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Kubiak: Peyton Manning 'operated fine' in new attack

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Our first look at Peyton Manning in Denver's new-look offense was far from a picture of pristine on-field play.

The veteran quarterback saw four drives end in punts in Saturday's 14-10 preseason win over the Houston Texans. Manning was 8-of-14 for 52 yards with a ghastly 3.7 yards per attempt.

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"I thought he operated fine," coach Gary Kubiak said of Manning's night, per the team's official website. "We didn't help him in a couple of situations. On third down, we had a couple of big drops on the three or four series that he played. But I thought he was sharp in running the group and running the no huddle for the first time out."

Even with Texans defensive terror J.J. Watt sitting out the night, Manning struggled to move the ball and looked uncomfortable at times running just 19 plays over four possessions.

The best throw of the night came on backup Brock Osweiler's 57-yard touchdown strike to Andre Caldwell. Manning's arm, for all the summer buzz, appears adequate at best as he creeps toward his 40th birthday.

It's just one meaningless preseason tilt and Peyton has plenty of time to find his groove -- and he will -- but Saturday night was far from the fireworks we've come to expect from one of the AFC's top attacks over the past three seasons.

"We're going to have some growing pains, but we just want to watch them continue to get better," Kubiak said. "I'll go take a look (at the tape), but I think we did some things better tonight and obviously probably got a lot of things we need to improve upon."

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