We're starting to see signs of the Peyton Manning Effect in Denver, where the Broncos quarterback (by the way, that still sounds strange to us) is working closely with skill players to install an offense certain to look different in 2012.
Demaryius Thomas recognized early that Manning arrives as advertised from the neck up.
"Everybody knows he's one of the best in the game, a future Hall of Famer," Thomas told the team's official website, via ProFootballTalk.com. "I feel like just being out there with him, it helped because it seemed like he knew what was going on. He answered questions and he was like another coach because I was learning stuff from him that I didn't know. I feel like he's going to help me out this year."
Manning isn't teaching Denver's offense so much as he's teaching his own. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy won't complain; he's one of the more creative minds in the game right now, working with the most cerebral quarterback of our time. We saw what McCoy's staff did last season to best use Tim Tebow's gifts -- there are a handful of NFL teams that wouldn't have been able to pull that off. This is no knock on Tebow, but the boundary lines have been broadly extended with Manning under center.
The general anticipation of seeing Manning in Denver has to do with his physical comeback from multiple neck surgeries. On another level, it was hammered home during Manning's absence in 2011 that no other passer in the game pulls the player-coach lever the way he does. After years of watching Peyton recalculate plays at the line of scrimmage in Indy, it will be unusual to see the same in Denver -- but it will be welcomed.