AFC West: 2012 Manning camp debut

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Derek Wolfe thought something was strange when he heard a roar as he emerged from the locker room at the Denver Broncos’ practice field.

Is this really how Denver fans treat the arrival of second-round draft picks at the start of training camp?

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
AP Photo/Jack DempseyBroncos fans were certainly eager to see new QB Peyton Manning make his training camp debut.
“[The fans] made a pretty big fuss,” Wolfe said. “I was like, ‘Why are they yelling so crazy for me?’ Then I looked behind me and it was [Peyton] Manning standing there.”

Manning’s first camp day as a Denver Bronco was met with unprecedented fan excitement. Some fans were in line to attend the free practice at 4:30 a.m. Thursday and the team announced a record crowd of 4,372 for a camp practice. The previous record was 3,103. A crowd of at least 75 reporters huddled around Manning after his first camp practice.

It’s real, Manning is a Denver Bronco. And he looked fantastic.

“He’s as accurate as he’s been in the past and I don’t expect anything less from him,” Denver cornerback Champ Bailey said.

Slowly, the focus is moving away from whether Manning can come back from a neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season. He has made major strides throughout the offseason. Sunday, there were no signs of a quarterback struggling with his health.

ESPN medical analyst Stephania Bell told me she was impressed by the tempo Manning, 36, led Thursday. It is another sign that Manning is all-in and the team is not holding him back.

“The arm strength was there, his passes were on time,” said ESPN analyst Tom Jackson, who was part of the network’s coverage team. “He was Peyton Manning.”

For Manning, Thursday’s practice was another important step on his way back to the field. Manning remains methodical in his progression, but the idea of finally getting back in action for the first time since January 2011 spurs him.

“I have missed it, and I’ve never taken it for granted to be out there playing,” Manning said. “I had been playing for 13 years straight and never missed a game since I’ve been playing quarterback in the seventh grade. That’s a lot of consecutive games, a lot of Fridays or Saturdays or Sundays to be playing a game, so I’m glad to be back in more of a normal routine, in a practice routine.”

And so are the legions of his new fans in Colorado.

Video: On Peyton Manning's injury

July, 26, 2012
7/26/12
6:00
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Stephania Bell examines the spine injury that kept Peyton Manning out last season.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – It appears Denver Broncos fans are over the loss of Tim Tebow.

Manning-mania is bubbling over in the Rockies.

The Denver Broncos opened training camp Thursday morning to a fan reception never seen before in these parts. An estimated 4,000-plus attended the opening day of practice to welcome Peyton Manning to Denver in his first public appearance in a Broncos helmet. The word is that late-arriving fans were having a difficult time getting into the practice.

The main parking lot adjacent to the practice field was full well before practice begin and people were forced to park a mile away from the facility.

The previous record for training camp at the team’s facility was just more than 3,000. Yes, even Tebow-mania couldn’t attract this type of crowd.

Manning received a huge reception when he hit the practice field, and his every completion spurred wild applause. Several fans were wearing Manning Denver jerseys; some were wearing Manning Indianapolis jerseys.

Meanwhile, in other Denver camp news, second-year safety Rahim Moore opened with the first-team defense. He will compete with fellow second-team safety Quinton Carter. Also, veteran defensive tackle Ty Warren was working with the first-team defense. Prior to Warren recommitting to the team in June, Sealver Siliga worked with the first team.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - The cornerback who delivered Peyton Manning his greatest blow now enjoys picking the brain of the maestro quarterback.

Manning
Porter
As Tracy Porter reported for his first training camp with the Denver Broncos, the free-agent pickup from New Orleans talked about the knowledge he gained from working across from Manning during the offseason -- adding that he looks forward to more once training camp starts Thursday.

Porter said it is his job to ask Manning about certain things he sees -- to help his own game.

“If he’s in practice every day, picking the defense apart, you’ll be less of a professional if you don’t go to him and ask him, ‘What are you seeing?’ What’s he reading defense-wise that gives him those holes in the defense to make those passes?” Porter said. “If he makes a play, or if he sees something that we’re out of position in on defense, we have to be professionals and go to him and ask him, what did he see on this? What was he thinking on this? So we’ll know what opposing quarterbacks are thinking. Vice versa, if we’re making a play on the ball, he’s going to ask us the same thing. That’s how we all get better.”

There was a time when Manning and Porter were not on the same page. Porter famously intercepted a Manning pass and brought it back for a touchdown to help seal the Saints’ Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts in 2010.

While Manning and Porter are communicating well, the Super Bowl topic has yet to be broached.

“No, honestly it hasn’t,” said Porter when asked if he and Manning have discussed his pick. “I just want to maybe wait for the perfect time to slide that in.”

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