Peyton Manning Firmly Backed By Broncos Teammates

Peyton Manning Firmly Backed By Broncos Teammates
Peyton Manning Jeffrey Beall / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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Is the recent criticism of Peyton Manning justifiable? At 39, can the Denver Broncos’ celebrated quarterback hang with the big boys?


The phrase “Peyton Manning gets picked off” has become synonymous with analysts and sports writers who got more ammunition in the wake of Sunday’s 26-23 overtime victory over the Cleveland Browns. Manning, who finished Sunday’s game 26-of-48 for 290 yards to go with a touchdown, had three interceptions as his season tally rose to 10.

The Broncos are 6-0 but most pundits reckon Manning is a shadow of his once great self. Manning’s teammates are sick of the criticism. “We’re here to rally behind him (Manning),” running back Ronnie Hillman said after Sunday’s game. “Peyton is our leader, our quarterback. People can say whatever they want. They don’t know. And this offense is right there. It’s going to get going, and then people can ask about something else.”

Demaryius Thomas, the star wide receiver, also weighed his support for Manning. “We don’t really care what people say. I know I just got to make more plays and make people be quiet on it.”

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Thomas continued, “Me dropping a ball, they probably say something about Peyton after that. … I bet there are people that blame Peyton when I dropped the ball. He’s our quarterback. Our leader. I know I can make more plays for him.”

Coach Gary Kubiak reiterated his support: “He (Manning) got us in position to win the game, and, obviously, he’s got plays he wants back,” Kubiak said after Sunday’s win. “So that’s a continuing process of me working with him and getting him as comfortable as I possibly can, and I know he’s very capable of getting rid of those mistakes and hanging on to the great plays that he’s making. He’s our leader. He’ll keep battling.”