The main question when Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos and resumed football in 2012 was whether he’d ever be back to his old self. While that question may not be completely answered anytime soon, the evidence is strong that Manning is headed in that direction.
Wide receiver Eric Decker practiced with Manning earlier this offseason and is now catching passes from him at organized team activities, and he says he can already see a difference.
“We worked out at Duke in March or April, and I definitely felt like he had more zip on the ball,” Decker said, according to denverbroncos.com. “I think he’s come back stronger.”
Manning spent much of last year adjusting. Not only did he have to deal with lingering health concerns, but it was also his first season not playing for the Indianapolis Colts, which meant a new system, new coaches and a new set of receivers. Manning and the Broncos adjusted to the point that they posted a 13-3 record and advanced to the playoffs, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens.
This time around, Manning will be able to build on last season’s progress.
“I think [the ball] coming to you quicker can be [the] reads and comfort level with the receivers, too,” Decker said. “But I think some of those throws that he fits in the holes, you feel a little more zip on it and he is getting it to you quicker.”
Manning started all 16 games last season, throwing for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns with a 68.6 completion percentage (all second-highest single-season marks for him).
Zip or not, that’s a pretty decent year. There could be more coming.