After the Broncos lost their first game of the season on Sunday night, people once again started
wondering if Peyton Manning’s lack of arm strength is a problem and hurting the team. But while Manning did throw a couple of wobbly passes during the game, a closer look shows that Manning has actually improved this season on balls thrown deep.
So far this season, Manning is completing 47.6% of his passes thrown at least 21 yards and he is averaging 15.9 yards per attempt on those passes.
Those numbers are the best for Manning in the last 11 seasons and he has dramatically improved the last two seasons with Denver.
Since joining the Broncos last season, Manning is completing 44.4% of his passes of at least 21 yards and he is averaging 14.6 yards per attempt on those passes (see right). In his last four seasons with the Colts, Manning completed just 32.6% of those passes and averaged just 11.5 yards per attempt.
Manning is throwing fewer deep passes this season as he on pace to throw the ball at least 21 yards just 48 times. That would be down from 62 last year and 78 in his final year with the Colts.
But the fact is, the deep pass has never been an important weapon for Manning. In his final nine seasons with the Colts, Manning averaged just 67.0 passes thrown 21 yards or longer. While he is throwing fewer of those passes, he has actually gotten better on the deep balls and that is just one reason Manning may be more dangerous than ever.