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With Manning, Receivers Always Ready

Posted Dec 4, 2012

With Peyton Manning at quarterback, "the ball can go anywhere on any play."

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The lesson for Broncos pass-catchers this season has been simple: be prepared.

"With this quarterback playing, the ball can go anywhere on any play," Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy said.

In running the league's fifth-ranked offense, quarterback Peyton Manning has spread the ball around to 14 different targets, ranging from wide receivers, tight ends and running backs to a fullback and even a defensive tackle.

Seven of those players have double-digit catches, and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas leads with way with 69 catches for 1,114 yards -- his first 1,000-yard season.

"It’s a dream come true for those guys with Peyton being the quarterback," McCoy said. "All the receivers have really bought into what we’re doing and understanding that on any play, they can get the ball. Those guys have worked extremely hard – not just Demaryius, but all of them. Demaryius has made a lot of big plays for us this year and he’ll continue to do that the rest of the year. But, they’re all licking their chops at the opportunity to play with Peyton and the style of system we’re playing right now.”

Manning has completed 68 percent of his passes so far this season, the highest percentage among starting quarterbacks in the league. It's a mark he has reached in only one other season in his career.

“It’s absolutely amazing how he knows where everybody is," Raiders Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver said.

Manning hasn't hesitated to spread the love on his 304 completions.

“I certainly hope that the timing with all the receivers has improved throughout the year," Manning said. "Demaryius and Eric, Jacob and Joel. Experience is your best teacher and I think the more reps you get – especially in games, the better you are going to be."

As for his top target, who is tied for the team lead with eight touchdowns, Manning said things are only getting better.

"Every time I play with him," Manning said of Thomas, "I feel like we improve.”