ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – All Broncos fans are waiting for the day quarterback Peyton Manning puts on Bronco orange in a real game, but Monday is a big milestone for Manning and the team.
For the first time this year, the entire team will take the field for the first minicamp at Broncos headquarters.
Manning will approach it like he does everything else: seriously, and in business-like fashion.
“I think you have to have a great work ethic, I do believe that,” said Manning recently. “I don’t think you can just show up in September and expect to complete passes or execute in the running game. I’ve tried to get better every offseason. I’ve tried to be a better player each year than I was the year before. And that’s from the film study of the previous year, but also from the offseason work.”
Manning is of course the biggest difference in the 2012 Broncos, and no one is more excited than the guys who will be on the receiving end of his passes.
“He’s a natural born leader and in the weight room he’s the one taking command of running from station to station. On the field he’s doing drill work, getting us lined up and having us do things for a particular reason. There’s no wasted movements, no wasted time, and that’s the great thing about having a leader like him,” receiver Eric Decker said.
“He’s literally leading everything. He’s setting us up, putting us in the right positions. He’s not running the drills — definitely he and Decker go hand-in-hand with that — but he’s pretty much the leader in everything else,” said new Broncos receiver Andre Caldwell.
Most people assume that Manning will be calling all of the Broncos offensive shots just like he did in Indianapolis. Certainly, the offense will be tailored to his unique talents.
“There are plenty of things that we’ve done in the past here that we want to give Peyton the opportunity to see. He is very flexible. He wants some new ideas and to run some new things,” Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said. “We’ve spent some time in the last couple of weeks explaining the things as an offensive staff we really like and things we can help him with. And that is our job. It’s going to come down to the next couple of months, by the time we come out of training camp to say, ‘OK, what do our players do best? What are the things that Peyton likes best as the quarterback?’ Because it all starts with the quarterback in our system. There are a lot of things that he hasn’t done that he is excited to look at.”
Manning not only figures to make the offense better; he’s going to help the defense, too. The first thing he’s done is show them how to approach work every day.
“He demands that accountability from other guys, and you see what he’s done,” Champ Bailey said. “He works hard, just like myself and a lot of the guys in the locker room, but a lot of guys don’t have his skill set. You add that to his skill set and what he’s accomplished and how hard and competitive he is, that’s what makes him what he is.”
The Broncos scored their biggest victory in years when they beat out several teams to sign a future hall of famer. And hopefully it’s just the beginning of something very big.
“I just know that he’s going to play great football,” Broncos executive John Elway said. “That’s when I played my best football — the older I got. 37 and 38 were the two best years that we had in my career, and so I just know when you look at his track record with his health he hasn’t had any other significant injuries, and I think with the way he plays the game we believe that he can play as long as he wants.”
Manning is hesitant to admit that he is at the tail end of his career.
“I don’t have 14 years left by any means,” Manning said. “We’re trying to win now and we’re going to do whatever we can to win right now and that’s all I’m thinking about is getting back to the way I want to be and trying to win now.”