Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning opened the 2013 NFL season in style, throwing for an impressive 462 yards and seven touchdowns during a 49-27 blow-out of the Baltimore Ravens. Lost in the stats was that a drop potentially cost Manning an eighth touchdown. And now, coming off a 36-31 loss to Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants are task with slowing him down.
Despite a career resume that depicts him as one of the greatest ever, and firm proof that he's still got plenty left in the tank, Giants safety Antrel Rolle said on Monday that the Big Blue defense does not fear him nor the very talented Denver Broncos offense.
"Peyton, we all know what he brings to the table, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, a true Hall of Famer. But at the same time, that doesn't [strike fear in us]," Rolle told reporters on a conference call Monday, per the New York Daily News. "We're going to go out there and we're going to play defense the way we know how to play defense. We all put on our pants the same way."
The key to disrupting Peyton, says Rolle, is very simple: hit him in the mouth. It's the same gameplan for nearly every quarterback league-wide and one of only a few ways to get the future Hall of Famer off of his game.
“You have to do things to make him uncomfortable,” Rolle added. “You have to rush him. You have to get some hits on him. Peyton does not like to be hit. That’s one thing I’m sure of, he hates to be hit. He doesn’t like to be sacked. And just jump the ball. If he puts it out there, make a play on the ball."
Of course, that is a lot easier said than done.
Despite being battered and struggling in the running game, the Broncos' offensive did just enough to allow Peyton the time he needed to carve up the Baltimore secondary. Of course, that also came by way of Manning getting rid of the ball quickly with a lot of short passes to Wes Welker — something the Giants can most certainly expect on Sunday.
It will be key for Rolle and the Giants offense to stop the run, prevent those short passing routes and force Manning to hold onto the ball longer than he'd like. If they can't, it won't matter how brave they are in the face of greatness.
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