PITTSBURGH (AP) – Save the skepticism on Peyton Manning ‘s health for somebody else. Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t want to hear it. “He needs no endorsement from me,” Tomlin said. “His resume is his resume.” One that includes four MVPs, a Super Bowl ring and a series of neck operations that robbed Manning of the 2011 season. The injury also led to his stunning departure from Indianapolis and more than a hint of curiosity on how he’s going to look when the Denver Broncos host the Steelers in the season opener on Sunday night. Heck, even the Steelers understand why the NFL scheduling folks wanted to give Denver such a high-profile slot during the league’s opening weekend. “It was a no-brainer that they were going to put Peyton’s first game back on a Sunday night or a Monday night, one of the two, and let him play at home,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “And they’ll let us come back to (Denver), I guess.” It’s only been nine months since the Broncos and Tim Tebow stunned the Steelers in overtime in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, but this is a rematch in name only. It’s more like a coming-out party for Manning, who will wear something other than Colts’ speed blue and white for the first time in the regular season. The sight of Manning’s No. 18 in orange-and-blue will certainly be strange. Once he takes a snap, however, the Steelers expect to see the same old Peyton. “Guys like him make their reputations in rising up in moments like this,” Tomlin said. “He has battled some adversity with injury and being in a new city. We should anticipate his very best. That’s what guys like Manning do.” Even if Manning hasn’t always done it against the Steelers. He’s just 2-2 facing Pittsburgh in his career, the most famous meeting an upset loss to the Steelers in the 2005 playoffs that ended with Mike Vanderjagt shanking a game-tying field goal attempt in the final moments. Manning’s numbers against Pittsburgh are as solid as you’d expect – 90 of 151 for 1,079 yards and seven touchdowns against four interceptions – and so is his 85.9 rating. Except, of course, when compared to his career rating of 94.9. The Steelers insist there is no secret formula, and their goal is to merely make the normally unflappable Manning as uncomfortable as possible. They may have gotten some good news on Tuesday, when Tomlin didn’t rule out linebacker James Harrison (knee) or Jason Worilds (wrist) from playing. Safety Ryan Clark is out due to a sickle cell trait that affects him at higher elevations though nose tackle Casey Hampton should be ready to play. Tomlin knows a veteran presence will be needed to slow Manning down even if he’s making his first start in 20 months. “He has a ridiculous football character, he’s smart,” Tomlin said. “He works at it. He is a ridiculous competitor.” And Pittsburgh understands that doesn’t change regardless of the color of jersey on Manning’s back. Though it took Manning a couple of games to get going in the preseason, he looked very much like the player who made Indianapolis a Super Bowl contender for over a decade during a victory over San Francisco two weeks ago. Standing in the shotgun, barking orders in the shorthand that’s become one of his trademarks, Manning put together three tidy scoring drives against San Francisco’s first string. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards and a score, a statistical line that looks awfully familiar to Tomlin. “Anything he’s involved in resembles other things he’s involved in because they’re usually successful,” Tomlin said. “He’s very efficient, he reads pass patterns and route distribution combinations very quickly, he challenges the defense with some of the things he does pre-snap. It looks very familiar but I expected it to because Peyton is Peyton.” While most of the hype will surround Manning’s return, Tomlin points out the Broncos were hardly pushovers the last time the Steelers saw them. Denver brought Pittsburgh’s season to an abrupt halt on the first play of overtime when Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime. It’s a loss that’s stuck with some of the Steelers for months, particularly cornerback Ike Taylor and safety Ryan Mundy , who fruitlessly chased Thomas to the end zone. Mundy will likely get the start again with Clark being held out as a precaution. The longtime centerfielder in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense will take on a pseudo coaching role during the game and is even using his absence to raise awareness for his condition. Clark launched “The Cure League” on Tuesday, a joint effort with a Pittsburgh hospital to help raise awareness, donations and support for the inherited blood disorder that cost Clark his spleen when it flared up while playing in Denver’s high elevation five years ago. Tomlin praised Clark for turning his unique circumstances into a positive. They’ll welcome him back on the field against the Jets in Week 2, but they’re not lamenting his absence in the opener. “Like anyone else that misses time, we don’t cry a whole lot about people that are out,” Tomlin said. “We expect those expected to play to play in an above the line manner.” The Steelers believe Manning certainly will. – By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer (© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Steelers Ready For Manning To Be ‘Ridiculous’ Self
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Jay Cutler wasn’t quite sure what the results will be this time around. The last time he and Brandon Marshall were together, they were impressive.
