If you were to list all the reasons the Broncos are Super Bowl contenders, you’d start, of course with quarterback Peyton Manning, who’s having an MVP season. Then you’d turn to the defense, where Von Miller is a force rushing the passer and Chris Harris and Champ Bailey are an excellent pair of cornerbacks. You’d mention Manning’s trio of receivers, Demayrius Thomas, Eric Decker and Brandon Stokley. You’d mention that the offensive line has done a good job protecting Manning, that running back Willis McGahee was off to a good start to the season and that Knowshon Moreno has played well since McGahee went down.
It would be a long time, while you were listing all the reasons for the Broncos’ success, before you’d mention Jacob Tamme. Unless you were Peyton Manning, in which case you’d say Tamme is where the success of the Broncos’ offense begins.
Manning, who played with Tamme in Indianapolis and urged the Broncos to sign him this year, told the Denver Post that Tamme’s ability to play both tight end and slot receiver makes him a matchup problem for opposing defenses. And Manning said that as he’s surveying the field before the play, the most important thing he looks for is whether the defensive personnel is treating Tamme as a tight end and putting a linebacker on him, or treating Tamme as a receiver and putting a defensive back on him.
“So much for us, in what we do, is how do they play Tamme,” Manning said. “Some teams treat him like a receiver and some teams treat him like a tight end, so you kind of find that out, see how they handle him in the formation. He kind of makes them, the way he plays and how he plays, have that discussion and we see where that takes us.”
Manning said Tamme, who has 51 catches for 542 yards this season, can open things up for the rest of the offense because of the way defenses have to play him.
“Tamme is essentially a slot guy, I guess that’s how I look at him,” Manning said. “But he’s bigger than a lot of receivers and he runs good routes, catches the ball. So, defenses have to have that discussion about how to handle him.”
And defenses having that discussion is important, even if fans and the media don’t often discuss Tamme as a key to the Broncos’ success.