Despite a slightly awkward exchange at the end of last season, Peyton Manning and John Elway are on good terms, and Manning is back and ready to lead the Denver Broncos’ offensive attack once more.
What, you didn’t hear about this?
“Well, there were some uncomfortable moments after the playoff exit and when general manager John Elway went to Peyton Manning and got a pay cut of $4 million,” Denver Post Broncos beat writer Troy Renck said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “He can give (that money) back if they win the AFC Championship and win the Super Bowl, but it’s always hard to ask a player of Manning’s caliber for a pay cut. And Manning, he didn’t ask for a pay raise the year before when he set every record known to man. But once they got through that uncomfortable stage and they moved forward with Manning and Gary Kubiak, they’ve all bought in (to the new philosophy and) they’re all committed to it. But you’re trying to blend two offenses. One was no-huddle, shotgun, pistol, run, run, run, hurry, hurry. And now they’re a team that’s going to be more physical, zone blocking and run the football. So they’re trying to marry these two concepts. Don’t be surprised if it’s a little bit of gear-grinding the first two or three games, but they’re committed to it – and more importantly, Peyton Manning is all-in on it, so that helps. Eventually, I do think he’ll figure it out and play well.”
One must wonder, though: Is Manning all-in because he thinks this is what is most conducive to winning, or is he all-in because he’s 39 years old and maybe doesn’t have another 5,000-yard season in that right arm of his?
“The reality is this: Their offense the last three years was as prolific as any over a three-year span, but it resulted in zero Super Bowls,” Renck said. “Manning is 39. No quarterback has won a Super Bowl at his age, let alone even started in one. So they’ve gone to him and said, ‘Hey, three days on, take a day off in training camp. Look to take Wednesday off during the regular season.’ All with a single goal in mind – for the Denver Broncos to play their best football at the end of the season. They believe that less is more for Manning at this point in his career and that even though he’s a creature of habit, eventually this will benefit him greatly toward the end of the season. And again, so far he’s bought in – sometimes reluctantly because he’d rather get every snap in practice and every snap in a preseason game, but they’re going to run the football. They’re going to do things to help Manning with the pistol and the hurry-up but they’re not just going to just jump the run and go back to the old offense. That’s not happening.”