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Situational Football

Posted Jun 4, 2012

Quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos worked from the no-huddle offense in the seventh day of OTAs.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos have reached a new stage of the 2012 offseason.

“Today, we did goal-line and we did some two-minute (drills),” Head Coach John Fox said after the team’s seventh day of OTAs on Monday afternoon. “(There’s) a lot of situational football starting to come in, and the installation that goes along with that.”

The Broncos used the last portion of practice to scrimmage in the no-huddle, two-minute offense. The situation at hand was the offense down four points with two timeouts left. The man leading the charge was certainly no stranger to the circumstance. Peyton Manning has led 46 game-winning drives in his NFL career, according to ProFootballReference.com.

“It’s in your hands,” Manning said. “And anytime you can take it down, execute and get in the end zone for a touchdown to win the game, it’s a good feeling.”

“(Head Coach John Fox) likes to simulate a lot of game-like situations,” the quarterback said. “That’s a very real situation and the game is on the line.”

For the rest of the offense, working with the Leonardo da Vinci of the no-huddle offense can present a challenge. Perfection is demanded.

“It’s totally different,” wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said. “Because you have to know what you’ve got to do. If you know what you’ve got to do and be in the right spot, he’ll get the ball to you.”

Perfection is also demanded on the defensive side of the ball. No one on the Broncos knows that better than the 14-year veteran cornerback Champ Bailey.

“Its tough because that’s his thing,” Bailey said Manning's no-huddle offense. “He’s a quick guy. He knows what he wants to do. When he makes his mind up, the decision is made and you have to be in the right place. That’s tough on the defense.”

With the help of a 40-plus-yard completion to a diving Brandon Stokley over the middle of the field, the offense was able to get it inside the 10-yard line.

Manning then hurried his unit to the line with the game clock presumably inside 30 seconds, looking to punch it in the end zone and earn bragging rights over the defense for the day.

As Manning took the snap, he faked a spike and the defense froze. Without hesitation, No. 18 lobbed a ball to the corner of the end zone into the arms of a lonely Eric Decker. The entire offense laughed and cheered, while the defense showed a salty disposition.

“I heard a whistle, definitely,” Bailey laughed.

But whistle or no whistle -- that doesn’t mean it’s okay to give up on the play, the captain continued.

“It’s still one of those plays you’ve got to be ready for, because he’ll take advantage of that.”

“We made a big play,” said Thomas, who watched the touchdown catch from the opposite side of the field. “The defense didn’t play, so we threw a touchdown.”

Coach Fox hopes one time napping is enough for the defense.

“We kind of went to sleep on a fake-clock play, so it’s good those things are happening in OTAs when nobody’s keeping score, and we can learn those lessons now instead of later,” Fox said.

What the Broncos did Monday in the two-minute offense will prove to be productive for everyone. Having Manning at the helm stresses the defense both mentally and physically. And for the offense, it brings the other 10 players on the field closer to enjoying that style of play as much as their quarterback does.

“It’s a situation you’re in a lot,” Manning said. “If the offense has the ball, you have a chance.”

And if Peyton Manning is the man leading the offense, that chance is a pretty good one.