Before I begin, I should say that Denver is the easiest transition for Peyton, because he gets to install his own offense. The problem is that Denver isn’t very close to competing for a Super Bowl. Let’s compare the two teams.
SanFrancisco 49ers have a top 5 overall defense that is still relatively young with a core of Willis, Bowman, and Smith, while Denver has a bunch of pass rushers and not much else. The 49ers led the league in turnovers forced, while Denver was in the bottom 10, with no major improvements to its secondary. As for the skill positions, San Francisco has a better running back and pass catcher in Frank Gore, one of the best tight ends in the game in Vernon Davis, and what is thought to be a rejuvenated Randy Moss and the still talented Michael Crabtree.
According to Football Outsiders DYOR analysis, which measures a receivers value per play, Eric Decker ranks somewhere between superstars Arrilous Benn and Brandon Gibson, while teammate Demaryius Thomas is more in the SantonioHolmes/Harry Douglas range. Not very promising for what is supposed to be a teams top two targets. For a better idea of how Michael Crabtree is misused, his true value lies right below Percy Harvin and right above Stevie Johnson.
The only real benefit Peyton Manning gains by going to Denver, is that he gets to run his own offense. That is it. San Francisco has more talent, better coaches, and an easier division. What else could possibly missing from the equation?
The missing piece, which will become a story at some point this year, is that if he choses Denver, Manning has the excuse of the team not being ready as an excuse for when he bows out of the playoffs. If Manning truly wants to win, he should have chosen the 49ers. Instead he chooses what should be forever known as the LeBron path. The easier way out with the easy excuse.
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