Toucher & Rich

The fallout in Denver following the Broncos’ 24-13 loss to Indianapolis on Sunday has been rather swift. Peyton Manning revealed that he’s been dealing with a torn quad for a month, head coach John Fox and the team “mutually parted ways,” and Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Terrance Knighton, Orlando Franklin, Rahim Moore and Jacob Tamme are all free agents.

Clearly, things are going to be very different in Denver when the 2015 season kicks off.

To get a Denver perspective on the situation, Toucher & Rich welcomed returning guest Darren McKee to the show. The Denver sports radio host said that “mutual parting of ways” between the team and Fox was “shocking,” yet he has one idea why it may have happened.

“He is extremely close with Adam Gase, who’s the offensive coordinator. Extremely close,” McKee said of Manning. “And yesterday when they were cleaning up their lockers, Manning did not show up at all, he avoided the media completely. But he was spotted outside the media room talking with Adam Gase. So this is a fascinating situation. The San Francisco 49ers, they really want to hire Adam Gase, and so, did this all happen so that the Broncos could hire Adam Gase [as head coach] to satisfy Peyton Manning? And I’ve got one source that says ‘Yup!’ and I’ve got one source that’s great that says no. So, I think it’s a very up in the air sort of thing. The real question is how much do you want to rely on Peyton Manning? And that’s the tricky part.”

McKee said it’s worth wondering whether Manning is even worth being the guy for the Broncos anymore.

“We all know right now, Peyton Manning will get you to the playoffs, and then you’re screwed. And that’s it! That’s the book on Peyton Manning. There ain’t no doubt about it,” McKee said.

With regard to Manning’s performance, McKee said that injury is no excuse for what took place on the field — especially compared with what Tom Brady did against the Ravens.

“Guys, Tom Brady is — I mean, I love Tom Brady so much. The guy is great,” McKee said. “Because he’s an older guy, he’s not very mobile, but look, you know when the chips are down, he puts his head down, he runs, he’s willing to take the contact.

“In [the Colts-Broncos] game, when it was third-and-5 and Peyton Manning had the entire field open just to limp over to get a first down, he insists on throwing the ball instead of [running]. It was a moment — a courageous test — and he failed it miserably. I was just blown away, I was so disappointed that he wouldn’t put himself on the line a little bit. Now is he hurt? OK, you’re hurt, but everybody’s hurt in the NFL. I mean, everybody has a series of injuries. And if you’re that hurt, why did you play in the final two weeks?”

Here’s a look at the space Manning had on the play to which McKee referred:

Overall, McKee holds little confidence that Manning is capable of delivering a Super Bowl to Denver.

“I don’t think the Broncos can win a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning,” McKee said. “I think they can get to the playoffs, but that’s it. And you’ve got to be able to move a little bit, and he can’t, and that’s not going to change.”

McKee wasn’t done talking about Manning either.

“It’s just he’s … did you really like the richest kid on your block who always had everything and always had to have everything his way and everything always went right for him and life just went fantastic for that rich kid? There’s just something unlikeable about that guy, even if he’s a great guy,” McKee said. “Manning, don’t you wish like a cement truck would fall on his head at some point?”

Well, that’s strong.

“I think he was great, I’m glad he was here, I’m ready to move on. And I think a lot of people [agree],” McKee explained. “I’m telling you guys, he was getting booed, people were throwing things at the end of the game … . I think it was awesome for the three years that it happened, I just think it’s over. And if you push it for another year, it’s not going to be that much fun.”

McKee then shared stories from former Patriots and Broncos long snapper Lonie Paxton.

“From everything Lonie used to tell me, Tom was just one of the guys, basically,” McKee said. “Manning has like, no friends on the team. All the guys that Manning pals around with are either — like John Lynch is retired, or Brandon Stokley is retired — older guys or people who are out of it, or the 20 to 30 people he ships in for every home game. … He just doesn’t connect with anybody on the team, so the question is, what kind of ego do you have to have when you’ve got everything, you’re not capable of winning really like you should anymore, but you continue to still put yourself out there? I’m sure you love money, I’m sure you love the attention, but you must not love having friends on the team, because he has none.”

Regarding Broncos players not named Peyton, McKee ran through the free agents. One player he does not expect back in a Broncos uniform is Wes Welker.

“Welker, I talked to him yesterday, he’s history,” McKee said. “I don’t think he ever really wanted to be here in the first place.”

That goes right along with what McKee said on Toucher & Rich last year, when he said, “I don’t think he’s thrilled to be out here. I still think it stings he’s not a Patriot.”

McKee still believes that’s the case.

“The attitude he’s had since he was here was just … you know what’s remarkable? He got busted in the preseason and I thought his career was over, and he got through the year, good for him,” McKee said. “And if he wants to continue to play to make his head a bunch of mashed potatoes, you know, go for it. You guys wouldn’t have Welker back, right?”

Rich Shertenlieb replied, “I think it would be almost irresponsible right now to sign that guy. I mean, I feel bad for the guy. Just quit, have a normal life.”

Listen to the entire discussion below!

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