ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was one of eight players the team held out of Monday’s practice to rest. Manning has been held out of practices previously in his time with the Broncos as a result of injury, most notably ankle injuries in 2013, but Monday was the first time new head coach Gary Kubiak has instituted the team’s plan to give the 39-year-old quarterback a break once in a while.
“I know it’s hard on him, we all know that," Kubiak said. “But I think he understands what we want to do."
Cornerback Aqib Talib, cornerback Chris Harris Jr., safety T.J. Ward, linebacker Von Miller, guard Louis Vasquez, tight end Owen Daniels and linebacker DeMarcus Ware were the other veteran players who were held out of Monday's workout.
Kubiak has spent much of the offseason trying to sell Manning on the idea of taking an occasional practice off. Those who know Manning say it will be difficult at times for the future Hall of Famer to stand and watch, and that could require some negotiation at times for Kubiak.
Manning was active in practice, talking to several coaches and players and going through the plays that were being run with the starters by backup quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Asked if Manning had been in his ear during practice, Kubiak said: “Yeah, he was. We were standing beside each other through one period, just talking through things. I just think it’s good, it’s good for him to watch what’s going on, to give his body a break. I just think it will be good for him in the long haul."
Kubiak said he will continue to try to time Manning’s rest days to go with off days for all the players to maximize both Manning’s ability to work in practice and get the rest Kubiak wants him to. Broncos players will have their first off day of training camp on Wednesday.
Monday was the team’s first practice in full gear.
“To be honest, after we get about two weeks into this thing, it kind of plays out where they get that time off anyway," Kubiak said. “I think it’s just right now when they’re getting a lot of reps early in camp ... I think if I play it right I’ll really be able to keep him fresh with the off day and the day I’m giving him."
Overall, following Monday's practice Kubiak took particular notice of the work rookie linebacker Shane Ray did with the starters with both Miller and Ware getting the day off. “He had a good day, started a little slow but got it going," Kubiak said.
Kubiak also said rookie guard Max Garcia, who is competing for the left guard spot but can also play center, continues to play with an edge and quality awareness.
“Max showed up to me today. ... Max was a presence on the field today," Kubiak said. “... This isn’t too big for him."