With a full year of work in Denver under his belt, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning says he’s feeling a lot better than he did last year. But he isn’t ready to go so far as to say he feels better than ever.
Manning talked to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times about coming back last year after missing the full 2011 season following multiple neck surgeries, and Manning said the way he feels now is a lot better than the way he felt when he was a new Bronco.
“The biggest issue for me was performance: Can I perform the way that I’ve been performing over 14 years?” Manning said. “You’ve only done it one way – you’ve thrown one way, the ball felt one way in your hand since you were 15 years old playing quarterback. All of a sudden, when things feel a little different, there are some questions and some unknowns: How will it hold up in different types of throws, touch passes? I’ve got to put one in there in some weather, whatever it may be. Not that I feel as comfortable as I did in my eighth year in Indianapolis, but it’s a heck of a lot more comfortable than I was last year.”
If Manning feeling more comfortable translates to playing better, that’s bad news for the rest of the league, considering that Manning looked awfully comfortable in Denver last year. Broncos Coach John Fox, in fact, still believes that Manning should have received the Most Valuable Player award that Adrian Peterson (himself coming back from a serious knee injury) received.
“No disrespect to Adrian, because I love him and he’s a great player,” Fox said. “But I think an ACL is a little bit more understood in the National Football League than a surgery on your neck that affects your nerves. I still marvel at what [Manning] was able to accomplish. It was with a different team, and at a position that mentally is just so hard. In history, I don’t think anything’s ever been done like that, and not even counting the fact that he didn’t play the year before.”
And this year Manning may be even better.