The opener for the Denver Broncos is still over three months away, but don’t tell Peyton Manning that these practices in May are not important. Manning met the media after the Broncos first workout on the field, and if you saw him, you would have thought the Broncos were playing in the AFC Championship game next Sunday.
For the first time since being released by the Indianapolis Colts and being signed by the Broncos, Manning quickly brushed off the question about his neck. He was asked how he felt compared to this time last year and Manning was direct saying: “I’m fine.”
There was no it’s a process or I am always rehabbing, it was “I’m fine,” and don’t ask me about it again was the less than subtle body language. The reports from those who saw practice said that Manning was throwing the ball with more zip than last year. Those same reports indicate that Manning and receiver Wes Welker are already on the same page, and the connection was impressive on Monday.
Manning was also asked about the absence of running back, Willis McGahee and at first it sounds as if Manning is taking the politically correct road. Well at least until the very end.
Manning said: “I haven’t had a chance to speak to Willis and didn’t realize he wasn’t going to be here.” “The guys that are here are working real hard and hopefully Willis can get here as soon as possible.” He didn’t say it directly but it’s obvious that Manning believes McGahee should be practicing with the Broncos.
Manning then sent a message to every player when he answered a question about second year running back, Ronnie Hillman. He said, “Every player should be better in their second year, they are not rookies anymore. Hillman is like everyone else out here, guys need to be in the playbook.”
The quarterback for the Broncos is always driven when it comes to football and winning, but Manning had an edge to him on Monday. It’s an edge that he expects his teammates to have, and Manning is not shy about demanding it.
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