2015 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

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

Victor CruzJul 28 02:23p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) is supposedly faster now than he was before he tore his patellar tendon last season, according to teammate CB Prince Amukamara. Amukamara [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 11:53a

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was waived/injured Tuesday, July 28.

Josh FreemanJul 28 10:43a

Free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Dolphins) was re-signed by the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, July 28, according to his agent, Ron Freeman.

Tom BradyJul 28 10:13a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is expected to have his four-game suspension upheld, a source told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. Smith said on 'ESPN First Take' Tuesday, July [ More ]

Chris CooleyJul 27 10:42p

Free-agent TE Chris Cooley (Redskins) is still considering a comeback, although he said Monday, July 27, in a radio interview that he does not anticipate a team signing him [ More ]

Josh McCownJul 27 10:32p

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown enters training camp as the team's starting signal caller, but head coach Mike Pettine said Monday, July 27, that McCown is not guaranteed of [ More ]

Markus WheatonJul 27 07:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton is believed to have performed the best among the wide receivers during offseason workouts.

Brandon LaFellJul 27 05:22p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Jadeveon ClowneyJul 27 05:12p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Kevin BrockJul 27 05:02p

Free-agent TE Kevin Brock (Bengals) signed with the New Orleans Saints Monday, July 27.

Matthew TuckerJul 27 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Matthew Tucker (undisclosed) was waived from the Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 27.

Da'Quan BowersJul 27 04:52p

Free-agent DE Da'Quan Bowers (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, July 27.

Jonathan MartinJul 27 03:02p

Carolina Panthers OT Jonathan Martin (back) has chosen to retire. Martin will need surgery on his injured back.

Tom BradyJul 27 02:02p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension still has not been announced, and the NFL is now open to talking with the NFL Players Association [ More ]

Doug MartinJul 27 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin could be in line for a big, bounce-back year, in the opinion of beat writer Roy Cummings.

Casey MatthewsJul 27 09:12a

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve due to a hip injury Sunday, July 26.

Casey MatthewsJul 26 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) has been placed on injured reserve due to a hip injury that occurred during the team's offseason program.

Blair WalshJul 26 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings PK Blair Walsh signed a four-year contract extension Sunday, July 26, worth $14 million. The deal includes $5.25 million in guaranteed money.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group