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

Lardarius WebbJul 29 10:45a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) missed his third straight day of practice Monday, July 28, and will undergo further testing to determine the extent of the injury, according [ More ]

Jairus ByrdJul 29 10:43a

New Orleans Saints FS Jairus Byrd (back) was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Alfonso SmithJul 29 10:43a

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) to an undisclosed deal and waived/injured OT Fou Fonoti (undisclosed).

Eric WinstonJul 29 10:43a

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent OT Eric Winston (Cardinals) to a one-year deal.

Kelvin BenjaminJul 29 10:40a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) doesn't have a timetable for his return after bruising his left knee, but he is expected to be back in days, not weeks. [ More ]

Josh ThomasJul 29 10:03a

Carolina Panthers CB Josh Thomas (undisclosed) was activated from the Non-Football Injury list and is practicing Tuesday, July 29.

Chris IvoryJul 29 09:53a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is likely to be the team's goal line back, according to running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

D'Aundre ReedJul 29 08:53a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent TE Brett Brackett (Cardinals), undrafted free-agent QB Seth Lobato (Northern Colorado) and DE D'Aundre Reed. QB Brock Jensen was waived and OG Davonte Wallace (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Ricky SappJul 29 08:43a

The Houston Texans signed free-agent RB Tim Cornett (Cardinals) and OT Mike Farrell (Broncos) to undisclosed deals. LB Ricky Sapp was waived.

Alan BonnerJul 29 02:23a

Houston Texans WR Alan Bonner (foot) was placed on the Texans' Reserve/Injured list after clearing waivers Monday, July 28.

Brandon JenkinsJul 29 02:13a

OG James Dunbar (Bears), OT Anthony Dima (Texans), OT Jack Breckner (Colts) and LB Brandon Jenkins (Redskins) all cleared waivers Monday, July 28, and are free to sign with any team.

Menelik WatsonJul 29 01:43a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson is slated to start at right tackle. The coaching staff has confidence in his ability after what was largely viewed as a disappointing 2013 [ More ]

Jimmy ClausenJul 29 12:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jimmy Clausen was accurate with his throws during practice Monday, July 28, and he led a touchdown drive during a two-minute drill. Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com [ More ]

Jordan ZumwaltJul 28 11:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jordan Zumwalt (groin) left practice early Monday, July 28, and WR C.J. Goodwin (shoulder) was held out of drills during practice.

Rod StreaterJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) is dealing with a concussion, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 11:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined at least another week due to his hamstring injury. Beckham was originally [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreJul 28 11:33p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) has not been cleared to practice yet due to lingering concerns about his surgically repaired right knee. However, he appears close to joining his teammates.

Chris CantyJul 28 11:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (family issue) missed practice Monday, July 28. OG Will Rackley (head) and OT Parker Graham (groin) also missed practice.

Alfonso SmithJul 28 11:33p

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to announce the signing of free-agent RB Alfonso Smith (Cardinals) Tuesday, July 29. The team needs healthy reinforcements with RBs Kendall Hunter (knee) [ More ]

Juron CrinerJul 28 11:33p

Oakland Raiders WR Juron Criner (hamstring) has been sidelined from practice due to a hamstring injury, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday, July 28.

Gavin EscobarJul 28 11:23p

Dallas Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar has often lined up out wide during training camp, and offensive play-caller Scott Linehan is experimenting with different ways to get him involved in the offense.

Roy MillerJul 28 10:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars DT Roy Miller (shoulder) returned to practice Monday, July 28, after being given the day off Sunday, July 27, to rest his shoulder that he had surgery on in the offseason.

Cyrus KouandjioJul 28 10:43p

Buffalo Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio has struggled in training camp, and Joe Buscaglia of 550 Sports Radio believes that OT Erik Pears is now the frontrunner for the starting RT job.

Mario ManninghamJul 28 10:42p

New York Giants WR Mario Manningham (knee) said he is still not 100 percent confident in his surgically repaired knee. 'I'm working on it,' he said of overcoming that [ More ]

John AbrahamJul 28 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals DE John Abraham was detained, questioned and later charged with multiple counts, including DUI, on Sunday, June 29, according to arrest reports in DeKalb County. Abraham missed [ More ]

Anthony DixonJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon was listed as the No. 3 back on the team's first official depth chart with RB Bryce Brown listed as the No. 4 back.

Scott ChandlerJul 28 10:12p

Buffalo Bills FS Kenny Ladler (hamstring), TE Scott Chandler (groin), TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) and TE Chris Gragg (cramps) were held out of practice Monday, July 28.

Joe HawleyJul 28 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons C Joe Hawley and C Peter Konz have both been taking reps with the first-team this offseason.

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 28 09:53p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) had tests on his injured hamstring Monday, July 28, and the results were negative, according to two sources briefed on the injury.

Danny AmendolaJul 28 09:43p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola has spent the offseason working with trainer Alex Guerrero. Guerrero is also QB Tom Brady's trainer, and he helped WR Julian Edelman prior to last season.

Marlon MooreJul 28 08:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed WR Marlon Moore (Dolphins) Monday, July 28.

Clay HarborJul 28 08:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Clay Harbor (calf) will miss some time with a strained calf, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.

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