The verdict was mixed following Peyton Manning's first performance as a member of the Broncos. He moved the offense, but he never really took a shot down the field. He made some nice throws, but his velocity clearly wasn't 100 percent.
And when Manning appeared on CBS Sports Network's ROME Tuesday, he admitted as much, saying that his arm isn't the same as it was when he was 22.
"It's hard to say. I've kind of gotten out of the percentage game," Manning said about where he is in his recovery. "I still have strength to recover, I still have work to do. For me, it's more about getting on the same page as receivers, when to throw certain passes. I probably have the most comfort with guys like [Brandon] Stokley and Jacob Tamme, guys I've played with. I am 36 years old, my arm's got a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns on it so it's probably not going to be same as it was when it was 22.
"But I still think it can complete some passes, move some chains and get our offense into the end zone this year."
Manning also pointed out the difficulties in moving to a new team. When Jim Rome asked him whether he ever expected to end his career somewhere other than with the Colts, Manning answered flatly, "I did not."
And that's also what makes Denver's 2012 season so tough -- Manning's in a brand-new environment, and he's trying to get an entirely different group of players on his level, all while getting back there himself.
"It's certainly a big transition, Jim," Manning said. "New players, new coaches, new offensive system, new language. Every day is a transition. There's a lot of change and it's difficult. In so many ways I feel like a rookie. Unfortunately, I'm probably not allowed to play like one."
Yeah, that would probably not go well. Manning dodged any questions about expectations from Rome (he's clearly in mid-season form when it comes to interviews) for the Broncos in 2012, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that Denver expects Manning to help them compete in the AFC West and, hopefully, for a Super Bowl.
And Manning has those same designs, even if he won't say it, or if his body tries to tell him otherwise right now.
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