ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On the doorstep of his first game action in the Denver Broncos new offense, quarterback Peyton Manning said Thursday he wants to play "as long as possible" in Saturday night's game against the Houston Texans in NRG Stadium.
Manning, who Broncos coach Gary Kubiak has held out of some training camp practices, including Thursday's, did not play in the team's preseason opener in Seattle Friday night. Last season Manning played 22 snaps in the preseason opener, 21 snaps in the second preseason game, and finished out his work with 43 snaps in the team's third preseason game. He did not play in the preseason finale.
This time around he could play as much as a half against the Texans and as little as a quarter. Kubiak has said it will "just depend on the way the game is going."
Kubiak added Manning would play "a lot more next week" in the third preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.
"Think a lot of guys are looking forward to getting out there," Manning said following Thursday's practice. " ... Look, obviously you always want to be out there as long as you possibly can and whenever they take you out that's what they do ... would be nice to finish some drives with some touchdowns."
Manning will have most of the starting offense around him with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Owen Daniels -- both were also held out of preseason opener -- expected to play against the Texans. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will not play in the game as he recovers from a hamstring injury and Cody Latimer is expected to start in Sanders' place.
While the Broncos won't reveal much of what is in the new playbook, it will be Manning's first chance to run the offense in game situations. The Broncos will also have an eye on how the offensive line does in front of Manning with three of the starting five having not played in an NFL regular-season game.
"Just run the group, get his snaps under his belt," Kubiak said. " ... He's a got a young group to work with so there's a process here and he'll play a lot more next week. Just get out there and get back to work. We know he will do his part, so just get the work in."