DENVER -- In his second appearance this preseason, Peyton Manning went 14-for-21 for 124 yards. Early mistakes caused the offense to fail to capitalize on three trips into the red zone. While Manning recognizes the offensive struggles, he feels the unit still has time to grow as the season goes on.
"I think it's important for us to improve through the season," Manning said. "Would we like to be a finely tuned machine going into week one? Sure.
"[There is] some newness of some different players and some different things that we're doing -- and that's what we're working toward, certainly -- but I think the key is for us to improve through the season."
With WR Emmanuel Sanders still out with a hamstring injury and the young line up front still being developed with G Evan Mathis working to be ready for the regular season, the offense has some kinks that it needs to work through. However, Manning feels the offense can still produce and find its identity as it develops.
"Now, we're not making the excuses," Manning said. "You can still win games as you're still finding your identity and figuring out things that you can hang your hat on.
"We've got some starters out potentially with Emmanuel and obviously going to have good competition there with Evan [Mathis] and Max [Garcia] and whatever the rotation ends up at the offensive line. So we're still very much kind of figuring out who we are and kind of what we're going to be as far as the things we can really hang your hat on. And I think we'll develop those still throughout the season. I still think we can win games as we are developing that identity."
The defense shined. Sacks from DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller and Shane Ray increased the Broncos' preseason sack total to 15. While Manning hopes the offense finds its identity as the season progresses, going against a tough defense daily in practice gives the offense the competition it needs in order to improve.
"It's been good work for us going against them throughout training camp, going against their linebackers and our guys up front trying to block their front [and] trying to get open against their secondary," Manning said. "it's been a good test and I think that will make us better, as well, throughout the season."
Check out the scene as fans and the Broncos prepare for Saturday night's game against the 49ers.