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

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

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