2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Key to Denver's success is spreading the wealth

    2014-01-03 16:05

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Of all the records Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos' high-octane offense set this season, one stands out to wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert.

''I call it the 5-10 group,'' he said Friday as the Broncos wrapped up a week of light practice and headed off for a weekend furlough afforded the AFC's top seed.

The Broncos (13-3) are the first team to have five players score at least 10 touchdowns in a season: Demaryius Thomas (14), Knowshon Moreno (13), Julius Thomas (12), Eric Decker (11) and Wes Welker (10).

No other team has ever had more than three players hit double-digit TDs.

''That tells you about the players we have on our team, the way Peyton spreads the ball out, how anybody can score at any given time,'' Tolbert said. ''To have five guys have 10 touchdowns or more is just unbelievable to me.''

Manning says his unprecedented 55 TD passes and 5,477 yards through the air are only temporary records which will be surpassed by Tom Brady or Drew Brees in a year or two - or by any number of other quarterbacks if NFL owners get their way and expand the regular season from 16 to 18 games.

Tolbert thinks the 5-10 group, which includes Moreno's 10 TD runs and three TD catches, has nothing to sweat.

''They can go to 18 games and that yardage record can be in jeopardy and all that stuff, but that 5-10 group, that's going to be hard to break,'' he said.

At 37.9 points per game, Denver is the highest-scoring team of the Super Bowl era and the beauty of the Broncos' offense is its balance.

Manning targeted his three starting receivers almost identically: Demaryius Thomas (8.87 times a game), Welker (8.54), Decker (8.5). Julius Thomas, whose dozen TDs broke Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe's club record for tight ends, was targeted 6.42 times per game.

Each member of Manning's receiving corps brings a different skill set to the equation. The common thread is a refreshing unselfishness in an age where prima donnas so often demand passes and attention.

''You never hear them talk about any numbers, anything like that because they know with Peyton Manning the quarterback, they all have a chance to get the ball on any given play,'' Tolbert said.

Even when Decker was having trouble finding the end zone early on, his big blocks on screens were springing Demaryius Thomas, who led the league's receivers with 718 yards after the catch.

''Our whole group is like that and Decker knows that at any point in time that day can be your day,'' Tolbert said. ''Like when we went to Kansas City, I mean, who'd have thought he'd have four touchdowns? But any day a guy can go out there, it can be a receiver, it can be a tight end, it can be a running back, any day can be your day.''

It was Decker's day on Dec. 1, when his four TD catches set a club record. He finished with eight TDs in December, rocketing the soon-to-be free agent to the top of the team's offseason to-do list.

Demaryius Thomas led the Broncos with 92 catches for 1,430 yards and was voted second-team All-Pro on Friday. ''It's been a great year for a lot of things: records, All-Pro, Pro Bowl,'' he said. ''Hopefully we can make it to the Super Bowl now.''

''You know, for a big guy, 6-3, 225 or 230, he runs really good routes like he's a smaller guy,'' Tolbert said. ''That's one thing I think that stands out from a lot of bigger guys, the fact that he can really run outstanding intermediate routes, as well as go deep, as well as make you miss. So, he's got the total package. He's also a very good blocker. He has a lot of knockdowns.''

Welker had an outstanding first season in Denver, catching those career-best 10 TD passes before sitting out the final 3 1/2 games with a concussion. He has no hesitation about returning to the slot next weekend.

''It will be five weeks from the day I had any contact at all,'' he said. ''I feel good. I feel fine. I feel ready to go.''

The key to springing the wide receivers in the red zone has been the emergence of former college basketball player Julius Thomas, who caught 65 passes for 788 yards after catching just one pass in his first two seasons in the NFL.

''That's awesome to have another weapon like that jump out on the scene,'' Tolbert said. ''And the scary part about it, he's still learning how to play football.''

---

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