Three thoughts as training camps open around the NFL
One thing I'm certain of: The Peyton Manning show is about to begin. Four months after he rocked the NFL by signing with the Broncos, the legendary quarterback is now beginning his first NFL training camp without a horseshoe on his helmet.
Manning will be the story of the NFL this summer. At the age of 36, there will be daily updates as he tries to come back from a surgically repaired neck that cost him the entire 2011 season. Manning has looked good in offseason workouts and he remains on pace to be ready for the season. Still, his every training camp pass will be dissected by media and fans. If Manning throws a dart, you’ll hear about it. If Manning throws an interception, you’ll be alerted. If Manning suffers a setback, sirens will blare. The summer of Manning is about to commence.
One thing that might happen: There could be some clarity at weakside linebacker as the Broncos try to adjust to playing without starter D.J. Williams. He is facing a six-game NFL suspension for using a banned substance.
The Broncos are currently considering Wesley Woodyard, Nate Irving and rookie Danny Trevathan for Williams’ spot. It will be an open competition and the final decision likely will not be made until late in the preseason. But we might see someone emerge in camp. Right now, it is Woodyard’s job to lose, I believe. Yet, Irving and Trevathan will get a look. Trevathan, a sixth-round pick, had a steep hill to climb to win the temporary starting job, but he opened eyes in OTAs.
One thing we won't see: The option. The high school offensive days are over in Denver. I’m sure no one is more thrilled than Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. McCoy did one of the most impressive jobs in the NFL last season when he scrapped a traditional NFL offense during the season and tailored an offense to best utilize former quarterback Tim Tebow. But working with Manning is a much better, er, option for any offensive coordinator.
Denver leader John Elway, a legendary quarterback himself, clearly hated that approach and replaced Tebow with Manning as soon as he could. Now, the rest of the offense can rest easy and go back to a traditional passing game with perhaps the best passer in NFL history. This will be a relief to the offensive line and receivers as the Manning era buries memories of 3 yards and a cloud of Tebow in Denver.