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Peyton Manning, Broncos ready to mesh on field

Posted: 05/21/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT

Updated: 05/21/2012 08:06:37 AM MDT

By Mike Klis

The Denver Post

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Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, above, will mesh with coach John Fox when the team meets today for OTAs. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)

Denver Broncos

Watching John Fox and Peyton Manning lead separate NFL teams in the previous decade would suggest they have some work to do to get on the same offensive playbook page.

Fox is a head coach raised on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage. He has operated his offense as if half his thoughts are with his defense. Pound the running game. Milk the clock. Keep the defense on the sideline. Mix in an explosive pass play. Pound the running game.

Manning is a quarterback who has taken a detour to Denver while on his way to Canton, Ohio. He did not become one of the all-time best quarterbacks by handoff alone. It's through the air, without bothering to huddle up, that Manning has sliced up defenses.

The meshing of Fox and Manning, and Manning and the Broncos, begins today with the Broncos' first organized team activity (OTA) workout at their Dove Valley headquarters.

Despite the differences in offensive style, there is also a statistical compatibility between Fox and Manning that suggests they will get along quite well now that they are both with the Broncos. And Jon Gruden knows what that statistic is.

"I know John Fox's record when they've scored over 25 points a game," said Gruden, a former Super Bowl-winning coach who now is the color commentator for ESPN's "Monday Night Football" telecasts. "It's pretty impressive. And I know Peyton Manning for 14 years has been slicing people up for about 25 points a game. So that combination could be lethal for the Broncos."

Fox coached the Carolina Panthers for nine years and is going into his second season with the Broncos. He doesn't mind winning by a score of 17-10. Give him some offense, though, and Fox knows how to finish.

His coaching record when his teams score at least 25 points: 39-3. Granted, even in this pass-happy, wide-open era, 25 points is better than average. But 25 points in an NFL game does not produce the nearly automatic victory that, say, 12 runs does in baseball or seven goals in hockey. The San Diego Chargers averaged 26.5 points a game the past two seasons yet have posted a combined 17-15 record.

Manning compiled so many extraordinary passing numbers in his 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, he ranks among the top three all time in all the major categories. He didn't play a 14th season with the Colts because of a neck injury. The recovery from that injury will be under close examination today as Manning performs before the media for the first time since his token appearance in the 2010 season's Pro Bowl.

Not that today is Manning's first day on the job. Since he picked the Broncos from a list of at least 10 suitors on March 20, Manning has been at the team's Dove Valley headquarters every minute that the league's collective bargaining agreement allows.

"I don't feel like there is much free time," Manning said last month. "I feel like there is always more room to study, some time with Luke (Richesson, the team's strength and conditioning coach) and Greek (Antonopulos, the team's trainer). For me it's a double load with rehab and learning a new system. You can't rush things; they're going to take time."

Manning's Colts averaged better than 25 points in 10 of his last 12 playing seasons, and 26.7 points overall in that span. The Colts also averaged 11.5 victories in those 12 years.

That would work just fine for the Broncos, who have averaged only 7.3 wins the past six seasons.

Mike Klis: 303-954-1055 or mklis@denverpost.com

Passing the time

To help new quarterback Peyton Manning get acclimated, the Broncos will have 13 offseason practices spread out in four segments over the next four weeks. The first three organized team activities (OTAs) are considered voluntary. The final minicamp is mandatory.

OTA 1: Today, Tuesday, Wednesday

OTA 2: May 30-June 1

OTA 3: June 4-7

Minicamp: June 12-14

Training camp: Begins the last week of July

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Peyton running the no-huddle in Denver will leave defenses quite literally breathless. Also, it's a nice idea to have the defensive minded coach, but it doesn't always pan out. When Dungy came over from Tampa, our offense was great and it was expected that he would fix up the defense and we would be unstoppable. But our defensive play wasn't that great. So it's a nice theory to say "Let's have Peyton control the offense and our head coach will spend most of his time focusing on the defense", but it doesn't always work out. The Broncos' DL isn't that impressive and their secondary is getting up their in age. They do have one of the best pass rush in the league though

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I'll tell you what will happen: All of a sudden the run defense sucks, the head coaches forget how to coach, the GM makes poor draft decisions, and the team as a whole will get complacent under Manning. Manning will transform the Broncos, but not necessarily in a way to win them a Superbowl. The Broncos will forget what it takes to win because they assume Manning will do it for them.

