Peyton Manning knows how to turn receivers into stars

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning calls a play during the first quarter of an NFL preseason game Sunday.
(Jack Dempsey / Associated Press)

Peyton Manning is known for being one the NFL’s foremost technicians, a player who is constantly refining and tinkering with his game. As a result, the new Denver Broncos quarterback is the league’s only four-time most valuable player.

In a conference call with the media Wednesday, NBC’s Tony Dungy, formerly coach of the Manning-led Colts, gave an interesting example of Peyton’s dedication to improving and helping the players around him improve.

“We drafted Anthony Gonzalez in Indianapolis, and Peyton Manning went twice a week to Columbus and threw with him for an hour-and-a-half while he was still in school,” Dungy said of the Ohio State receiver selected with the 32nd pick of the 2007 draft. “They had a chemistry going. They probably threw 2,000 balls before Gonzalez ever got to our training camp.”

Denver doesn’t have household names in receivers DeMaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, but those players are primed to move into the national consciousness with Manning at the helm. That’s what happened with players such as Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon in Indianapolis.


Broncos All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey, for one, sees an especially bright future for Decker this season.

“He’s grown so much this summer,” Bailey recently told USA Today of Decker. “Eric’s hit that level where he can take off at any moment because he works hard. He wants it. He just has to stay healthy.

“He wants to be the best.”

Considering Manning’s ability to put his receivers in the best position to succeed, Decker just might get that chance.



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