Emmanuel Sanders: Peyton Manning's arm a non-issue

Peyton Manning has transitioned from MVP to an intermittent liability under center in his last two seasons with the Denver Broncos.

After throwing a touchdown pass in 56 consecutive starts stretching from November 2010 through November 2014, Manning has been kept out of the end zone in nine of his last 18 games.

Although Manning's flagging arm strength has borne the brunt of the blame for his disappointing performance, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders insists the primary culprit has been a plantar fascia injury that reportedly goes back to training camp in August.

"It wasn't his arm. It was just his foot," Sanders stressed on Thursday. "Peyton's arm has always been good to me, in my eyes. He's never had a really, really strong arm. He's always been the guy that before you come out of your breaks, the ball is there."

In fact, Sanders believes Manning is healthier in the lead-up to Super Bowl 50 than he has been all season.

"I can tell he's healthy because he's running around, he has more bounce to him in his step," Sanders added. "And hopefully it shows in the Super Bowl. ... Like I said, it wasn't his arm. It was his foot."

Sanders isn't the first Broncos player to suggest Manning's biggest 2015 issue was movement, not arm strength. It's something we have pointed out since September: Manning's inability to move in the pocket and set his feet had a debilitating effect on his throws.

Manning's waning arm strength has been an issue ever since his 2011 neck surgeries. It was nearly three years ago that he first quipped, "I throw a lot of wobbly passes ... a lot of wobbly touchdowns, too."

Headlines from 2013 referenced Manning's "tired, old arm" shriveling up in January.

What's interesting is that the Panthers see Manning in a different light than Sanders does.

Appearing on Thursday's edition of NFL Network's Super Bowl Live, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport offered that the Panthers agree Manning is as healthy as he's been all season, moving as well as he has in Denver.

Where they differ, per Rapoport, is in the belief that Manning can't throw the ball like he did a couple of years ago. In fact, they believe he can't even throw like he did early this season -- when his arm was still the NFL's biggest mystery.

Will we see the rejuvenated Manning who marched down the field on the opening possession of the AFC Championship Game, or the limited version who failed to move the offense for the final three quarters of that Denver victory?

We'll have to wait until Sunday evening to answer that question with authority.

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