There better be a lot more people in the Broncos facility pulling just as much weight as Manning is, if not more, if they're serious about holding onto that Lombardi.

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@remedy: Probably impossible, what you propose. This isn't a complacent front office with puppet coaches. Manning also has a good line, good ground game, bigger, more athletic receiving threats, and an already solid defense in place.

They will be better than people anticipate, and may become the favorites to win the AFC after a few short weeks.

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@remedy: Probably impossible, what you propose. This isn't a complacent front office with puppet coaches. Manning also has a good line, good ground game, bigger, more athletic receiving threats, and an already solid defense in place.

They will be better than people anticipate, and may become the favorites to win the AFC after a few short weeks.

.... Any given Sunday, as they say. None of us know what will unfold, any given Sunday, or Season for that matter. Knowing Peyton and his work ethic, I would expect Nothing but the best from him when he takes the field. I know very little about the rest of the Broncos at this point, but I look forward to watching the games and learning more, and seeing what will unfold this year. I wish the very best for Peyton with the Broncos, and at the same time I am very anxious to see Andrew Luck in action with the Colts.
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McCoy: Manning's 'Been Great'

(5-31-12) Posted 19 hours ago

By Gray Caldwell

Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy talks about the benefits of having a veteran quarterback like Peyton Manning as the team develops and installs its offense.

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The benefits of having a veteran like quarterback Peyton Manningicon-article-link.gif on the field are evident all over the field.

The offense is excited to work with the four-time NFL MVP. Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy said wide receivers Eric Deckericon-article-link.gif and Demaryius Thomasicon-article-link.gif are "like two little kids in a candy shop," with Thomas going so far as to say he's preparing for his "best year yet."

The game can get a little easier for the defense, having gone against one of the best quarterbacks in the league in practice.

He constantly helps younger players -- particular his fellow quarterbacks -- offering insight and encouragement from his 13 seasons in the league.

And as far as McCoy is concerned, it's even a gift for the coaches.

“This is what you want," he said. "As a coach, this is the type of player you want to coach. You’re very fortunate -- these opportunities don’t come around very often. So we’re going to all take advantage of it.”

It's the thoroughness with which Manning approaches each aspect of the game that stands out most to McCoy.

That factor has been a benefit especially as the team continues to develop and install its offensive scheme for the 2012 season.

"The first thing he said to us is, ‘Hey, listen, you guys have a system in place. I want to learn your system but also have the flexibility to do some of the things that we’ve done for the last 14 years in Indy,’" McCoy recalled. "I’d be an * if I didn’t listen to him. So there’s a number of things that we’ve taken from what he’s done in the past and there’s a fair share of the things that we’re going to carry over from the past here also.”

As the offense progresses through OTAs, McCoy said the team -- specifically Head Athletic Trainer Steve "Greek" Antonopulos -- is monitoring Manning's throwing as he continues his recovery from injury.

“We’re going to monitor his reps on a daily basis and how many throws he has, but that’s Greek’s job," McCoy said. "Greek and him have sat down and determined how long he can go, how many throws he can make each week. But the mental challenge we’re throwing at him, we’re throwing everything at him like every other player. His reps will increase as we go.”

However, that doesn't mean the team is limiting the distance and type of throws the quarterback makes.

"He’s fine -- he can do everything," McCoy said. "We’re installing our system and he’s doing whatever he thinks is best.”

"Peyton’s been great," he continued. "He’s been open from day one, trying a lot of new things we’ve done or that we’ve been doing for a number of years but that he has never done. He wants our opinion on those things. With some things that we’ve taken from his past, I’ll be the first to ask questions to him. We’re all in it together."

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It's nothing less than I expected him to do, typical attention to detail.

He's going to prove a point in Denver, not next year, this year.

