Peyton Manning is throwing to Wes Welker this week for the first time as teammates, and the quarterback told ESPN Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen on Wednesday that he already is making a connection with the star receiver.
Peyton and Eli Manning are working out this week at Duke University with Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe, who was Peyton's offensive coordinator at Tennessee and Eli's coach at Ole Miss. Cutcliffe also worked with Peyton when he was rehabbing last year after his release by the Indianapolis Colts before he signed with the Denver Broncos.
Each quarterback brought three receivers: Peyton Manning has Broncos teammates Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Welker; Eli brought Giants teammates Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Louis Murphy.
Peyton Manning has played with Welker in Pro Bowls, but this is the first time he's thrown to the receiver since he left the New England Patriots to sign with Denver this offseason.
"There's certain guys you just feel like you have timing with right away," Manning said. "He's a guy that has a great feel for how to get open, and understands route concepts and, of course, he played in such a sophisticated offense there in New England, so he's a smart player. You can see why he's been such a productive player. He's intense. He loves to work."
Manning said the work ethic of Welker, Thomas and Decker is an inspiration for him.
"It's kind of inspiring for an old player like me to be around guys that love to work. It makes me proud to play quarterback," he said.
The Mannings are using the time with Cutcliffe to work on fundamentals and mechanics.
"I told Cutcliffe to coach us like we were both freshman at Tennessee or Ole Miss. It's been great work, great timing with the receivers this early in the offseason," Peyton Manning said.
Cruz is a restricted free agent and Eli Manning said he hopes his favorite target can agree to a contract soon with the Giants.
"I know he wants everything to get finished and be with the Giants and get back to work. It's great to get him for a few days," Manning said of working with Cruz this week.
Voluntary workouts are scheduled to begin for both the Broncos and Giants next week.