ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --The Broncos now have an 11-time Pro Bowler at the quarterback position.
But don't expect to see a pass-dependant offense just because No. 18 is at the helm.
"(The running game) is still going to be a top priority," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "I think (Offensive Coordinator Mike) McCoy has addressed the team, and he's really preaching balance, and trying to be three-dimensional -- where on any down and distance, you can drop back, you can hand the ball off or you can run play-action. If the defense can be thinking about all three of those things, hopefully that gives the offense an advantage."
From a rushing attack that led the league in 2011, Denver welcomes back a slew of running backs who combined for nearly 2,000 yards last season. In addition, the starting offensive line returns in its entirety. That's part of what makes Manning and crew so confident that the ground game will pack a punch in 2012.
"I certainly think our running game is going to be effective because of the people we have that have been here," Manning said. "The offensive line, the system, our backs, they did an excellent job in the running game (last) year."
But unlike last season, the man under center has thrown for more than 54,000 yards in his career.
"I think they're going to sleep on the running game because we have Peyton coming in and he's known for throwing the ball," said Willis McGahee, who led the team last year with 1,199 yards rushing.
Manning, on the other hand, noted that defenses will be forced to respect a rushing attack that led the league in yards this past season.
"I think teams certainly -- because of the way the Broncos ran the ball last year -- are going to have to respect the run game, because we will be committed to running the football," Manning said.
But whichever element defenses try to take away, the team's success will depend on the ability to adjust to that.
"What you try to do is take what the defense is giving you," Manning said. "If they're dropping a bunch of guys, you certainly hope you could run the ball. If they're putting them all up in there and giving you one-on-one matchups on the outside, you've got to be able to win those matchups."
"I think just the threat of him in the passing game, they'll complement each other," Head Coach John Fox said. "He has a real good ability to see the defense and make adjustments. A lot of it is what the defense gives you or takes away, and you adjust accordingly."
What Manning hopes to establish in Denver is an offense that can win any style football game – whether they have to do it predominantly through the air, on the ground, or with a perfect mix of both.
"I really feel that's going to be important to have that balance, and you never know how a certain game is going to turn out," Manning said. "If there's going to be a shootout one game or if it's one of those low-scoring games where you just keep pounding it on the ground … we hope we can play any type of game."