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Peyton Manning has some comfort under center

The Broncos' offense will not be a carbon copy of the one Gary Kubiak ran in Houston or Baltimore. There will be principles that the Broncos' new head coach carries from those stops, but it will still be a Peyton Manning-led offense, with bits of both philosophies sprinkled in.

"What we've done is study what Peyton has done for many, many years and taken some things that I feel good about and kind of crossed two systems together," Kubiak said. "The bottom line is we're going to do what he does best -- what our players do best. I've got a pretty good vision of what I want it to look like and now we've got to get to work on it."

The first question is at the snap: how much will Manning work under center?

In the last two regular seasons, the Broncos ran 1,594 plays from shotgun or pistol formations and 629 with the quarterback under center -- just 28.30 percent.

Last year, the Ravens ran 77.96 percent of their plays from under center under Kubiak's coordination.

"When I've watched [Manning] play under center, the steps and all those things, he's been doing it for years," Kubiak said. "I don't think that's a big adjustment. Now, how much you do it probably depends on how comfortable he is and how successful we are with it."

In three years with the Broncos, Manning has a 106.8 quarterback rating from shotgun and pistol formations and a 113.4 rating when he works under center.

One key tenet of Kubiak's offense will be to ensure that the formation doesn't tip off the defense.

In the shotgun, the Broncos ran on 30.9 percent of their plays and passed on 69.1 percent the last two years With the quarterback under center, they ran 65.3 percent of the time and passed 34.7 percent.

The Ravens' run-pass split with the quarterback under center last year was 54.8 percent runs and 45.2 percent passes.

The Broncos can achieve more deception when Manning is away from the center by using pistol formations, which have been an occasional part of the offense in recent seasons.

"The pistol [formation] has created a good situation because even though you're in the gun, the back is still directly behind the quarterback and you have a two-way go," Kubiak said. "You're not always offset with your backs. It's something as an offense that you don't want to be too telltale from that standpoint. The pistol will be a part of what we do also."

But to say that Manning can't run an offense from under center is foolish. Earlier in his career, the Colts' offense made lethal use of the stretch play, whether he handed off to Edgerrin James or kept it himself on a play-action fake.

"Obviously I love to run the ball and I love the play[-action] pass," Kubiak said. "I love to do those things, so there is going to be a commitment there.

"But there is 17 years of investment in what he's done better than anybody and we're not going to run away from that."

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