Even before a neck injury sidelined Peyton Manning for the entire 2011 season, NFL scouts were concerned with the quarterback’s arm strength, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com.
"The fall-off was significant on film," said one scout from a rival AFC team. "He showed stiffness and lost athletic traits. What made him special was never his athletic ability or movement skills, but you could see it with his arm strength, too."
The scout admitted that the loss of velocity could have been related to the neck injury Manning sustained in 2010, which the 36-year-quarterback is currently recovering from. In 2010, Manning threw for 4,700 yards and 33 touchdowns.
"We break the field into 'short', 'intermediate' and 'deep', and on patterns deep and outside the numbers, you'd notice more air under the ball," the AFC scout told Breer. "There'd be more arc. Some it's by design, placing the ball where it needs to be. But it looked like his velocity was tailing off at the end of 2010. That's probably what he's most worried about.
"His rotation was fine, his accuracy was fine. But as far as the ball getting from Point A to Point B, and how much time he was giving defensive backs to drive on the football, there was enough there for concern." Manning signed a five-year contract with the Denver Broncos last week, but only the first season of the contract is guaranteed.