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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - Manning relying more on Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders

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Happy Veterans Day Broncos Country! For those that have served our country in the armed forces, thank you for defending our freedom and for making it possible for this guy to blog about the Denver Broncos.

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Through 9 games in the regular season, I compiled the numbers to compare this year's receiving corps to last year's.

2013 Four Horsemen

Player

T

Rec

Yards

Avg.

TD

INT

Drop

100 yd games

D. Thomas

76

55

793

14.4

9

2

2

2

Decker

75

49

721

14.7

3

1

7

2

Welker

78

53

576

10.9

9

3

6

0

J. Thomas

57

42

547

13.0

9

0

3

2

Through 9 games last season, we saw a total of 6-100 yard receiving performances.  The WR corps accounted for 21 touchdowns and about 2,100 yards. Manning spread the ball evenly among each WR and at this point, Decker was actually beating DT in average per reception.

2014 Four Horsemen

Player

T

Rec

Yards

Avg.

TD

INT

Drop

100 yd games

D. Thomas

99

65

1002

15.4

6

1

6

6

Sanders

83

62

857

13.8

6

1

1

5

Welker

37

26

236

9.1

1

3

1

0

J. Thomas

49

38

423

11.1

12

1

2

1

Fast forward a season and we have already seen 12-100 yard receiving performances, 11 of which have come from the #1 and #2 WR. The receivers have only accounted for 13 touchdowns, while Julius Thomas has sort of flipped roles with Wes Welker by becoming the main red zone target in 2014. Speaking of Welker, his production has fallen off a cliff and is about half what it was a season ago. To compensate, Manning has relied far more on Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. In 2013 the 3 WR combined for 239 at this point while they have combined for 219 this season.

As for Manning himself?

Manning

Att

Comp

%

Yds

Avg/A

TD

TD%

INT

INT%

Rating

2013

369

262

71.0

3249

8.8

33

8.9

6

1.6

120.9

2014

353

239

67.7

2917

8.3

29

8.2

7

1.9

112.1

His pace was so blistering last season that this year almost feels like a down season. And while the offense has struggled more in consistency this season compared with last, Manning has still managed to put up MVP-like numbers. Other than accuracy which is 4 points lower than this point last season, Manning has managed to hover around the pace he set in 2013.

The biggest difference of course is the swap of Decker for Sanders and I have to say that Sanders is a big reason why Manning no longer needs to rely so heavily on the slot position to move the chains. One thing is for sure, Demaryius Thomas has earned Manning's trust and will continue to be his go-to receiver as the season progresses.

Horse Tracks

Broncos regain defensive swagger in rout of Raiders - The Denver Post
The Broncos held the Raiders to 222 total yards in a flurry of three-and-outs.

Randy Moss to Brock Osweiler: "Sit your butt down, greatness is at work!"
Randy Moss offered some "straight talk homie" to Broncos backup quarterback Brock Osweiler after the incident during the Raiders game.

Denver Broncos eyeing ... the St. Louis Rams - The Denver Post
The Rams are averaging only 3.9 yards per carry. That ranks 28th in the 32-team NFL.

Broncos 41, Raiders 17: Three Keys, Unlocked
The Broncos shuffled the deck on the offensive line after Paul Cornick's shoulder injury, and came up aces.

Ronnie Hillman's foot sprain keeps RB position in flux
Ronnie Hillman's foot sprain forces another shift to the running back corps -- and questions as to how the workload will be divided.

Winter is coming... but the new facility is ready
The Broncos' brand new, 115,000-square-foot indoor facility is ready for use, and with Monday's snow flurries dusting Dove Valley, it couldn't be better timing.

It's better when it takes a village for victorious Denver Broncos - ESPN
John Elway's hope to have a team that didn't need Peyton Manning "to feel like he has to do everything" was on display.

Film study: Philip Rivers under pressure - ESPN
Falling behind early has made it tougher for the San Diego Chargers to protect their QB

Mike McCoy: Don't expect returning injured players to rescue Chargers - ESPN
The San Diego Chargers should get several key players back from injury this week, but head coach Mike McCoy says that won't solve everything.

Oakland Raiders' run game continues to sputter - ESPN But in Sunday's 41-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, the Raiders rushed for 30 yards ... on 15 carries. What is going on with Oakland's running game?

Union files grievance to remove A.P. from Exempt list - NFL.com Adrian Peterson's hearing for reinstatement is expected to take place this week. However, the NFLPA has already taken steps to expedite his return to the field.

A blueprint for Oakland Raiders' future success - ESPN
ESPN's Matt Williamson draws up a quick blueprint for Oakland's offseason priorities.

Union files grievance to remove A.P. from Exempt list - NFL.com
Adrian Peterson's hearing for reinstatement is expected to take place this week. However, the NFLPA has already taken steps to expedite his return to the field.

Carson Palmer on ACL: 'I cried like a baby last night' - NFL.com
Carson Palmer's season is suddenly over after suffering a torn ACL in Sunday's win over the Rams. The Cardinals QB said he became emotional while processing the news Sunday night.

Vick: Jets would have won more if I started sooner - NFL.com
New York put together one of its best performances of 2014 on Sunday with Michael Vick under center. Vick wasn't shy when asked if the Jets would be better off if he had started sooner.

Richard Sherman: Odell Beckham Jr. 'is a great player' - NFL.com
After Odell Beckham Jr. piled up a team-high seven catches for 108 yards against the Seahawks, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman had some high praise for the rookie wide receiver.