All signs pointed to Denver Broncos quarterback being just fine coming back from the injury that cost him all of last season, but we had to wait until he played in a regular-season game before we knew for sure. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey didn’t have to. He knew Manning “still had it” after seeing him in training camp.
The Broncos were impressive in beating Pittsburgh in Week 1 and now Bailey will be tested by Julio Jones and Roddy White tonight when Denver takes on Atlanta on Monday Night Football.
Champ Bailey joined 790 The Zone in Atlanta with The Red Zone to discuss how he continues to play at such a high level, playing with Peyton Manning, the buzz in Denver, facing Roddy White and Julio Jones, Tracy Porter’s addition to the defense and Broncos fans.
How do you keep your legs so fresh?:
“I’ve been blessed. I really don’t have a secret formula to how I do it. I love what I do and as long as these legs hold up, I’ll be out there.”
What have you seen from Peyton Manning since he joined the team?:
“A lot of people didn’t know what to expect, but I’ve seen him since the beginning of OTAs and through training camp. I’m not surprised at all. I knew he still had it. It’s just getting out there and getting the flow of things. I knew once he had the chance to make halftime adjustments, the second half would be hell for Pittsburgh.”
What’s the buzz like in Denver with having him there and not Tim Tebow?:
“I love Tebow, but when you talk about going to the next level, and you’ve got a chance to get a proven guy like Peyton, why not jump on that opportunity? Peyton’s done it for years and we know what to expect from him and we know what we’re going to get. And we’ve got one of the best leaders and hardest working guys in football on our team, leading us to where we want to go.”
What do you have planned to try and slow down Julio Jones and Roddy White?:
“I tell you what, we better bring our A game for them. It was hard enough with just Roddy, now you’ve got Julio. He looks like a young T.O. out there. It’s crazy the talent level that they have on offense. … We’ve got our hands full. Michael Turner’s going to be a beast. Matt Ryan, it seems like he’s getting better every year. It’s going to be a big test for us, but we’re up for the challenge.”
How has the addition of Tracy Porter helped your game?:
“We kind of complement each other well, because he is a guy that will take some chances. I think it benefits him a lot because he prepares as well as any young corner I’ve seen. I’ve never seen a young corner watch as much film or be as detailed as he is. The guy, he’s going to be a great corner. I really don’t understand why we don’t have him under contract for more than one year, but at some point I think they’re going to realize this guy’s a keeper. You don’t find many like him.”
On the fans in Denver:
“Since I’ve been in the league, I’ve never been in an atmosphere like Denver, where you cover a big region. You have fans everywhere in this region. We’re the only team in this region, so we have fans in Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, everywhere. Just to have that support and our games are sold out every home game. It’s amazing.”
Did you ever think you could play at this level for 14 years?:
“No, absolutely not. I thought, if I can get to my next contract, that’ll be good. Now I”m in my third one. I’ve just been blessed, man. I can’t say anything else. There’s no secret to it.”