INDIANAPOLIS -- Don't bet on a breakup in the Denver Broncos' well-aged backfield any time soon.
Executive vice president John Elway said Friday that running back Willis McGahee, 31, remains in the team's plans. Provided he recovers as expected from offseason knee surgery, McGahee will play out his contract lining up behind 37-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning.
Manning continues to experience strength gains in his shoulder. Head coach John Fox said Thursday the Broncos' training staff believes Manning will be his vintage self in 2013.
"I think he met the expectations and probably exceeded them," Elway said. "Talking to guys who have been through what he's been through with the neck, there's a lot that goes into it. ... In that case, I think he exceeded expectations. But I'm looking forward to next year, too, because I think he's just going to get better."
The Broncos won the AFC West but lost in the opening round of the playoffs. Rather than putting Manning's Comeback Player of the Year campaign and second straight playoff showing behind the franchise, Elway wants to stress the lessons to be gleaned from the one-and-done postseason.
"I was just talking to someone about forgetting last year," Elway said. "I don't want them to forgot it. ... Remember what it felt like after that playoff game. Hopefully we can learn from it."
Elway said free safety Rahim Moore, victimized on the long touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones from Joe Flacco in the divisional playoff loss to the Ravens in January, is worthy of praise for his strong season and for standing up and taking accountability on that game-turning play. Elway believes Moore's future is bright as one of many young players the Broncos expect to be building blocks.
"I feel much better standing here now than I did two years ago as a football team," Elway said. Thirteen and three was nice, we made the playoffs and got home-field (advantage). But we lost in the first round.
"That's why last year was so important. I said it last year, you make your money in the regular season, you make your legacy in the postseason."
Elway said there's a heightened toughness required to win in the playoffs, when "there is no next week."
"Great teams flourish in the playoffs," Elway said.