The Broncos recently finished their OTAs (organized team activities) and now they are off until training camp begins in late July.
Leading up to training camp, we are bringing you a series of conversations 850 KOA has had with various Broncos personnel.
This time, part two with Broncos’ Executive Vice President John Elway (JE).
850 KOA: What do you think this offense will look like this season? Will it look like what Broncos fans saw when they watched the Colts? Will it be a combination of different personnel groups?
JE: I think there’s a misconception out there a little about Peyton in that they (the Colts) didn’t run the football in Indianapolis. When they were successful in Indianapolis, they ran the football. What we’re looking for is balance. When we won the championships back in the 90’s, we had balance. Willis McGahee had a great year last year. (Mario) Fannin, the young kid we signed as a free agent last year out of Auburn, is coming back off a knee injury in camp. (He) looks good. And then (Ronnie) Hillman, who we drafted in the third round, is a guy that has big-play ability. I think you’re still going to see good balance. I think the misconception is that Peyton throws the ball all the time but when they were winning and doing well, they were top 12 in the league in rushing.
850 KOA: But what kind of personnel will the Broncos use?
JE: I think we’re going to have it all. The bottom line is in short yardage, especially short yardage goal line, you need a fullback to lead it up in there. You don’t want to put a linebacker or another guard back there. That’s why we made the trade for (Chris) Gronkowski. The more diverse we are and the more personnel packages we have offensively, the better off we’re going to be because they (defenses) have to prepare for that many different things. We’re going to go more ‘21,’ which is two backs, than Peyton has done in the past but it gives us the ability to be better in short yardage and goal line situations.
850 KOA: You had the chance to talk with Peyton during OTA practices. What do you talk about when you’re together and is it different than talking with other quarterbacks?
JE: With Peyton’s background and where he’s coming from and what he’s done in the NFL already, it’s a treat to be able to watch him practice day in and day out. You realize once you’re around him why he’s been as successful as he is. He’s a guy that’s a grinder on the small things, which really matter. He’s also a guy that gets along with his teammates and gains that respect. He has done a tremendous job and walking in, not saying, ‘I’m Peyton Manning,’ but (instead taking the approach of) I’m going to blend in and we’re all going to get to know each other before I put my foot down and say, ‘Ok, we’ve got to do it.’ You saw little signs of that at times during OTAs. He’s been very aware of the people and the need to get to know his teammates. (When he and I talk), I’m interested to see what he’s looking at and the little things that he sees because of what he’s done and been successful with, plus the background I had with Mike (Shanahan) and what we did when we had success. To be able to talk about little things like that, talk about football, but also talk big picture things—quarterbacking and how to handle different situations—are always great conversations.
850 KOA: Wide receiver Brandon Stokley told us that Manning wants precision from his receivers. He wants them to be where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there. Between Ed McCaffrey, Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe, who did you bark at the most?
JE: Sharpe without a doubt. You could bark at Sharpe because Sharpe (thought he) was always open. (I’d say to him), ‘You’re making me look bad if you raise your hands and you’re open and I’m looking at another side so don’t do that to me.’ Yeah, I’d bark at Sharpe but we all got along so well and it was always a great relationship. You look at the guys we have in Demaryius (Thomas) and Eric (Decker), two young guys, very talented guys, who are going to learn a tremendous amount. Demaryius had a good year the last half of last year but is still so young and so talented. Peyton is going to be huge for him in teaching him where he’s supposed to be as a wideout and the trust it takes for a quarterback to have that the receiver is going to be where he’s supposed to be. Those things are not only what Peyton does between the lines on game day but also in practice.
We’ll have another Q&A next week.
Feel free to post your thought about where the Broncos stand as we the countdown to training camp continues.
Thanks for reading.