People do not doubt Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning now like they did a year ago. At that time, he was still rehabbing from his latest neck surgery and beginning a new chapter with a new franchise. He hadn't played in a game in about 16 months and, at the age of 36, had to prove he could still sling it like he was 26.
In case you forgot, he did alright. Manning was named Comeback Player of the Year and finished second in the Most Valuable Player vote. He's enjoying an offseason working with his teammates, visiting troops overseas, playing golf and going to baseball games. Opponents on the Broncos' 2013 schedule beware: Manning is just now finding his comfort zone in Denver.
"Not that I feel as comfortable as I did in my eighth year in Indianapolis, but it's a heck of a lot more comfortable than I was last year," Manning said to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. ".... Does it guarantee you're going to win games? Not necessarily. But I usually play better when I feel more comfortable."
Manning's eighth season was OK, but I think he meant his ninth season, 2006. For the sake of comparison, Manning had a 31:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2006. He posted a 37:11 ratio last year. He also threw for more yards and a higher completion percentage. The only thing that didn't make 2012 an all-around better season for Manning than 2006 was a Super Bowl victory. He may not get that victory this year, but we fantasy owners don't care about that.
Manning is healthy and feeling good about his offense, upgraded by the addition of Wes Welker. The Broncos plan to play at a more up-tempo pace, which means more plays and throws for Manning. He should be drafted as a top-6 QB.