Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is not the same player he was when winning an all-time high five Most Valuable Player awards. But the Panthers say they think Manning is still great.
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis was one of many Carolina players to discuss Manning as a player who’s still great, and not just a player who was once great.
“He’s going to go down as if not the greatest, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play this game and you don’t just lose that overnight,” Davis said, via USA Today. “You look at some people talking about his arm strength — but the Patriots game [the AFC Championship], it looked pretty good to me.”
Those echo comments made by Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly last week. And Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Manning’s mental ability hasn’t declined at all.
“He is going to anticipate and do things off of what he sees,” Rivera said. “You have to make sure if you’re disguising, you are holding your disguise. He wants to undress the defense as quick as possible and get a feel for where they are going and he will know where to attack. I think it really is a great chess match — and not necessarily coordinator against coordinator, but quarterback against defense.”
Heading into a Super Bowl the Broncos reached thanks mostly to their defense, the Panthers are promising that they won’t underestimate the quarterback.