Fresh off a record-breaking season on the ground in 2011, running back Willis McGahee is ready to hit the ground running with the team’s new-look offense in 2012.
The biggest change to that unit is the newly-signed four-time NFL MVP quarterback that will be under center when Denver opens its season against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Sept. 9.
“Who wouldn’t be happy to play with Peyton Manning?” McGahee said. “He’s arguably the best quarterback there is. I was ecstatic.”
McGahee said he’s excited to join forces with the player that fellow former Raven Justin Bannan called “The Baltimore Killer” for his success against the Ravens.
“It feels great, because we’re actually playing Baltimore, so I guess he can be The Baltimore Killer all he wants,” McGahee said. “I’m happy. I can’t complain. It’s great to have Peyton on our team.”
While the coaches are now allowed on the field in conjunction with the beginning of Phase Two of the offseason program this week, McGahee credited Manning with helping the team get a leg up during Phase One of the program.
“He brings a different kind of leadership to the team and not only on the football field, but off the field in the weight room,” McGahee said. “He’s that guy that is making sure everybody is doing everything right. That’s what some of us need.”
Below are some other quick hits from McGahee’s press conference:
On retired safety Brian Dawkins
“It’s different. B-Dawk is my guy. That’s who I sat next to on the plane, that’s who I sat next to on game day. It’s going to be different. I think Dawkins is one of those guys who is very passionate about what he does. It doesn’t even matter what he’s doing – on the field or off the field, he’s going to be passionate and he’s going to tell you what he feels. That’s what I like about him – he’s not going to hold his tongue or anything.”
On whether he’s watched any tape of the Colts’ running game
“I just roll with the flow. I’ve been watching the film, but at the end of the day, who says it is going to go like that when the season starts?”
On playing the safety position during the Pro Bowl
“That was a dream I always wanted to do. Coaches fulfilled it.”
On rookie RB Ronnie Hillman being born in 1991
“No. (WR Brandon) Stokley is older than me, so I’m not worried about it [laughing]. I’m only 30 now, come on. I came out when I was 20. He’ll be alright.”
On WR Eric Decker’s chemistry with QB Peyton Manning
“I can see the bond they’re getting because they’re always laughing and joking around and I get kind of jealous sometimes in the weight room (laughs), but they’re a [quarterback] and receiver so their chemistry has to be a little better.”