ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Last season as the Broncos set a franchise record with 2,362 rushing yards, Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert's group was willing to do whatever it took to win games.
In 2011, that meant a lot of blocking. This year, with the addition of four-time NFL MVP Demaryius Thomas, the receivers are ready to see more footballs thrown their way. Tolbert talked to DenverBroncos.com about the way the wideouts bought into the system last year, what the addition of Manning means to his group and the versatility of the team's receivers.
What are your overall impressions of the receivers' progression through the first portion of the offseason?
"I've been very pleased. Guys are showing a lot of energy. Even though the OTAs are voluntary, we're very pleased with what the receivers have done up to this point."
What has Peyton Manning's impact been on the receivers so far?
"Peyton has been demanding of not only himself, but the other offensive guys around him. With Peyton here, everything is a big emphasis on the passing game. It makes them want to go out and be even more hungry to practice better. The defense sees that too and they step up their game. I see the receivers, when Peyton says something, it's full attention. They try to do things exactly how he wants them done. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We want to have success and win games. That's what the bottom line is. They're glad to be able to go out there with a guy such as Peyton Manning."
What was your reaction to the news that Manning was going to sign with the team?
"I was just as excited as the players. When it actually came to reality, I think I was the first coach to scream down the hall, 'Yes, we got him!' I think everybody must have said, 'Oh, that's Tyke screaming, we must have gotten Peyton Manning."
What have you seen out of Demaryius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas as they both enter their third NFL season?
"I'm very pleased with where they are at this point in time. Going into their third season, they've seen some things that are going to help them be able to grow. They take coaching very well and they try to do everything that you ask them to do. When they do that and have success, that permeates them wanting to learn even more, be it from me, be it from (Offensive Coordinator) Mike McCoy, be it from Peyton, it doesn't really matter. They're hungry for knowledge. Them having success with Peyton early on in OTAs, that's making them want to come in and look at more stuff and ask more questions and become even more successful."
What has the signing of Brandon Stokley meant for the team?
"We have a lot of things that we did here before Peyton got here. We have some ideas. Stokley brought in some stuff that he's done. We're blending the offenses together, and some of the stuff that Peyton has brought with him, Stokley had before. Stokley's able to tell a guy this or tell a guy that and help him out. He's been great for the room. He's really good in the slot. We're excited to have him and he's a reliable guy, a very smart guy."
What does Andre Caldwell bring to the team?
"'Bubba' Caldwell, his addition to our receiving corps has helped us tremendously. Believe it or not, he's the fastest guy out there. He can really run and he's made a lot of plays this spring. One of the things we targeted in the offseason is we wanted to get a third guy who had some pretty good size but was really fast, who could make plays. We think we have that in 'Bubba' Caldwell."How important it is for every receiver to be able to fill all the roles in the passing game?
"In this league you have to be able to do that, especially if you're going to run some no-huddle like we're going to do. Whether you're an 'x' or a 'z', if we go no-huddle you stay on the same side. A slot receiver will change positions, a tight end will change positions, but the outside guys are going to stay on the same side. One play you might be an 'x', but the very next you may be a 'z', so you have to have that versatility. It's not like college where you may have 10 receivers on the roster. If something happens, like if one of them busts a shoe string, you have to have a guy to go in there and step up at all the positions. Especially at receiver, you have to have versatility because we have so many formations and motions and shifts. It's not like when you break the huddle you go line up in the same spot every time, like an offensive lineman or somebody like that. You're going to be in different spots so you have to have a lot of versatility."