Can Giants slow down Peyton?

Examining the QB's main pass plays and how the Giants will try to stop him

Updated: September 13, 2013, 2:42 PM ET
By Gary Horton | ESPN Insider

Peyton ManningChris Humphreys/USA TODAY SportsPeyton Manning carved up the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1.

Peyton Manning may be the most cerebral QB in the history of the NFL. His preparation and knowledge of offensive football, combined with his ability to read and exploit defenses, is something to behold. Because of all this, Manning has been allowed to have a major role in designing offenses throughout his career, and smart coaches give him a lot of flexibility.

After breaking down his spectacular Week 1 performance versus Baltimore, I went back to the film room and looked at his old Indianapolis offense to see if there are any similarities to the offense he's now running in Denver. It quickly became apparent that Peyton brought a lot of his Colts concepts to the Mile High City.

Let's examine a variation of three plays that are Peyton's staples, and how the Giants will try to defend them on Sunday.


1. The option route -- This is the most basic pass play that Peyton will run. While it looks very simple, the QB and his receivers must be on the same page and read the correct coverage.

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This Denver play versus Baltimore was all about reading the corner covering Wes Welker in the slot to the left. The outside receiver ran a vertical route to take his corner with him and hopefully influence the safety to the outside. The linebacker came on a blitz, leaving some inside room for Welker, and initially it looked as if that's where Peyton wanted to go. However, at the last second, the corner took the inside route away and Welker planted and adjusted to an out route. Peyton read the same thing and they picked up an easy 10 yards on third-and-8.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.