2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Manning not hitting panic button in Denver

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-08-25 16:35

DENVER (AP) - Peyton Manning isn't panicking.

His supporting cast hasn't looked nearly as good as he has this summer.

His offensive line has been a turnstile. His two young running backs can't hold onto the ball. His two trusted tight ends have combined for three catches and three injuries and the chemistry with his new slot receiver has been stalled by Wes Welker's sprained ankle.

A rash of injuries on defense. Special teams breakdowns. All-Pro linebacker Von Miller's six-game suspension that starts next week, which came on the heels of two executives getting suspended for drunken driving arrests.

It's enough to drive Broncos fans to regret putting money down on the Super Bowl favorites in Las Vegas.

Manning isn't sounding any alarms, however.

``I'd be a little concerned if we were a finished product and a finely oiled machine in the third preseason game,'' he said. ``I want to be a well-oiled machine toward the end of the season and peak at that point.''

The Broncos look a lot more like a creaky jalopy than a humming Ferrari right now.

Because they kick off the 2013 NFL season Sept. 5 against Super Bowl champion Baltimore, few starters figure to play much in the preseason finale Thursday night against Arizona, meaning Manning's preseason is over.

``I don't think you can get every question answered in the preseason,'' Manning said. ``We have some young players, we have some first-year starters, potentially at tight end, and we're going to have a young running back. Montee Ball is going to play a lot. We have a first-year center, and a first-year slot receiver with the Denver Broncos. So, there is a lot of newness to this team.''

In some ways, it's just like 2012, when Manning was getting used to just about everybody around him and needing the GPS to keep from getting lost on his way to and from work and home.

``I think, similar to last year, our goal is to improve throughout the season,'' Manning said. ``By no means should we be a well-oiled machine going into our opener against Baltimore. Hopefully, we can be hitting on enough cylinders where we can be effective.''

Denver lost three of its first five games last season before Manning settled in and turned the Broncos back into a powerhouse, albeit one that lost its first playoff game to the Ravens, something he said left a scar on the team's psyche.

The only salve for that wound is a Super Bowl title this season.

Welker, Tom Brady's favorite target in New England, bolted to the Broncos in free agency, teaming with young receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, who combined for 23 TD catches last season, to form a new ``Three Amigos'' in Denver and prompting John Elway to declare he's jealous of Manning's targets.

Manning returned for his second season in Denver with a clean bill of health, more punch to his passes and noticeably more muscle tone to his right arm.

Plus, he just looks more comfortable in Denver than he did a year ago when he was starting his comeback from a series of neck injuries and surgeries that affected a nerve that runs into his right triceps and forced him to miss his final season in Indianapolis.

Even so, Manning said this has been another summer of change for him.

He's trying to develop a rapport with Welker, young running backs Ball and Ronnie Hillman and promising tight end Julius Thomas, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound target.

Then, there's new center Manny Ramirez, who hasn't snapped in a regular season game yet but has taken most of the snaps during the offseason with J.D. Walton, Dan Koppen and Ryan Lilja all getting hurt.

``There have been some changes for me,'' Manning said. ``All those new players affect me.''

Despite the patchwork O-line and running back foibles, Manning was able to complete 38 of 54 passes for 410 yards with three TDs and one interception in the exhibitions.

``It's really hard to know where you should be when you have new players,'' Manning said. ``I just don't know enough about certain guys, I'm learning every day. Manny Ramirez and I are learning about each other. Julius Thomas and I are learning about each other. Montee Ball is learning the system, and I'm learning about him. I don't think you ever stop learning.''

So, Manning will leave it to fans to wonder if the Broncos are ahead or behind as the new season approaches.

``I didn't have a set goal of where we should be right now. We are where we are and we have to make the best out of the players that are going to play for us and the injuries we have to overcome,'' Manning said. ``We don't use any excuses. It is about doing the best with what we have.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) felt some progress in his sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Fitzgerald was pretty upset [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 26 01:23p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Phil LoadholtNov 26 12:33p

Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Geno SmithNov 26 12:23p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will return to the starting quarterback role in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, after QB Michael Vick saw only three starts. The [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 26 10:43a

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright has 23 catches on 26 targets this season. 'Every time we throw to him it's a touchdown - we'll try to find him [ More ]

R. Griffin IIINov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Colt McCoyNov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 11:43p

The Washington Redskins are planning on benching QB Robert Griffin III for the Week 13 game against the Indianapolis Colts in favor of QB Colt McCoy. However, Griffin still [ More ]

Jace AmaroNov 25 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (concussion) is in concussion protocol, according to head coach Rex Ryan, after suffering the concussion in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 04:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was named the starter for Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Nov. 24, by head coach Jay Gruden, but he left open [ More ]

Michael BushNov 25 04:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent RB Michael Bush (Bears) and cut RB Kerwynn Williams Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Brandon McManusNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos waived PK Brandon McManus Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Connor BarthNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 25, after waiving PK Brandon McManus, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 25 03:13p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) said he'll be ready to play Thursday, Nov. 27, after missing Week 12 with an ankle injury.

Latavius MurrayNov 25 02:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) will undergo baseline testing for his concussion Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to a league source. He is feeling good, but he must go [ More ]

Brian HoyerNov 25 01:53p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer was never in danger of being benched in favor of QB Johnny Manziel in the team's Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, according [ More ]

Blake BortlesNov 25 01:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles went 15-for-27 for just 146 yards and an interception in the team's Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he hasn't tossed a [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group