Broncos training camp has officially begun, and the world is watching to see how Peyton Manning's arm is shaping up. His neck should be a non-issue based on a fusion procedure performed in September 2011. This was the last of four neck surgeries that caused Manning to miss the entire 2011 season under center with the Colts.
After his super-hyped free-agent signing in Denver, Manning is playing with something to prove to fans, the media and himself. So far, he seems to be living up to the intense scrutiny, performing well at camp.
In Denver, Manning has a young receiving corps that is looking to be the next Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne for No. 18. Training camp is the time for Manning to establish rhythm and timing with his new talented receivers.
Here's a look at the top targets for Manning in his first season with the Denver Broncos.
1. Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas
Both Decker and Thomas are entering their third seasons in the NFL and possess a great deal of talent.
This training camp should allow both of them to blossom by working with veteran cornerback Champ Bailey and new guys Tracy Porter and Drayton Florence.
Demaryius Thomas may just be the biggest downfield weapon Manning has ever had in his arsenal.
Decker has had the most time to practice with his new signal-caller due to sessions at local high schools, and now at the Broncos facility. They are developing the relationship necessary to put up solid numbers this season.
2. Jacob Tamme
The Broncos signed the tight end shortly after Manning chose the Mile High City as his new home.
The two of them already have a familiarity and chemistry from 2010 in Indianapolis. Tamme was thrust into the spotlight after an injury to Dallas Clark made him the starter.
Manning and Tamme gelled well together, recording 619 yards and six touchdowns that season.
Look for Manning to rekindle their prior relationship and throw the ball Tamme's way often this season.
3. New Orleans
Peyton Manning has New Orleans on his radar this season for two reasons.
The first would be revenge. In Super Bowl XLlV in 2010, the Saints defeated the Colts, leaving Manning with a 9-9 postseason record and a bitter taste in his mouth.
His fourth-quarter comeback drive was cut short by a Tracy Porter interception return for a touchdown. Ironically, Porter is now a Bronco and Manning's fellow teammate.
Manning himself has not faced the Saints since that game. However, the Colts, with Curtis Painter behind center, were absolutely demolished in October of 2011, 62-7.
The Broncos will face New Orleans in Week 8 this season in Denver, and Manning will certainly look to come out victorious.
The second reason Manning is targeting New Orleans is because it is the location of this year's Super Bowl. Every NFL player begins each season with the hope of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy high in the air, and Peyton Manning is no different.
He signed with the Broncos this offseason with the intention of returning to his championship form and taking Denver to the Super Bowl. Whether Manning admits it publicly or not, the overall goal of this season is to play in New Orleans on February 3.
Since training camp has just begun, we can only speculate who Peyton Manning's main targets will be. A receiver who is lower on the depth chart might surprise us all and have incredible chemistry with the new Broncos quarterback.
It will certainly be interesting to see who will step up and how the receiving corps will shake out this season.
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