The question is who does #18 want to prove something more to? Jim Irsay, his new team mates, the league, or himself? Which element or individual gets the biggest slice percentage wise?

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The question is who does #18 want to prove something more to?

IMO to himself and to a lesser extent the other players in the NFL that he competed so fiercely with. He probably doesn't give Jim Irsay much thought anymore, it was business and water under the bridge.
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IMO to himself and to a lesser extent the other players in the NFL that he competed so fiercely with. He probably doesn't give Jim Irsay much thought anymore, it was business and water under the bridge.

Subvet, I agree that Peyton wants to prove to himself mostly that he hasn't lost a step & can still perform at a high level seamlessly. But Jim Irsay did cut #18. And #18 still believes he can play football exceptionally well. You never forget the man who gave you the boot. EVER!!! Peyton's competitive juices are chomping at the bit to demonstrate to Irsay that he made a catastrophic mistake IMO.

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Maybe but I think he is more of a professional than to let that color his judgment. They spent many hours discussing what was going to happen so I doubt PM is bitter but there may be a big smile if and when he gets back on top.

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Maybe but I think he is more of a professional than to let that color his judgment. They spent many hours discussing what was going to happen so I doubt PM is bitter but there may be a big smile if and when he gets back on top.

Peyton is a better man than me in that category. Does that make me petty? I like Tom Petty, but I think that's not quite the same thing. haha:lol:

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Peyton's competitive juices are chomping at the bit to demonstrate to Irsay that he made a catastrophic mistake IMO.

I disagree - sure he will never forget he was cut by the Colts, but he also knows the business side of things and is smart enough to know (even if he knew he would soon be 100%) that the Colts were not going to be the team they once were.

Not playing the entire season last year and seeing for several years the lack of a D for the Colts, no run game, aging recievers, injury after injury etc that if he was going to ever play at a competitve level again that a change would be needed. Not to mention what the Texans organization was building down in Houston...

He could surely see that a change was best for him on a personal level. With all that in mind I don't think he has an agenda to show Irsay anything at all, but graciousness for the previous 13 years.

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If Manning had the Favresque pettiness/revenge factor in his mind then he'd be the Titans Quarterback at this point and the Colts would be playing for 3rd place until he retired. That would have been the only team he had an interest in.

This 2012 roster with Manning would be a contender.

With that said, if the football gods visited him and said Peyton you are only going to win one more game for the rest of your career, but you get to choose it. You better believe he would select the Denver/Colts game in 2013. Of course knowing how he has been over the years he'd say week 1 2012, and then try to go out and prove them wrong.

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I disagree - sure he will never forget he was cut by the Colts, but he also knows the business side of things and is smart enough to know (even if he knew he would soon be 100%) that the Colts were not going to be the team they once were.

Not playing the entire season last year and seeing for several years the lack of a D for the Colts, no run game, aging recievers, injury after injury etc that if he was going to ever play at a competitve level again that a change would be needed. Not to mention what the Texans organization was building down in Houston...

He could surely see that a change was best for him on a personal level. With all that in mind I don't think he has an agenda to show Irsay anything at all, but graciousness for the previous 13 years.

Hawkeyes,

I do agree with you that Peyton is the epitome of class, integrity, & professionalism. Irsay did draft Peyton & they have had a good working relationship over all his years in Indianapolis. I also agree that drastic changes had to made to completely overhaul the roster as a result of age & substandard play. Peyton & his large salary had to be released in order to revamp our defense & our secondary. Massive purging of the roster was also inevitable. Irsay had no other choice in my view from a business perspective. I just hope that Andrew Luck is prepared for the public backlash that might occur should he struggle initially. See Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay once Brett Favre was ultimately given the boot. Indianapolis fans are fantastic & I doubt that this will unfold, but Favre was beloved in WI just like Peyton is in INDY & stranger things have happened unfortunately.

Having said all that however, Peyton still wants to prove to the NFL & Jim Irsay that his career is far from over though. And what better to do that than to defeat his old squad. Of sure, Peyton will be diplomatic about it & say gracious things about the Colts, the city, & the fans there, but trust me he wants to beat the Colts to drive home the point that #18 has still got the clutch gene in him.

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