Peyton Manning looked pretty strong last year, leading the Broncos to a record-setting offense and a Super Bowl berth.
But he told David Letterman last night that he’s still not back to his pre-neck surgery arm strength. His 2011 spinal fusion surgery cost him a season, and while there were times in 2012 he might have shown weakness, it was hard to detect last year.
“I’m not at a 100 percent compared to what I was before my surgery,” Manning said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “But I have made strides each season and this year felt a lot better than I did the year before. These nerves just go at their own pace.”
Manning said he’s had to accept the fact that the nerve regeneration he needs is impossible to predict.
“I used to sit in the mirror and just sort of go through my throwing motion trying to get the feel back the way I’d always thrown before,” Manning said. ” … Maybe I can’t throw the 100 mile-an-hour fastball any more, but I can still strike you out, picking my spots, working the plate.
“I don’t make the same kind of throws I used to make, I try to use the cerebral part, use my experience.”
He’s done that pretty well the last two seasons, leading the Broncos to a pair of 13-3 records. And with a new class of quarterbacks coming in this week, the lesson that the brain development is more important than a cannon arm is one a few of them could use.