ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With Peyton Manning leading the league in interceptions -- 10 -- and the Denver Broncos offense still trying to find consistency, on Monday coach Gary Kubiak swiftly tossed aside the notion he has tried to jam Manning into an offense that doesn't fit.
"First off, I'm going to do what I think … is best for the quarterback," Kubiak said. "I would never do anything that I don't think is best for the quarterback. So, that's my plan every day I go to work."
And while Manning continues to be the most critiqued player on perhaps the league's most critiqued undefeated team -- the Broncos are 6-0, already at least four games up in the win column on every other team in the AFC West -- Kubiak continued to say, yes, Manning has to cut down on the interceptions. Kubiak added he needs to make sure he is putting Manning in the best situations to succeed.
The Broncos have a bye this week -- their next game is Nov. 1 against the 6-0 Green Bay Packers -- and Kubiak said one of the items on the team's to-do list is to examine the Broncos' turnovers, including Manning's interceptions, and trace the roots of the decisions.
"We're certainly not playing as well as we would like ... we're doing some things right at critical times," Manning said after Sunday's win over the Browns. He also admitted to "pressing" at times, including his third interception of the game, which came in overtime when Manning said he tried to force a pass to Demaryius Thomas when he should have simply thrown the ball away and let the Broncos punt.
"He's got some decisions I know he'd like to have back," Kubiak said Monday. "When you're the quarterback, you're the guy pulling the trigger all the time. We know we have to improve in the turnover department. As a coach, you always look at it and say, 'OK, were we doing something on that route, maybe, that I shouldn't be asking him to do?' or those type [of things]. That's how you look at things. There is no skating around the fact that we're turning the ball over too much. He and I have got to get that improved, and we will. That's important for our team.”
Kubiak has often spoken of the need to "mesh" what he wants in the playbook to what Manning is "comfortable in doing." The Broncos have used Manning on some rollouts and have taken to lining Manning up in the pistol to bring him away from center and still be able to line the running back up directly behind Manning as Kubiak wants to do as well.
But Manning has looked plenty unsettled behind an offensive line that has been juggled to account for some injuries as well as youth. Manning has completed just 35 percent of his passes that have travelled at least 15 yards in the air and the Broncos have seen defenses crowding the short and intermediate areas because Denver has not made them pay with the long ball.
Even with Manning's 75-yard catch-and-run scoring play to Emmanuel Sanders Sunday against the Browns, the Broncos have had just 13 pass plays of more than 20 yards in six games and the touchdown to Sanders is the only one over 45 yards.
For the first time this season, the Broncos did finish with a 100-yard rusher (Ronnie Hillman) and two 100-yard receivers (Sanders and Demaryius Thomas) against the Browns.
"We improved, we did a lot of good things (Sunday)," Kubiak said. "We moved the ball. We need to continue to make that improvement. We had two 100-yard receivers. We had a 100-yard rusher. Those are good things. Those are positive things. We need to protect the ball better. Between he and I, we've got to do a better job of that."
Sunday, Manning said he was "committed to the cause" of working with Kubiak to find more rhythm on offense. And as far as getting Manning not to press into the meat of the schedule that awaits the Broncos after the bye, Kubiak said:
"I think that's his nature," Kubiak said. "He tries to make every play because he's so smart and has done it for so many years. Sometimes you call a route and they've got the perfect coverage for it. Those are things you've got to work through. It's also me having him in comfortable routes that he has repped and done from a continuous standpoint. Like I continue to say, that's how I look at myself to make sure I'm putting him in as many comfortable situations as I can."