It’s too early for anyone to be stating the case that Peyton Manning is definitively back. Heck, Manning’s not even really saying that himself at this point. But the former Indianapolis Colts star quarterback who is now under center Denver did think he took a step in the right direction in his first preseason game against the Bears.
Manning completed 4 of 7 passes in his Broncos debut, a rout of victory for whatever that is worth at this point in time. Manning racked up 44 yards and did thrown an interception on a tipped pass. The Broncos host the Seattle Seahawks in a preseason game where Manning is expected to play more on Saturday.
Peyton Manning joined KOA in Denver with Dave Logan to discuss how he felt in his first preseason game, a long, across-the-field throw he made to Eric Decker, the timing he has with his receivers and memories of his first NFL touchdown pass ever.
What did the first preseason game back feel like after being out for so long?:
“It felt good to be back on the field. Certainly, being able to participate in practices and training camp schedule, that scrimmage we had, but nothing’s quite like being out on the field with live bullets. Even though it was just preseason, just 12 plays, it was a significant step for me. It was a step; it certainly wasn’t an end-all part of the process for me, but to get out there and to take a snap, considering where I was at this point last year and the summer before, I sort of did take time to reflect.”
On a long throw across the field to Eric Decker on a play that broke down:
“Those were good plays. You always like to have … different scenarios happen and on that first play, it’s a play we run quite often out here in training camp, where usually the first or second read pops open. … Willis had to help in protection and couldn’t get out and they dropped real deep on [Brandon] Stokley. So I was kind of glad that I was able to kind of find my fifth read, actually, and the protection on that particular play was outstanding. … It was a long throw. … I thought that was a good play and something I can build on.”
Are you pleased so far with the timing with your receivers?:
“I think we’ve done some good things in training camp. I think we have made some strides. You still have some work to do. There’s still some situations that are going to come up in games, different coverages. … It may require a little subtle adjustment by Decker, by Thomas, and you kind of have to have those things happen. I think those will continue to happen throughout the season, but all I can say is that what I’m positive of is how hard the guys have worked and how everybody wants very badly to get on the same page. As long as you have that, and you’re pushing in that direction, that’s really all you can ask for at that point.”
Your first touchdown pass in your career came against Seattle in a preseason game. What do you remember about it?:
“It was a funny series because the first play we ran the ball. I remember the coach had told me … if the headphones ever go out, just be prepared to have your own play. The headphones go out on the second play of the game. I kind of stayed poised, didn’t call a timeout, called a little draw play and got four yards. Anyway, it was like a third-and-five or six and Seattle, being a smart defense, naturally you’re going to blitz a rookie quarterback, and they brought everybody. We called a little three-step drop, safe pass, no reads or anything. It was called Scat Right 92 and I was throwing to Marvin [Harrison] breaking the huddle. … They blitzed everybody and he just hit that seam and all I remember is running down that field and thinking, ‘This NFL is easy.'”
Listen to Peyton Manning on KOA in Denver here (Interview begins at 7:15)