be sapping strength from his throwing arm -- affecting everything from making tight passes to the ever-important long throws.

Osweiler being summoned to  possibly relieve Manning only seems to confirm the speculation that Manning's arm strength is much worse than before, if not just incomparable to the youngster's range to start with.

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