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Former Colt Stokley considers Indy's offense without Manning

7/15/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

It's a testament to the stability of the Colts' passing attack that there aren't many former Colts who were involved in the passing game to chase down for insight.

But thanks to the Broncos public relations department, I just had the chance to chat with receiver Brandon Stokley, who played for Indianapolis from 2003-2006.

Here are the highlights of our conversation about how Peyton Manning missing four-to-six weeks, including all or most of training camp, will affect the Colts' rhythm-passing offense.

On how much of the rapport Stokley had with Manning was built in training camps and preseason:

I think that's what it's all built on. Peyton, he's in there all the time and a lot of it is what they do in practice, that's why they are so good in the games. But I think with what they've done for the past seven, eight years with Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne], I don't think they'll miss too much once he comes back because they had so much practice before. It's not like they are bringing in two new receivers. Those guys have worked so much together, I don't think they'll miss a beat once he comes back.

On whether it will be different for a young guy like Anthony Gonzalez:

It'll be tougher on him than Marvin and Reggie but I think Peyton will find a way to get some work done some way or another, whether it be through conversations or watching film.

On what the offense will be like without Manning:

Until he comes back I think you're going to see a whole different offense, scaled back for sure. Peyton, he is that offense, there is no way around it. Peyton runs everything there, without Peyton it's just not even close to being the same offense. So it will be a lot different offense for sure, and it's preseason to, so that's always a little bit different. But if you don't have Peyton back there, you don't have the Colts offense from the past seven, eight years. Not even close.

On Jim Sorgi as a fill-in:

Sorgi is a very capable quarterback. But with what the Colts do, what the Colts ask of Peyton, you can't replace him back there. He is so involved in the offense, with all the checks that they do, he's irreplaceable. He will definitely be missed for the preseason. Without him back there, it's night and day offensively.

On Manning handling missing practices:

He's going to find a way to get work done. In rehab he's going to hit it as hard as anybody does. I have no doubt he'll be ready to go at the beginning of the season and he'll be the Peyton we've seen. I don't think it's going to affect him once the season starts. He's going to miss being out there, I know that.

You're talking about a guy who doesn't like taking a rep off of practice. He doesn't ever like taking a snap off, it doesn't matter who he's going against in practice or what's going on. So I know that's going to be tough on him. But once he comes back, I think the Colts are going to be like they have been the last four or five years.