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Manning glad first game is out of the way
“To me there was no difference. He still throws the ball great,” said Stokley, who played with Manning in Indianapolis. “I think everybody saw … that he has great control of the offense. I think we are just going to try to build on this and get better every week. I think it was a good first step.”
If nothing else, the Broncos showed they could move the ball with No. 18 under center even when they weren’t playing at their best.
“We did a lot of good things,” Decker said. “We ran the ball great, converted when we needed to. We made some big third down plays and it’s good to see him in the huddle, being himself. He’s a business guy when he’s on the field. We’re doing things right. We executed well. It was a good building stone for us.”
Manning’s next preseason game will be Aug. 18 at home against Seattle, and if things go as planned, he’ll play most of the first half against the Seahawks.
You can bet Manning will have his offensive teammates working hard this week to get on the same page, too.
“I heard Caleb Hanie talking about the key is how you evaluate yourself and how you improve throughout the preseason,” Manning said. “It doesn’t matter what year you are in the NFL, the key is trying to get better through the preseason. That’s what we hope to do. That’s what I hope to do.”
Manning was sure he’d cringe at the film of his cameo appearance, yet he knows not to put too much stock into first snaps of the preseason.
“There’s a little more pressure in some ways because you only have 10-12 plays to get it done. In a normal game you have four quarters to try and make something happen,” he said. “I thought there were some good things there. We got a couple third downs. We overcame. We spread the ball around.”
It was a glimpse of the efficient, balanced offense the Broncos are installing in place of the option offense they ran last year when Tim Tebow was their quarterback.
Manning “looked real good out there, he sat in the pocket and he showed patience,” McGahee said. “He showed the trust that he has in the offensive lines and the running backs. It felt good for us to see him out there being comfortable.
“I think the dimension he is going to add to the running game is to take that guy out of the box. It will make us a whole lot better than we were last year.”
That’s saying something, considering the Broncos led the league in rushing in 2011, thanks in part to Tebow’s 660 yards rumbling.
Manning doesn’t take off running, so he’ll be handing off quite a bit this season, especially if the Broncos can spread out coverages with big tight ends Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen along with wide receivers Decker, Stokley, Andre Caldwell and Demaryius Thomas.
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