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Decker, Thomas, Welker Form Formidable Trio

Posted May 20, 2013

For the Broncos' receiving corps, Champ Bailey said "the sky is the limit."

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Statistically, last season was one of four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning's best.

The quarterback set Broncos single-season records in nearly every major passing category, including completions, completion percentage, passing yards, touchdown passes and quarterback rating.

A lot of that was due to the youngest receiving tandem in league history to post 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in the same season -- Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

"These two guys, I’ve seen them grow so much in this game," cornerback Champ Bailey said. "And you think they can’t get better, they’ve even gotten better this year. It just seems like the chemistry with Peyton is a lot better as well. That being said, the sky is the limit for them.”

In 2013, the Broncos have added Wes Welker to the mix, a player who has managed five 100-catch, 1,000-yard seasons in the past six years.

Combined, the three wideouts grabbed 297 passes for 3,852 yards and 29 touchdowns a year ago. If they recreate those numbers this season, the Broncos would become just the fifth team in league history with three 1,000-yard wide receivers. Of course, one of the previous four times the feat was accomplished, Manning was at quarterback, throwing to the Colts' trio of Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley.

"We've got a lot of talent," Welker said of his initial impression of the offense. "We've got a lot of good players. With Decker and DT and the tight ends, across the board we have good players. We still have a long ways to go, but I like where we're at."

Welker, who will provide plenty of production on his own, said he's been impressed with what he's seen from the club's leading receivers from a year ago.

"They're great players," he said of Thomas and Decker. "Not only that, they're good guys and they work hard. That's all you can really ask for as far as being a receiver going into my 10th year, having some guys like them that appreciate it and are working hard and want to do a good job out there."

That hard work has stood out to Manning as well, who said he's "really proud" of the way his teammates have worked to improve this offseason. He has seen leadership from the young duo, and he knows what Welker will bring to the club as a veteran that has been in plenty of big games.

Then, with a new draft pick at the position in Tavarres King, up-and-comers Greg Orton and Gerell Robinson and veteran Andre Caldwell battling for spots behind those three -- not to mention dynamic returner/receiver Trindon Holliday -- the position could be one of the strengths of the team.

"It'll be a good competition there, and I think that's a healthy thing," Manning said.

Adding Welker to the mix this season certainly has Bailey excited about the offense's progress, given his respect for what Decker and Thomas have already been able to accomplish entering their fourth NFL season.

"They just keep me on my toes, definitely," Bailey said. "People think it’s all because of Peyton – these guys work hard, they play hard and they’re very skilled. They are definitely two of the best.”