The long wait for Peyton Manning to return to game action ends on Thursday night when the Broncos play the Bears.
It looks like we’ll get to see him play one or two series in his return. Albert Breer of the NFL Network spoke to Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway about the plan for Manning’s use. Elway indicated that the flow of the game will determine just how much Manning winds up playing, but that the idea is for him not to play very much at all.
“If things go well right off the bat, have a nice scoring drive, then get him out. You wanna get something going to where they have a good drive,” Elway said. “You don’t want to have three three-and-outs. You wanna get some confidence, get some first downs, and maybe put some points on the board. If we do that, get him out, and go to the next week.”
The question now becomes whether Manning will take his first hit in anger during his limited appearance. The biggest remaining mystery of Manning’s return from neck surgery is how we’ll he’ll handle getting popped. If the Bears can get the pass rush going early, we’ve got a chance to find out on Thursday night.