In April, Peyton Manning told reporters he could accept that his arm might never be as strong as it once was. Despite a 13-3 campaign with the Denver Broncos last season, Manning admitted he was still mired in "get-stronger rehab mode" at the tender age of 37.
Manning was so effective in 2012, it was easy to forget the multiple neck surgeries and drama that wiped away his 2011 season. In a new city, with new teammates, Manning made it look simple -- even when it wasn't.
When NFL.com's Ian Rapoport asked John Fox on Friday what stands out about Denver's offseason, the Broncos coach didn't hesitate: "Just how much further ahead Peyton is," Fox said. "A year ago this time, we were trying to get him to relearn how to throw. He's way more comfortable, way more ready to play."
It hasn't been an easy summer for the Broncos, but with an all-systems-go Manning at the controls, Denver remains the team to beat in the AFC.
More training camp buzz from around the NFL:
» Raiders rookie quarterback Tyler Wilson is earning fewer and fewer snaps in Oakland. Friday especially was ugly, with Wilson falling victim to a fumbled snap from center and a batted pass that was intercepted by cornerback Taiwan Jones, per the Bay Area News Group. Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor are pulling away while Wilson reportedly is struggling to overtake the undrafted Matt McGloin. As expected, it's Flynn's job to lose.
» The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that catches have been "few and far between" for Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. Coach Mike McCarthy has poured praise on Finley, so we're not overly concerned about a lack of targets. Yes, Aaron Rodgers and Finley struggled with chemistry early last season, but the tight end's strong finish convinced McCarthy that Finley is serious about his career.
» Eight practices into New York Jets camp, rookie quarterback Geno Smith had yet to throw an interception. That isn't good news for Mark Sanchez, who's committed a whopping 26 turnovers in each of the past two seasons. Sanchez remains unfazed, telling reporters, via ESPNNewYork.com: "I feel like I'm having a great camp. My arms feel good, my legs feel good, I feel strong, I feel accurate, I feel like I'm in command." Our friend, The Sanchize, does not lack confidence.
» The Redskins came into camp with questions in the secondary, but the emergence of rookie free safety Bacarri Rambo might be the story of the summer for Washington's defense. The sixth-round draft pick has taken every first-team snap in practices, according to The Washington Post. Meanwhile, rookie David Amerson has taken more snaps at cornerback than veterans DeAngelo Hall or Josh Wilson -- and he's replaced them in the lineup for stretches, too.
» Disaster averted in Cleveland, where Trent Richardson missed practice Friday after he was kicked in the shin. The second-year pro missed a slew of spring sessions with a strained muscle in the same shin, but Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said T-Rich could have played in a game situation, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. This led Chris Wesseling to badger yours truly (a long-suffering Browns fan) with the following:
» Our man Gregg Rosenthal is on the scene in Canton, Ohio, soaking in the Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities and filing nuggets from "football heaven." Gregg huddled with coaching legend Bill Parcells and the rest of this year's class to recall their defining moments on the field. And be sure to check out Rosey's photo-journal, "19 things you can only see in Canton," in which he digs up living proof that Terry Bradshaw ... invented fantasy football.
» And from Rich Eisen, also in Canton, a slip of paper that brought new life to the once-wayward New England Patriots:Around The League Podcast is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.