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Broncos' Peyton Manning and John Fox Preview Sunday's Showdown with the Saints

Posted Oct 24, 2012

Broncos Head Coach and Quarterback talk about facing the Saints

John Fox Peyton Manning

Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Listen to Fox's Call

Has Peyton Manning played like you guys expected he would so far this season?
“Probably as good as advertised and then some. Knowing his reputation having competed against him many times, you build that respect and there is a small fraternity of players and coaches so you hear of his work ethic, both on and off the field. To see it firsthand I think like all great players it is more than advertised.”

When the Saints signed Drew Brees in 2006, they put a lot of stock into his character and work ethic going into his rehab for his shoulder. How much did you consider Peyton’s character and work ethic knowing he was coming off a neck injury?
“Much like I am sure the Saints did, you have your medical people look at him because none of us have doctor in front of our names. You do take in all expertise from doctors and knowing guys like Drew and Peyton, once it’s thrown in their court they are going to attack it like nothing else. In Drew’s case, just getting to know him over the years, he was going to do whatever it took. Once you got the go ahead medically you knew he was going to get that done. I think you can put Peyton in that same light.”

You faced Drew Brees a number of times when you were in Carolina how different will it be now that you are in Denver?
I have nothing but great respect for (Drew Brees) and obviously he is very capable to be able to do all the things he has done in this league as far as the records, his ability to throw the football and execute that offense. It’s always a tough challenge that’s for sure.”

How was it facing the Saints so many times when you were in Carolina – was it fun?
“I don’t know if fun is the right word (laughter) you like competing against your friends and good football teams and players. Maybe in its simplest form I guess you could say that’s fun.”  

How different will be for you facing the Saints without Sean Payton?
“Sean and I are friends. Obviously he is not able to be there but I know he will be soon enough. This is going to be about the Broncos and the Saints. Someday Sean will be back there”

What’s your relationship like with Joe Vitt? Have you ever worked with him?
“No but I have known Joe for two and a half decades. I am very familiar with him and have great respect for him both as a coach and motivator. I know Sean (Payton) has great respect for him. I know their team will be excited to get him back.”

Going back, what went into the signing of Tracy Porter and how has he been for you guys?
“It’s been good. He didn’t get to play last week against San Diego due to an illness and we didn’t want to load him on the plane. He had a huge play in the (season) opener on Sunday Night Football against Pittsburgh. That was a game-changing play. As far as signing him, he was available in free agency and we thought it was a good fit. We were trying to infuse some more talent in the back end of our defense and I am glad we did.”

The Saints are currently ranked last in the league in defense in net yardage, but what do you see out of them?
“We don’t look at stats. I know fans and media make a big deal out of win-loss records and statistics but really the most important statistic comes down to winning. They have won two games in a row against two good opponents.”

Can you talk about the comeback win you guys had against the Chargers?
“It was obviously exciting. Anytime you have a big comeback win that is exciting. We are still kind of just scratching the surface as a team. We have a completely new offense and quarterback. We have a completely new defense and coordinator. The bye week helped us because we got some extra practice time to get more comfortable in our scheme and system.”

Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Listen to Manning's Call

Can you tell us about your season? Has it been about what you expected physically and off the field as well?
“Obviously when you’re coming to a new team and coming off an injury, it’s hard to know what to expect. I’d never been through anything like this in terms of missing an entire year and changing teams. This is the first time I ever had to do it. I really didn’t know what to expect. I think you learn something new each week and there are different phases, the minicamps, OTA’s and training camp, preseason, regular season, division games. I’m still continuing to learn along the way about myself coming off the injury and about my new teammates, system whatnot. It’s definitely been a learning type of year and I’m still continuing to do that.”

Was your comeback against the Chargers reminiscent of the one you had against Tampa Bay several years back when you were in Indianapolis?
“For me, I think anybody that plays in that game, I’m the only one who played both games. I was with the different team. I know the players were excited as it was a division game, which I think everyone was so excited about. It’s hard to make comparisons. The Bucs game was 2003. They were defending Super Bowl champs. It’s hard to make comparisons, but it sure was an important win for us being on the road and being a division game heading into a bye week.”

How much better do you think you are now than at the beginning of the season?
“It’s hard to say just because I think experience does make you better. The more times you throw an out route to Eric Decker or Demaryius Thomas, you should be better in this week of the season as opposed to training camp, because you’ve done it more. I still think you’re still learning in game situations. You’re seeing different defenses, different areas of red zone, two minute drill, whatever it may be and you have to go through those different scenarios in order to get on the same page. I do think experience should make everybody better, me, the receivers and the whole unit.”

Do you cringe when people talk about people like Brandon Stokley and Lance Moore as possession receivers when they have so much more to their games? How important is Stokley to you?
“I can speak for Stokley. This is my second stint playing with him. He’s a slot receiver on the teams I’ve been on and he’s been extremely valuable. When teams are playing different types of coverages, the guy in the slot has different routes he can run and a guy that can run as fast as he can and has good shake and bake. He’s just a great threat to have on our offense. At 35 or 36, he looks as quick to me as we did back in Indy in ’03, ’04, ’05. He’s a great teammates and it’s great to be reunited with him. Brandon and I go back and have been friends since 1997. He and Jake Delhomme used to always come to our football camps when they were teammates from Louisiana-Lafayette. He and I have been friends ever since I’ve been together with him.”

Do you think he’s similar to Lance Moore or that Lance Moore is similar to him?
“I guess so. It’s hard to say unless you’ve played with both of them. It’s always hard to make comparisons. I can speak to what I know and he’s (Stokley) been a big part of our offense.”

The Saints have the lowest statistically ranked defense in the NFL. What do you see in them?
“I don’t pay attention to rankings or statistics. I pay attention to what I see on film. I still see guys flying around. You see guys playing with great effort. (Malcolm) Jenkins’ play probably won the game for them. It was a great effort play. Anytime you change a defensive coordinator, there’s always a feeling out process. I see guys making plays out there. They have a lot of great athletes.”

Do you think the Broncos are one of the elite teams in the AFC and also are you aware that Jay Tyler of Newman High School broke your record twice, throwing two touchdown passes in two separate games?
“To answer your first question, I really have no idea. All We’re concerned about is trying to get better each week. All these rankings…We’re trying to get better each week. My dad texted me the other day and told me a few weeks back that Newman beat Carver 72-68. I thought it was kind of early for basketball season to be starting. He kind of followed it up that it was football. I immediately sent Marshall Faulk a text and trash-talked to him. I didn’t know that specifically , but it sure seems logical that if you’re scoring 72 points, you’re probably going to break any record. That’s good. That’s good stuff.”

What was your second half rally against San Diego a product of?
“Unfortunately we found ourselves in some holes. Like a lot of teams, we’re still working on a 60-minute game. It seems like the second 30 minutes have been better for us. We’d like to come out faster, score some points and not fall behind. It certainly shows we are capable of coming back, playing with a sense of urgency. We were more efficient in the second half. We’re still working on being more efficient in the first half.”

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