Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: April 16, 2:34 PM ET
Peyton Manning getting to know WRs
ESPN.com news services
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning called his offseason throwing regimen with receiver Eric Decker both "rewarding" and "critical," adding that the workouts are helping him back into the groove.
In a video posted on the team website Wednesday, Manning said his work with Decker is not only helping the new teammates establish a connection but will mean wins when the season starts.
"You don't feel it necessarily right now, but you know that it's going to pay dividends for you in the fall, when there's a third-and-5 and there's a pass pattern that you complete to Eric Decker," he said. "And you say, you know, 'We worked on that back in April and May, and that time we put in was worth it because it came on a critical third-down conversion or a touchdown pass.'
"I've seen that firsthand over the course of my career -- that offseason work makes a big difference come fall. You can't just show up in September and expect to be successful, expect to win games. And so this offseason work is critical."
The four-time MVP said the offseason workouts have him pumped up for the season and are helping him get into the swing of things with his new team.
"I've enjoyed the time, getting to know these receivers, they're kind of getting to know me," Manning said in the video. "It's a marathon, no question about it -- it's not a sprint. And we do have some time, and the more we can do it, the better off we're going to be."
Manning is recovering from a neck issue that caused him to miss the entire 2011 season and eventually forced the Indianapolis Colts to release their franchise icon rather than pay him a $28 million bonus. Manning then signed with the Broncos on March 20 following a whirlwind courtship period involving several teams.
Decker said earlier this week he's been working out with Manning for roughly three weeks and there's "no question" that Manning's arm strength is good enough to start in the NFL.
Decker said on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on ESPN Radio on Tuesday that he hasn't seen anything in the workouts that would lead him to believe Manning's arm strength has decreased due to four procedures on his neck.
"The guy's still throwing the ball a long time, throwing it great, hitting you in the right spot," Decker told Cowherd. "He's such a perfectionist. If he hits you in the belly button, he gets mad at himself for not hitting you in the chest. It's unbelievable to be around a guy who has those standards for himself."