Will Manning return to run Kubiak’s new offensive scheme?
AP National Writer
INDIANAPOLIS — Even under new management, the Broncos offense can be built to fit Peyton Manning’s game.
The still-lingering question: Will Manning be in Denver to run it?
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak debunked any notion that he’d push Manning into running the rollout-heavy offense the coach is most comfortable with from his days designing schemes in Baltimore and Houston and back when he was the coordinator in Denver.
“You do what your players do best,” Kubiak said Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine. “It’s interesting to me — I’ve been asked over the course of the last month since I’ve been in Denver about the bootleg and those types of things. We had Joe (Flacco) in Baltimore last year and I think we booted maybe 25 times in the season.”
That number would probably drop if Manning, who will be 39 when the 2015 season starts, returns for his fourth year with the Broncos.
Last week, Manning flew to Denver to meet with Broncos executive John Elway, but he left without making any announcement about his future.
Other tidbits about Manning’s offseason have been well-reported:
—He’s been working with a personal trainer in New Orleans to assess his fitness.
—There’s some thought the Broncos would like him to rework his contract to make it more cap-friendly; Manning is scheduled to make $19 million this season.
—Elway and Kubiak are both on record as wanting him back.
The coach reiterated that Wednesday.
“No doubt I want him to be,” Kubiak said. “I think all indications are that (through) everything he said and through his conversations with John, he feels good. He’s had his self-assessment or however you want to label that and he feels good about moving forward. We’ll just continue with the process.”
Ah, the process. It’s holding things up in Denver, though it certainly can’t for much longer. Manning has to pass a physical and the Broncos need to know whether he’ll be on their roster by the start of the new league year, which is March 10.
The Broncos are heavily committed to veteran players on defense and have decisions to make on free agents Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, among others. They also have to make some changes to their offensive line.
Meanwhile, Kubiak is doing his best to design an offense that will work for Manning — while knowing there’s at least a slight possibility that someone else will be lining up under center.
“We’re going to run the Denver Broncos offense,” Kubiak said. “That’s a big challenge for me right now — meshing things together and getting ready to go do the things that Peyton does so well and has for many years.”
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