Manning demands much of his teammates -- perhaps more than most of the young Broncos' offensive players realize is possible in the NFL. But perhaps the best attribute they possess as a group is youth and a malleability to something new; five of the nine returning starters were rookies or second-year players in 2011.
That could be crucial to absorbing a second emphasis change in as many years. In 2011, they led the league in rushing and finished 31st in passing. A season earlier, they were 26th in rushing and seventh in passing. It's likely that their passing ranking in 2012 will resemble or surpass 2010's, but they hope the offense remains balanced enough for the rushing total to be somewhere in between -- even though such balance eluded the Colts in 2010, when they ranked 29th in rushing.
But more profound than the change of influence is the change of style from the young-and-still impressionable Tim Tebow to Manning, whose impression will be left on others.
Tight end Jacob Tamme signed with the Broncos last week, and is the only ex-Colt currently on the roster. His advice to his new teammates was simple.
"Just be on your stuff," Tamme said.
"I wouldn't say anything different than what they already know," he continued. "It's fun because Peyton expects so much out of himself that everyone else wants to play at that level too."
At this point, there is only so much the Broncos can do. Because of offseason restrictions implemented under the new collective bargaining agreement, the team won't convene for organized offseason workouts until April 16 and its first organized team activity session will be a month later. There's nothing to stop Manning from organizing workouts on his own, which he already has done, but the communication with coaches about the nature and details of the offense were limited.
Tight end Joel Dreessen, who signed as a free agent from the Houston Texans, acknowledged that the coaches couldn't share much about the form the offense would take during his meeting with them prior to signing his deal.
"We were basically talking terminology in formations and the running game," said Dreessen. "With the new CBA rules, they (the Broncos coaches) weren't able to talk too much. Just generic terminology things."
Manning admitted to KKFN-FM 104.3 in Denver that he's been working nearly non-stop since signing with the Broncos.
"I've pretty much been sleeping over at the complex trying to study this playbook and get on the same page as these receivers," he said.
"Peyton's unique in that he'll kind of get it rolling on his own," Fox said. "I wish we (the coaches) could be more helpful, but that's not what we're allowed to do, so we won't do it. But he'll do as good a job as anybody directing traffic."
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