Despite sacks Broncos still want Peyton Manning taking snaps directly under center

In two of the 49ers' sacks on Peyton Manning, NaVorro Bowman got through the Denver offensive line untouched. Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Despite the fact Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was sacked three times in Saturday's preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers -- and with all three coming with Manning taking the snap under center -- coach Gary Kubiak said they will still line up that way plenty in the season.

In short Kubiak believes the problems that resulted in rushers coming clean three times -- two times by 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman in a four-play span -- can be fixed. Kubiak also believes a team that lines up the quarterback in the shotgun can tip its intentions in the run game more often.

On Bowman's two sacks, running back Ronnie Hillman couldn't finish the block on the first and Anderson couldn't get to him on the second as the 49ers linebacker cleared the offensive line untouched.

"Obviously, I think I've said this to you guys before, when you're back there all the time, there are some tendencies from a run game standpoint," Kubiak said following Saturday's game. "What you do and obviously when you're under center, some of those tendencies go away. Like I said, we're going to continue to do both. I think we're going to run the ball well. I don't have anything in front of me, but I think we continue to run the ball pretty effectively. We have to make some big plays off of that. If you're going to do that, you're usually going to do that under center, selling the run and doing those type of things."

It is a departure given the Broncos lined up in the shotgun on 75.3 percent of their snaps last season, a total that included five games when they ran plays out of the shotgun on at least 65 plays. They ran the ball on just 25.4 percent of those shotgun snaps. In his two preseason games, Manning has been in the shotgun on 24 of his 63 snaps (penalty snaps not included) -- or 38.1 percent.

"I've confidence in the people doing it and the guys coaching it," Kubiak said. "That's on us as coaches, start with me to make sure we're out of that situation or give us a chance to get out of that situation. I look at myself with things like that … I feel confident from coaching standpoint we can go fix those things."

For starters the Broncos signed Evan Mathis, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, last week to play left guard and are hopeful his addition settles things down in a front where two starters -- rookie left tackle Ty Sambrailo and center Matt Paradis -- have not played in an NFL regular-season game.

Mathis was held out of Saturday's game given he had just signed his deal Wednesday morning, but is expected to work with the starters this week and be in the lineup for the regular-season opener.

Following Saturday's game, Kubiak said Mathis is "ready to go."

For his part, Manning said while he has lined up in the shotgun far more in recent years, he believes he can be productive in the offense under center as well.

"I'm pretty comfortable doing that, I've been doing that for a long time," Manning said. " … I feel pretty comfortable doing that."