Arizona's Palmer is no Peyton Mannnig

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mike Mitchell faces a familiar face in Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer on Sunday, but on Monday the Carolina Panthers safety wanted to talk about Peyton Manning.

Why not? Everybody else in the league is talking about Manning and his record-setting touchdown pace.

"It's stupid,'' Mitchell said of Manning's 16 touchdowns, two better than the league record after four games. "He's the man.''

Mitchell, 26, has been playing football since the age of six. He says Manning is without question the best quarterback "I've ever played against.''

He faced Manning twice last season with Oakland. Neither was pretty as the future Hall of Famer completed 30 of 38 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-6 victory and 26 of 36 attempts for 310 yards and a touchdown in the second.

Mitchell's best advice for future Denver opponents is to at least try to stay a step ahead.

"The way we were figuring it out, say you're in Cover 3 and you put your foot up and then when you're in Cover 2 you stand like this,'' Mitchell said. "He knows that. So he'll be able to check out of it.

"Now you've got to play the game within the game. OK, he knows what I do in Cover 2. I'm going to show him Cover 2 and then play Cover 3. You have to mix it up with him because he's so smart.''

If you don't, the result will be what it was on Sunday when Manning threw for 327 yards and four touchdowns in a 52-20 victory over Philadelphia.

"That's what makes it so hard to play against him,'' Mitchell said. "You're basically going up against an offensive coordinator that is throwing the football.''

Mitchell also knows a thing or two about Palmer, his teammate with the Raiders the past two seasons. Palmer is the engineer of an offense that head coach Bruce Arians called "putrid'' after a 13-10 victory over Tampa Bay.

In four games, he has four touchdown passes and six interceptions.

In other words, nowhere close to Manning.

"He's a real big timing quarterback,'' Mitchell said. "So if you can knock some timing off I believe he'll struggle a little bit.''

Struggle isn't even in Mitchell's vocabulary when it comes to Manning.

"He really is the man,'' he said.