Manning's throws: 'In the best spot'

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
3:30
PM ET
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas can only shake his head and laugh at the critiques of Peyton Manning's passes.

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
Hyoung Chang/The Denver PostPeyton Manning's passes may not be the prettiest, but his receivers will attest to their effectiveness.
They come from Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman -- who opined in an online column earlier this season that Manning throws "ducks" -- network TV analysts and just folks roaming the Twitterverse.

Broncos pass-catchers have been on the receiving end of Manning's 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards this season, both NFL records, and they are simply left to wonder what all the fuss is about.

"Whatever," said tight end Julius Thomas. "You really have to wonder what people are looking at and what standard they're using."

Added Demaryius Thomas: "I know I don't really pay attention to that. It can be the ugliest ball, the prettiest ball, as long as it gets there, and 99.99 percent of the time, his passes are on the money and in the best spot they can possibly be. I told the guys when he first got here, the ball from Peyton is like catching tissue paper. No matter where you are on the field, it just falls into your hands. It's accurate, it's in the perfect spot, and it's easy to catch. All you have to do is put your hands out there."

The Broncos set an NFL record for scoring this season with 606 points and another season mark with 75 touchdowns. They were the first team in NFL history to have five players with at least 10 touchdowns.

Yet in his post-spinal fusion career, Manning sees his passes seemingly thrown under a microscope, with every wobble and spin examined.

Sherman was asked Wednesday if he stood by the "ducks" comment from earlier in the season.

"Well, I still feel the same way I felt. He is a great quarterback; he does a great job. At the same time, when he catches the ball, he doesn't necessarily catch the laces all the time," Sherman said. "He throws an accurate ball in regards to how he catches it. He just gets it on time and delivers it accurately."

Demaryius Thomas sees it far differently. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of Manning's seasons as a Broncos starter and this year finished with 92 catches, 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns. As does Eric Decker, who has had both of his 1,000-yard seasons with Manning at quarterback.

"It is funny to me. I think it's just people look at his numbers, what he's done, and there is nothing to talk about, nothing, no questions there," Thomas said. "He's the best player in the game right now. We don't pay attention to all of that. We do our jobs, get ourselves to the right spot, and he always gets the ball there."

Said Decker: "I would like to see the people saying that throw some passes with a guy in their face, to be honest. Obviously he's one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. People are looking for things to pick at. It's a little ridiculous. He throws a better pass for a receiver to catch than anybody I've ever been around."

Or as Manning put it earlier this season when asked about those who talk about the quality of his passes: "I throw a lot of wobbly passes. I throw a lot of wobbly touchdowns too."

Jeff Legwold

ESPN Denver Broncos reporter

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