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Brandon Marshall: 'Blasphemy' to doubt Peyton's arm

Everyone under the sun is weighing in on Peyton Manning's arm strength. After all, Denver's season likely boils down their star quarterback's ability to drill the football downfield.

Even before Manning showed questionable power in a tight win over the Ravens in Week 1, NFL Media's Brian Baldinger came away from Peyton's preseason film saying: "When you watch some of these throws, you can't believe it could possibly be the same guy."

That came after an AFC pro director told NFL Media's Albert Breer that Manning's arm strength was "significantly diminished," with an NFC executive noting that Manning looked "immobile" and "flinches under pocket pressure."

Manning's teammates disagree, with Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall emerging Tuesday to tell NFL Network's Around the NFL that all the speculation over Peyton's physical decline is nonsense.

"We all think it's blasphemy ... because Peyton, he still has it," Marshall said. "You know, he has what it takes. I think it's just a matter of time because it's a new offense. It's the beginning of the season ... just the chemistry with the O-line and the receivers, everybody gotta get in sync. I definitely think it's going to turn around. I have no issues, or no worries about anything."

Asked specifically if he sees less arm strength from Manning, Marshall shot it down, saying: "No. I don't. I've been here since 2013 and it looks the same to me. I definitely don't see a difference."

In the opener, though, Manning's troubles mirrored the physical limitations he displayed in January's playoff loss to the Colts. The Ravens took away the short portion of the field and challenged the 39-year-old passer to throw deep.

"I'm sure there's nobody on offense that's happy," Manning told NFL Media's Michael Silver after the loss to Baltimore, adding: "If you're gonna try to make a summary for the season in Week 1 ... then it's not gonna be a great summary. That's why you don't make a summary in Week 1."

Marshall obviously agrees, but the linebacker is part of a shrinking circle who see Manning as unchanged from previous seasons. Few storylines carry more weight this autumn than Peyton pushing to prove his doubters wrong.

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