Quarterback Peyton Manning worked out with his top three receivers, incumbents Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, and new free-agent prize Wes Welker at Duke last week before the start of the Denver Broncos' offseason workout program on Monday.
When he met with reporters in Denver on Monday, Manning explained it is as part of the process of getting more comfortable with Thomas and Decker and an exercise to build chemistry with Welker. Despite outstanding seasons from both Thomas and Decker, and in a year when Manning was the runner-up in MVP voting, Manning said the trio is no where close to being on the same page.
“Well, I don’t know if we are fully in synch. I wouldn’t say that. I think it’s a process for a quarterback and receiver to really get their timing down the way you want it to,” Manning said. “I think it might take three or four years to tell you the truth. It’s a process with every game situation and defender -- experience is your best teacher in all three of those phases and you just can’t have enough of them. Both of those guys have excellent work ethics, which I appreciate and I really felt like we got the most out of the time we got together last year as we could. But, we’re hoping that we can be better this year. I know those guys are excited to be better players this year than they were last year. I’ll be long out of eligibility by the time I think these guys really hit the peak of their careers, because they are both young players. I’m enjoying working with them and seeing them develop. Both of them got better last year and they can be even better this season, I believe.”
Manning is excited to get the process started with Welker, who has led the NFL in receptions over the past six seasons.
“Certainly he’s made a lot of plays in New England,” Manning said. “He’s been great in the red zone. You’ve seen him catch a lot of touchdowns from Tom [Brady]. The two of them have had great timing -- and that developed over time as well. I don’t think you can just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to have that right away.' It’s going to take time. Of course, you want to try to get on the same page as quickly as possible. It was important to start the workouts we got in last week and use these what we call Phase One and Phase Two and minicamps and OTAs and training camp -- every repetition with him will be important. I think he provides some unique things. He has unbelievable quickness, he’s excellent with the ball in his hands on those little screen passes. You’ve seen him get upfield quickly, and I’ve always thought he’s had a nose for the end zone.”