FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Broncos coach John Fox and quarterback Peyton Manning conducted conference calls with New England reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
Some of the notable soundbites:
Fox on Belichick's knack for youthful turnover. Problems drafting and developing talent? While that might be a hot topic locally at times, Fox has a different view from afar. Asked about some of the young players he sees on the Patriots' defense, Fox said: "This is a young man’s game and you’re always evolving. Bill [Belichick] has done probably the best job over a period of time of any coach in our business. Those guys are definitely some good plug-ins. Over the last few years, the guys who have been added into that, some of the veterans have moved on, that’s just all part of what we do. Bill is the master of that."
Manning on how much longer he'd like to play. Tom Brady has said he'd like to play well into his 40s. What about you, Peyton? "I don’t have that number in my mind quite like he does, but I still have a passion for it, I still enjoy the preparation, the work of it, the offseason, the Mondays, the Tuesdays, the game planning, I still enjoy that. So I think until I stop having a passion for that, until I can no longer produce or be effective, that’s when I’ll stop playing – when I can’t produce or I just don’t enjoy it."
Fox on adopting some of the Colts' offense with Manning. Bill Belichick said it looks like the Broncos are running the Colts' old offense. No disagreement from Fox. "At the end of the day, part of being a coach is putting players in the best position to have success. I don’t care if you’re talking offense, defense, the kicking game. It would have been close to moronic for us not to inject some of the things that he had 14 years of great play with into our offense. I think that’s all part of coaching."
Manning on Koppen stepping in for injured Walton at center. Former Patriots center Dan Koppen takes "center" stage against his former team. "Well certainly I’m sick about J.D. Walton’s injury. I know how hard he’s worked this offseason. He and I have spent a great deal of time together; that’s probably the first thing I did when I got here, was getting snaps with J.D. The quarterback-center exchange is vital and so I’m sick about his injury. When you lose a starting center who has started every game for the past three years, it’s very rare that you can replace him with a veteran like Dan who has played in many huge games and is experienced. So we feel fortunate to have him and it’s always nice having a veteran player who’s been around winning for his entire career on your team."
Fox on Manning and Tom Brady. Sometimes you just have to appreciate two of the best. "When you look at both of those quarterbacks, you’re looking at two of the best quarterbacks to play over the last decade. I don’t think, without a doubt, when their careers are over – hopefully not any time soon for either one of them – they’ll be first-ballot Hall of Fame players. I think their body of work to this point – not that it’s nearly over yet – but to this point, it would be hard to argue."
Manning on returning from a year off. Let's pass on this topic. "I know this is the first time I’ve spoken to you all, but I’ve talked about that quite a bit since March and training camp and I’m just about talked out of the topic if you don’t mind. I’m kind of past that point."