Denver Broncos

Does Chris Harris think Case Keenum is Peyton Manning?

Case Keenum should be better than what the Broncos have had, but cornerback Chris Harris has rose-colored glasses on regarding the team’s offense.

Dating back to Peyton Manning’s final season in 2015, the Denver Broncos have had lackluster quarterback play. Last year Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch combined for 19 touchdowns and 22 interceptions as they finished 27th in the league in scoring offense (18.1 points per game).

Enter Case Keenum, who signed a two-year deal in March, as the new starter under center.

Keenum had a good 2017 season for the Minnesota Vikings, with more than 3,500 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions over 14 starts (15 games). He also had the second-best completion percentage in the league (67.6 percent), behind only Drew Brees. Before then he was backup/spot starter for the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams.

Chris Harris is one of the top cornerbacks in the league, and he’s a key piece of a good Broncos defense. He also worked against Manning in practice for a few years, so he has some experience with what greatness looks like in that setting as an offense really clicks.

But the Harris’ vision for Denver’s offense this year is very optimistic, to say the least.

Harris sees Denver’s offense “putting up points” to the tune of “at least 30 a game” this year. Since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978, just 28 teams have averaged at least 30 points per game for a season. Out of 1,201 combined team seasons over those 40 seasons, that’s 2.3 percent.

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Keenum should be better than last year’s collection of Broncos quarterbacks, as low a bar as that is, and Harris’ optimism can be appreciated at this point. But even if Keenum can build on last year and channel something like peak-form Manning on a new team, history is seriously against Harris’ declaration for the Broncos’ offense in 2018.

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