With Peyton Manning aboard, Broncos receivers actually have to learn routes now

Shutdown Corner

Demaryius Thomas has been a wide receiver in the NFL for two years now and evidently hasn't spent a lot of time learning to run routes. I guess it's not all that necessary when you're watching for Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow to deliver you the football.

Via Sports Radio Interviews, Thomas told 790 The Zone in Atlanta that now that Peyton Manning is in town, the Denver receivers are going to have to bone up on their route tree a little bit.

"To get to play with a future Hall of Famer, I knew I had to step my game up and get in my book more, run routes more, because I never really ran routes much. So I thought it was gonna be a challenge, and it has been so far. But it's been good, too." [...]

"You're gonna have to run the whole route tree now. The comebacks, the slants, the posts, the ins. And I didn't have to do that much when I was my first couple of years in the league."

Wow. Two years in the league, and he "never really ran routes much"?

[Les Carpenter: Brian Banks, still chasing his NFL dream, could help the league as more than a player]

What were Broncos practices like before Peyton Manning? Everyone splits into their individual groups, and the receivers all run over to the receivers coach and ask, "Hey coach, what are we working on today?" And then the receivers coach looks over and sees Tim Tebow launching footballs into the fourth row and says, "I really don't think it matters, boys."

No more of that with Peyton Manning, though. It makes me wonder about Manning's 2012, and whether he'll be close to the same quarterback he was in Indianapolis. Even putting aside the doubts about his neck and his ability to take a hit, there are a lot of question marks there. He had such good rapport with the receivers in Indy throughout his career, and now it's like he's starting from scratch.

Thomas is probably the most physically talented receiver on the Denver roster, so getting his routes precise will be important. Manning's going to have to have a lot of patience with his young receivers.

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