If fans of the Denver Broncos think that Peyton Manning isn't a dink and dunk quarterback, then they haven't watched him this season or ever in his past. Manning doesn't just dink and dunk his way down the field, he takes it to a whole new level. If anything, I was suprised Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons when Manning started whipping the ball 20-30 yards down the field so frequently. That's just not the type of quarterback that I see him as, and the Broncos aren't going to win games if he's doing that.
Look at Manning's Past
The easiest way to show that Manning is a dinker and dunker is to look at his 2010 statistics with the Indianapolis Colts. At the age of 34, Manning had one of his most productive seasons ever. He threw for 4,700 yards (a career high) and 33 touchdowns. That alone conjures up images of frequent, deep passes. However, look a little deeper. Manning threw the ball 679 times and completed 450, both easily career highs as well. That's just an average of 6.93 yards per pass attempted which, in 2010, was good for 20th among starting quarterbacks. If that's not dink and dunk, then what is?
Can Dink And Dunk Be Effective?
Well, the first piece of evidence is the 2010 Indianapolis Colts. Despite an anemic running game and a defense ranked in the NFL, the Colts rode Manning's short passing game to a 10-6 record and the playoffs. Considering that the 2012 Broncos already have a much better running offense and a defense that should be considerably better than the Colts ever had, this approach should be equally (if not more) effective.
It certainly worked for Tom Brady. In fact, I would argue that the New England Patriots and Brady became less successful (at least in Super Bowl wins) when they got away from this. In the years that the Patriots won the Super Bowls, Brady's average yards per pass attempt was 6.9 (2001 regular season), 6.9 (2003), and 7.8 (2004). Once the Patriots started opening up the offense more, they may have scored more points but they haven't won another Super Bowl. Only in the past few years have they tried to go back to that approach, but they've yet to truly master it the way they did before.
I'm not saying that Manning shouldn't try and throw it downfield on occasion when the defense gives him the opportunity. Certainly if the running game and a dink and dunk passing game is successful, the defense will focus on that and give the Broncos the opportunity to go deep. Manning should take what the defense gives him, but most certainly the Broncos can still be very successful if they only have a short yardage passing game.
Julie is a featured NFL contributor who writes about the Denver Broncos for the Yahoo Contributor Network. A lifelong football fan, she started following the Denver Broncos after moving to Colorado in 2001.
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