Manning looks good heading into break before camp
What Tom Moore saw this week was oh, so familiar. Short or long,
the throws were potent and precise, smacking sternums with both
authority and a loud thwack.
Peyton Manning is most certainly back.
The Denver Broncos wrapped up their three-day minicamp that
capped their offseason work Thursday with another spirited practice
marked by precision and power from their new 36-year-old
On hand as a guest all week was Moore, Manning’s offensive
coordinator for all but one season when the two were in
”Watching these three days, he looked excellent to me,” said
Manning has shown no ill effects of the nerve issue that caused
weakness in his throwing arm last year, required four neck
operations, forced him to miss the entire 2011 season and led to
his release from the Colts.
The biggest free agent in NFL history looks better and better
every day as he regains strength and adjusts to his new team.
”We don’t think about the injury anymore,” said receiver
Brandon Stokley, who played with Manning in Indianapolis. ”And I’m
not sure he does, either.”
The Broncos took a chance by signing the league’s only four-time
MVP to a five-year, $96 million deal in March, and with offseason
on-field work out of the way and training camp seven weeks away,
all indications are they’re getting the Peyton Manning of old.
Manning said he wishes he could have tripled the 13 offseason
practices they were allowed to hold, but he cherished the time
Over the last two months, he’s shown both himself and John
Elway, who recruited him to this quarterback-crazed town, that he
still has plenty left in his right arm that has thrown for 54,828
yards and 399 touchdowns and hoisted a Super Bowl trophy.
Manning averaged 42 passes a game in his last full season, in
2010, but the Broncos don’t plan on having him air it out that
much. They’re meshing some of the power formations they used in
leading the league in rushing last year with some of the spread
formations that Manning was accustomed to running in
The reconstruction of both quarterback and offense appears to be
going very well, indeed. Manning has given the Broncos no reason to
hold back once training camp rolls around, offensive coordinator
Mike McCoy said.
”We’re going fullspeed ahead. We’re being aggressive with
everything we’re doing,” McCoy said. ”He’s fine. We have no
concerns right now. We’re not worrying about it. We’re moving
With his arm strength not really an issue, the question facing
Manning is whether he can get his timing down with his new
”There’s lots of things that enter into it, obviously,
accuracy, anticipation, touch, arm strength, you know, it’s an
all-involved thing,” Moore said. ”He looks good. He looks
Manning is loath to declare himself injury-free, insisting he
has much work to do in his rehab just as he does in preparing for
the 2012 season.
”You don’t really expect him to say anything else,” Stokley
said. ”That’s just kind of his persona, it’s all about work every
day, trying to get better. No matter if he’s having one of his best
years ever as a quarterback. Even during his MVP years, he’s still
saying the same stuff: `Just trying to get better every day.”’
Moore said Manning’s well-known work ethic is what will push him
through this season.
”Nobody works harder than him,” Moore said. ”On anything.
Anything. I mean, his work habits are fantastic. He’ll be
successful his entire life at whatever he does. Because of his work
ethic and his dedication and his commitment to what he’s
When he was asked this week whether the Broncos had the
potential to be as potent as the Colts were under his stewardship,
”I’m not doing the comparison game to the other offenses,” he
said. ”I think what we’re trying to do right now is form our
identity. And I don’t think that necessarily happens over 14
practices in May and June. I do think over training camp and into
the preseason, I think hopefully we’ll get a feel for the things
that we really do well.”
Even if Manning’s right arm isn’t 100 percent this season, his
mind is, Stokley said, noting that while ”he’s never had the
strongest arm,” nobody can decipher a defense and then pick it
apart like Manning.
Manning’s arrival has had its anticipated ripple effect on both
the offense and defense, and most of the six practices the media
were allowed to watch were crisp. If anything, Manning’s throws
were sometimes too strong, sailing over his receivers’ heads.
Stokley said Manning is the ultimate leader because everybody
around him gets better. He saw it in Indy and he’s witnessing it
now in Denver.
”Whatever he asks, guys will do, because they’ve seen what it
can lead to. It can lead to great things for teams and
individuals,” Stokley said. ”There’s no questioning him. It’s not
phony with him. You see it firsthand, how hard he works, how hard
”And it’s by far more and harder than anybody that’s ever
played this game. There’s no question in my mind that nobody else
has even come close to putting in the kind of effort and work that
he’s put into the NFL.”
NOTES: Moore, 73, who was a consultant with the Jets last year,
had his right knee replaced in the spring and will have his left
one fixed in August. ”So, next season I’d like to coach again,”
he said. ”I’ll be in good shape.”
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