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Samuel Sees Differences In Manning


On the surface, Peyton Manning running Denver's offense looks like the Manning of old.

Look a little deeper, from a player's perspective, and things are a litle different. Cornerback Asante Samuel may know more about Manning and his tendencies than any other player on the Falcons roster and he sees some differences.

"They definitely opened up his passing game a little more, a little more different route combinations than he's used to running," Samuel said on Friday. "They've put a little shivvy to it over there in Denver. They've definitely made it better though."

Against the Steelers in Week 1, Manning certainly looked similar to vintage Manning, completing 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He directed the offense efficiently in and out of the no huddle and got 94 rushing yards and a touchdown from his ground game.

Mike Peterson thinks the biggest differences in Manning of old and the Denver version is personnel. Manning's receivers in Denver are considerably younger than the likes of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, his top two receivers in Indianapolis, two pass catchers that will be in Hall of Fame discussions some day.

Against Pittsburgh, Manning's top two receivers were Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, both entering their third season. Thomas had 110 yards and Decker added 54 last Sunday night.

Though some things may be different in how Denver uses Manning's top targets, the bottom line is Manning is still in charge and any offense he's directing is dangerous. 

"Once you've got 18 at the wheel, it doesn't matter," Peterson said. "You can put a body out there and he'll make it work."

On defense, Samuel said, one of the keys is to make sure what the defense is trying to do isn't clear to Manning. While it may be difficult to confuse him, pre-snap and post-snap looks can be different.

"I think that will be very important, holding the disguise, holding the shell and not giving away the coverage," Samuel said. "(We want to) make him figure it out on the run."

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