The Denver Broncos were one of the NFL’s best teams in 2013, handily defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Then this offseason, they added top free agents such as cornerback Aqib Talib, linebacker DeMarcus Ware and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. They appear poised for another Super Bowl run in 2014.
Don’t try telling any of this to Peyton Manning.
Speaking publicly for the first time since his team’s 43-8 blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, the ageless quarterback stressed the importance of putting last season in the past and starting with a clean slate.
“You have to move forward,” Manning said Wednesday, via Sports Illustrated. “You have to kind of re-establish your identity as the 2014 team. 2013 was a good season in a lot of ways, there’s no question. It did not end the way we wanted it to, but we have to build off that and try to take it a step further, try to finish.”
The Broncos will be without some familiar faces in 2014. They lost a handful of key players to free agency and retirement this offseason, including wide receiver Eric Decker, cornerback Champ Bailey and running back Knowshon Moreno.
With Manning under center, though, the team’s core remains the same, and the 38-year-old has taken it upon himself to steer Denver in the right direction.
“I’m trying to do my best to do my part, keep myself in good shape, get on the same page with my receivers,” Manning said. “I feel I have a responsibility to the team to be on top of my game.”