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If Peyton Manning returns, Kubiak 'looking forward to learning that style'

Although the Broncos have their new head coach in place, status quo rules when it comes to their starting quarterback: Peyton Manning has a few weeks to decide whether to return for his 18th NFL season.

"I just think the more time he can get away, he'll be able to come away from a decision with the best decision," Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway said.

But if Manning opts to return, he'll find a coach willing to modify his tactics to suit the record-breaking quarterback's skill set.

"Look what he continues to do," Gary Kubiak said. "You know, the offense Peyton runs, he's tremendous at it, back there in the gun controlling the game, controlling the line of scrimmage. Nobody has ever done it better and he's the master at it.

"Actually, I'm looking forward to learning that style and that system that he has."

And there it is. So much for the notion that Manning would have to learn a specific scheme different from the one in which he was used to operating. Although there are sure to be tweaks, and a re-emphasis on zone blocking that was for so many years the foundation of the Broncos' offensive philosophy, it doesn't mean that the offense Manning mastered has to undergo a rebuild from the foundation up.

"That's easy to build a playbook for him," Kubiak said. "He's been the master at it for many, many years."

Instead, Kubiak will focus on adapting to the players he has -- which, he hopes, includes Manning.

"We're going to do what our team does best and what our players do best, and if Peyton Manning's playing, that's what he does best," Kubiak said. "So, you're never going to get away from that. So, I'm looking forward to spending that time with him."

Kubiak said he spoke with Manning "a couple of days" before his introductory press conference, and exchanged text messages Monday evening.

"He's got some things going on, family things right now, and obviously I've got a lot going on here the next couple of days," Kubiak said. "We're going to get together and sit down. The thing I want to do, I want to be the best support system I can be for Peyton. But yes we've had some very good conversations and we'll have many more.

"It was just really conversations, really talking about family, there was some conversation about the Pro Bowl, there were some conversations about how he's feeling, those type of things," Kubiak added later. "Really we were just kind of setting the stage, so to speak, for our time to get together and visit on things. And like I said, (I will) just do everything I can to support him. This is his time. This is his time, his decision. I need to be there for him in any way that I can. That's what I plan on doing."

And if Manning decides to return, the tenor of their chats will likely change to the composition of the offense. Earlier in his career, the offenses in which he worked had a bit more emphasis on the run than they did in recent years up until Week 11 of the 2014 season, befitting the era of the sport and the quality running backs he had earlier in his career: Marshall Faulk as a rookie and Edgerrin James from 1999-2005.

"I think Peyton's done a little bit of everything, but obviously he's the master of the line of scrimmage and the way he controls football games," Kubiak said. "And as a coach, that's tremendous, there's not many guys that can get all that done that he has done at the line of scrimmage and I'm looking forward to understanding how they went about getting that done."

But if Manning opts to retire, Elway believes Brock Osweiler can be effective, but knows there are no guarantees because there is so much about the 2012 draft pick that remains untested.

"We're excited about Brock's progress. He's been here for three years and he's done everything that's been asked of him. He's been a tremendous student, he's worked his tail off -- he's worked his tail off over in the weight room. So if that would be the case, I do have confidence that Brock can step in.

"You never know. This is a big game. It's a tough game. And the one thing that Brock has been lacking in the last three years is the fact that he hasn't gotten a lot of playing time. So I'm confident he can do it, but you know what? The bottom line is he's going to answer that question when the light comes on."

Nevertheless, the Broncos' first choice is for Manning's light to remain green, and for him to give it a go for a fourth season in Denver.


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