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With Cutler, Marshall together, Bears aim high (The Associated Press)
Denver Broncos fans are thrilled over Peyton Manning’s arrival in the Mile High City. They showed their excitement by running out and buying Manning’s jersey in droves. In fact, Manning’s Denver jersey was the top-selling jersey on NFL.com since April, when the NFL switched to Nike-made jerseys. However, the Peyton-Mania has not caused a Denver-area school to change their dress code. Because of gang affiliations with certain numbers, students are not allowed to wear jerseys with the No. 18, which happens to be the number Manning wears . A spokesperson for Weld County District 6 explained the policy has been around for more than three years and applies to the numbers 13, 14,18, 31, 41 and 81. “We’re Broncos fans ourselves; it has nothing to do with that. We’re just wanting to set a consistent solid, example,” said district spokesperson Roger Fiedler. Don’t worry, kids, there are other ways to show your Bronco love and still fall within school guidelines. Take a cue from Denver fan wearing dapper duds:
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Students at Denver-area school not allowed to wear Peyton Manning jerseys (Shutdown Corner)
The Broncos announced their six team captains. They were voted on by the team. The 2012 Denver captain are quarterback Peyton Manning, guard Chris Ku…
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The PFW staff brings you its late-week fantasy tips for running backs, including the status of Ahmad Bradshaw and why owners should temper their Week One expectations for Adrian Peterson.
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Week One fantasy tips: RBs (Pro Football Weekly)
In his latest Vic’s Signature, CBS4’s Vic Lombardi shares his perspective on which games the Broncos could easily lose — and there are actually quite a few of them.
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Which Games Might The Broncos Lose?
The NFL returns for real tonight, and with that, we celebrate the official return of our preview podcasts with the great Greg Cosell, the longtime NFL Films All-22 maven and executive producer of ESPN’s NFL Matchup. As he did so well last year, Greg will give you a sense of the week’s upcoming games you won’t get anywhere else, based on his conversations with players and coaches past and present, and his OCD-level evaluation of coach’s tape. We went 75 minutes in the Week 1 preview without even getting to the two Monday Night Football games, so we’ll preview those later this week. Here are the games discussed in this podcast: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints Buffalo Bills at New York Jets St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos The Shutdown Corner Week 1 NFL Preview Podcast with Greg Cosell A few highlights from Mr. Cosell: On Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s formational versatility: “It’s interesting, and it goes back years. When Eli Manning started in his rookie season of 2004, and he certainly was not ready to play as a rookie, they gave Manning an awful lot on his plate right away. We’ve seen that grow and grow, and it’s obviously reaped a ton of dividends. The Giants have always done a lot more things than people may think. When people talk about multi-dimensional offenses, I’m not sure the Giants come to mind, but they do a lot in the run game — which is never talked about when people are discussing run games, because 99 percent of the time, they’re talking about the passing game. But they’re very intriguing in the run game, and that’s Eli Manning. He calls that at the line of scrimmage. I would agree — they’re a lot more multiple than they’re given credit for.” On the “little things” that make Andrew Luck great: “Eye discipline and eye manipulation are two terms that I like to use, and Ron Jaworski and I talk about this all the time. The play you’re talking about [Luck’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie against the St. Louis Rams) was in his first preseason game, and what he did is that he immediately recognized the coverage, which was 2-deep, and he knew that in his route combination, because he had Collie running a corner route, he had to beat the safety to that side. Because the cornerback will sit in the flat. He’s responsible for that, and they had a receiver going there. So, Luck know that he had to beat the safety to that side. They also had a slot route attacking that safety. But what Luck did on his drop, in his first preseason game as an NFL quarterback, was to keep his eyes totally focused right down the midline. And that kept the safety from reacting to Collie’s route. And then, he very comfortably threw the ball to Collie within the timing of the play for what looked like a very simple touchdown pass that you or I could throw. But it was his ability to calmly manipulate the defense with his head and his eyes that made it look as easy as it seemed.” The Shutdown Corner Week 1 NFL Preview Podcast with Greg Cosell On Brandon Weeden’s early struggles:
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The Shutdown Corner Week 1 NFL Preview Podcast with Greg Cosell (Shutdown Corner)
Every quarterback in the AFC North is confronted with a challenge. Joe Flacco is looking to establish his value in a contract year. Andy Dalton is ans…
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Danny Tuccitto of Football Outsiders gives Week 1 fantasy football advice, examining the best and worst matchups by position.
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Week 1 fantasy matchups, whom to start, sit and more – NFL
The Philadelphia Eagles started last year fairly high up in most NFL power rankings. Eagles fans like myself and most other experts all believed big things, but we were decisively proven wrong. Now as the 2012 season is about to kick off, Philadelphia and the experts have to be a bit more cautious – but the Birds still have a tentative high place on preseason NFL power rankings anyway.
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Eagles Start in Lower Top 10 of NFL Power Rankings: A Fan’s Analysis (Yahoo! Contributor Network)