ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Less than a year ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano talked about the degree of difficulty involved in preparing for a Denver Broncos offense with Peyton Manning at quarterback.
Manning was in his 18th NFL season last November and had seen "about everything" defenses could do.
This week, Pagano finds himself at the other end of the spectrum in preparing to face a Broncos quarterback in Trevor Siemian who will make his second career start Sunday. As a result, the bulk of the Colts' information will come from Siemian's first career start -- the Broncos' 21-20 victory last Thursday over the Carolina Panthers.
The early returns were favorable in Pagano's mind.
"He's a perfect fit, that's what I saw for [Broncos coach Gary Kubiak's] system," Pagano said on a conference call Wednesday. "And it reminds me of all the times that, you know, I've had to face Coach Kubes and that offense ... it's a great system, it's extremely difficult to defend and [Siemian] did a nice job and it looks like they got a guy that's more than capable."
Siemian was 18-of-26 passing for 178 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions against the Panthers. Kubiak has since praised Siemian for is "calm" during the times the Broncos were "in position for points."
The Broncos advanced to the Panthers' 30-yard line or deeper on six possession, scoring three times to go with a Devontae Booker fumble and Siemian's two interceptions.
"I saw a young man who looked like he's been playing a long time, he's mature beyond his years," Pagano said. "I think he managed the game well, I think he made good decisions. There's a couple plays he'd like to have back, but he went through his reads, went through his progressions, he's got arm talent. Obviously he's bright. ... Again, he was very efficient, he was accurate and he's athletic enough to extend plays."
Siemian also ran five times for 20 yards.
Sunday's game will be the fifth time in four seasons the Broncos have faced the Colts, including Denver's loss in the AFC divisional game to close out the 2014 season.