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'I think he's off to a fast start': Peyton Manning evaluates beginning of Russell Wilson's tenure with Broncos

DENVER — When Peyton Manning arrived in Denver, the Broncos didn't get off to the quickest start.

The Broncos began that 2012 season with a 2-3 record, and the team trailed 21-0 on the road against the Chargers in a game that could've dropped Denver to two games below .500. A furious rally helped the Broncos win that game, and the team did not lose again in the regular season en route to a 13-3 record.

As Russell Wilson prepares for his first season in Denver, though, Manning believes the nine-time Pro Bowler may have an advantage.

"I think he's off to a fast start in talking to him," Manning said Wednesday ahead of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame banquet. "I do think it's an advantage for Russell to be coming in with a new coaching staff, because everybody's learning and Russell is going to know this offense better than anybody. So he's going to be in teaching mode, as well. If you're a new player and you're catching up to everybody else in a leadership position, that can be difficult. So I think Russell's at a real advantage where they're learning Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett's offense together, figuring out what works and what doesn't work and I think he's going to be great obviously for our young receivers. Like all Broncos fans, [I'm] excited to see him get to work this fall."

Wilson and his teammates are in the midst of Phase II of the offseason program, but Manning mentioned Wilson's offseason throwing sessions with his new teammates was also critical to the team's development. Manning previously hosted his own offseason throwing sessions in Durham on Duke's campus.

"It's quite the setup," Manning said of Wilson's throwing session. "I would imagine San Diego is a little more exciting than Durham in April, although we did throw in some Duke-North Carolina basketball games during the day, so that was neat. Wherever you go, I like the off-campus throwing. There's something about the [fact that] Russell can lead it, it's just him and the receivers — coaches aren't around. There's some leadership there from all of the players. Obviously going out to San Diego, it sounds like it's a heck of a facility. I talked to Russell. He actually set me the film of the throwing that they did, and I could tell they got really good work in. That's why I think they're off to a real good start."

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