Manning to Denver: What they're saying

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
6:30
PM ET
Here are some reactions from ESPN’s network of analysts on the pending singing of Peyton Manning in Denver:

On Manning’s relationship with John Elway being a key part of the decision…

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
Kevin Mazur/Getty ImagesPeyton Manning's arrival immediately changes the expectations in Denver.
“What started out as a friendship between the two men -- them having played golf together before in the past -- grew over the course of the last 10 or so days, and I think without John Elway in the front office, the Broncos probably would not have been able to bring home Peyton Manning. That was probably the key element here.”

- NFL Insider Adam Schefter

“Everyone just got better, particularly on the offensive side. If you’re Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, wide receivers, you are just thrilled, because the ball is going to come out with perfect timing in every single play. If you’re Knowshon Moreno or Willis McGahee or someone they draft, you know you’re always going to run into good looks, because if you get eight in the box, Peyton is going to get out [of] the play and throw the ball down the field. … Besides the skills set, the intelligence set, all players around him know they got a better quarterback.”

-- NFL studio analyst Ron Jaworski

On why Manning might have chosen Denver…

“Knowing Peyton Manning, he wants to be part of the process. It’s very important to him what the coaching staff is like, how flexible they are, how engaged they are in doing it maybe a different way, not just the way they’ve done it before. … Peyton is just smarter when it comes to football than most people in the NFL. His functional football intelligence is greater than 98 percent of the league. So, he sees things a little bit differently. He wants to go somewhere where he knows he can put his fingerprint on it, that the organization will support him, and I think Denver was probably the best fit from day one. … Peyton Manning makes everybody around him better. Not just players. He makes coaches better. He makes front-office people better. He puts everybody at a heightened awareness, and they do their jobs more efficiently and more diligently when he’s in the building.”

-- NFL studio analyst Trent Dilfer

“We can all speculate on why he made the decision. I think there’s no doubt that what he has in mind is to end his career by winning the Super Bowl. John [Elway] was able, along with [Broncos owner] Pat Bowlen, to sell that to Peyton Manning.”

-- NFL analyst and former Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson

On what the addition of Manning means to the Broncos and the NFL overall…

“He can really make a big huge difference for this team. It’s not just the one incremental step to the Super Bowl. If he can take this team to the Super Bowl, it really says ‘I did it.’ … There’s a lot of upside there for Peyton, and a nice comfortable fit. … This is a team -- young coaches that obviously can make adjustments. I think Peyton will be very careful. I don’t think he’s going to come in and break a lot of glass, but he will be collaborative and make sure he does his system.

“It’s going to force the whole country to kind of look west, and that will be good for everybody in the AFC West, but it will be a balance of power. Peyton Manning doesn’t have five or six, seven years to do this. He needs to do it now. The immediate result of him coming to Denver is Denver now needs to go win a Super Bowl -- quickly. That’ll be the story of the year. It will be interesting to see how quickly they do manage to get into the playoffs. They got into the playoffs with Tim Tebow. Now can they extend that with Peyton Manning?”

-- NFL analyst Steve Young

On how the Broncos will measure success with Peyton Manning …

“In the next two or three years, if they don’t win the division and win a playoff game, then it didn’t work. … The pieces are in place to be successful going forward throwing the football. Those pieces were not in place with Tebow.”

– "Monday Night Football" play-by-play voice Mike Tirico on ESPN Radio’s "Scott Van Pelt Show"

On what’s next for Tim Tebow with the Broncos’ addition of Manning …

“They’re going to try to do anything they can do to trade him. Ultimately, from a football perspective, if you talk to football people within this league, I don’t think any football people really want him on their football team … I don’t think they want to deal with the circus that is Tim Tebow, and also the fact that he doesn’t have the quarterbacking skills necessary to play in this league … I think the guy’s a good football player. I don’t think there’s any question about that. I don’t think he’s a good quarterback. I don’t think he has the skill set that you have to have to play quarterback in this league. And there’s a lot of teams, I mean, let’s face it -- I live in Denver -- I saw that circus on a week-to-week basis in person. And there’s not too many teams I think that really want to deal with that in their city.”

-- NFL analyst Mark Schlereth, a two-time Broncos Super Bowl champion who still lives in the Denver area

“The more I studied him in an NFL setting, the more disturbed I was that he has no clue what he’s looking at. His IQ as a football player is not very good. That is why they have to come down and make it some [kind] of a college-form system that he’s comfortable with in Florida. He can’t execute, from a cerebral aspect, a pro-style system.”

-- NFL analyst Merril Hoge

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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