Peyton Manning pushing a rapid change of pace
September 3, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—You could be a player standing 20 feet from where the football is snapped during a Broncos practice. Or you could be a late-arriving training camp fan sitting 500 feet away atop a grassy knoll with a row of hospitality tents blocking your view of the field. Either way, you could hear Peyton Manning standing behind his new offensive line, yelling pre-snap directions at his teammates and, more often than not, a two-word command:
The word is spoken to keep the offense at the rapid-fire pace that Manning prefers—and has perfected through his previous 14 seasons with the Colts. But it can also apply to other areas: the urgency with which the 36-year-old quarterback is operating after his brush with career mortality, the need to get up to full speed in the Broncos’ system, the desire of the defense to catch up to Manning and not let his precision send its confidence spiraling.
Manning didn’t hurry back from his four neck surgeries that resulted in a missed 2011 season and helped hasten his departure from Indianapolis. He was forced to take his time and gradually ease back into something approximating his old self. But the moment he began working against a defense in practice in May, the tempo began to accelerate—for Manning as well as the offensive and defensive units.