ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Head Coach John Fox oversaw his first practice Wednesday since returning to the team.
Now that he's back after undergoing heart surgery, everything's back to normal -- right?
"There hasn't been a lot normal about this season by any means, I don't think," quarterback Peyton Manning said.
Still, the Broncos have managed a 10-2 record and currently sit atop their division and the entire AFC.
The resolve the team has shown through the absence of its head coach and a rash of injuries has stood out to Manning.
"Guys have shown good resilience and just been able to kind of roll with the punches, if you will." Manning said. "I just know we've been able to adjust. Whether it's another player stepping up or (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Jack) Del Rio stepping in, people have been flexible and adjusted and stepped up. Then when those situations occur, everybody else has to kind of raise their level of play and I think we have done that. I think it's a positive and obviously you'd love for things to be status quo and normal, but that's not always the case."
Fox's philosophy is to split the season into four quarters, with the goal being a 3-1 record in each frame. The Broncos have now entered the fourth quarter, having just gone 3-1 in a tough third quarter.
It starts Sunday with the Tennessee Titans, a team that at 5-7 is still in the playoff hunt in the AFC.
"(Head Coach John Fox) talks about trying to get into some kind of flow and rhythm and maybe get some momentum here in December," Manning said. "You can't do that if you can't get off to a good start. We're playing a good team -- a team that's still right in the middle of it. Every game that they've played they've been in. Tipped ball here or there. They had a dropped interception last week that probably could have made the game go another way. I think it's easy to focus on this opponent. Hopefully we have a good week of practice and transfer that to the playing field." Below are more highlights from Manning's Wednesday press conference:
On if wearing a glove has been a game-changer for him
"It's just part of the adjustment I've kind of had to make. I've said that I've had to make a lot of changes in this point in my career. I'm kind of coming off an injury and different team. It's just been part of the adjustment so I don't know what game changer really means exactly, but it's part of the adjustment that I've made and tried to adjust and still working through it kind of each time that I wear it."
On if he has tried various types of gloves
"I've experimented with them throughout my career even when I was in Indy. I never just quite found a pair that I liked so I finally found a pair that I liked. (Equipment Manager Chris Valenti) 'Flip' and (Assistant Equipment Manager Mike Harrington) 'Harry,' the equipment guys kind of researched and gave me some options. Found a pair that I liked."
On if he enjoyed his SportsCenter interview with Anchorman II character Ron Burgundy
"I did enjoy it. I did it during the bye week so it was after we played the Redskins, right before that I think. We had some ties. The only way it was going to work out (was) do it during the bye week so (it was) a good time to do it. I think it's hard not to laugh when you're getting interviewed by Ron Burgundy (laughing). It took about 20 minutes and I was basically trying not to laugh the whole time."
On how rewarding it was to see RB Montee Ball play well last week
"You always like to see young players play well and Montee has been thrown into the fire as a rookie. Some rookie running backs don't play all that much, but he has been right in there and he's done some great things. He's certainly made some mistakes like all rookies do, all players do. I'm still waiting for somebody to break my NFL record for interceptions as a rookie — got to be a 16-game starter to do it though. Montee, he played well. He put the previous game behind him—it wasn't a great experience for him. He's worked hard. I think his continue to get better. You always hear about rookies kind of hitting that rookie wall during this time. This is well past the college season at this point and I haven't seen him hitting that by any means. I think he's got a chance to even get better down this home stretch."
On how it affects him to get good production from RBs Knowshon Moreno and Ball
"It helps the whole team but as an offense you're always looking for balance and certainly if somebody is hot you'll kind of ride that wave a little bit. Knowshon was kind of hot the week before in the running game and you saw him getting the majority of the carries and then Montee kind of had the hot hand against Kansas City. The best thing about those guys—those guys are unselfish guys. They're kind of all for whatever is working and whoever has got the hot hand. (Offensive Coordinator) Adam (Gase) does a good job and (Running Backs) Coach (Eric Studesville) 'Studes' does a great job rotating those guys in."
On if he is eyeing the single-season touchdown passing record of 50 set by QB Tom Brady in 2007
"No not with the game we have this week. We've played some what I would call familiar opponents these past three weeks and we're playing an unfamiliar opponent that (we) got to work hard to get to know them in a short period of time. I don't know much about their offense, but defensively they're a stout bunch. Tough against the pass and just not giving up a lot of points. I think they lost five games by one score—one possession—so that's where our focus is and certainly our job as an offense to try to score points and that's running the ball throwing the ball whatever it is somehow someway we got to try to score points to help our team win. That's where the focus is and it's pretty easy just to focus on that."