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Horse Tracks: Manning is handing out grades, and they are below average

Today's practice in pads better go better for the Broncos offense, or they will have to answer to Peyton Manning. And it won't be a Gatorade commercial.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's back to school time, and if Peyton Manning were handing out grades at yesterday's joint practice with the Houston Texans, the offense would be in detention.

And just when we were feeling all good about ourselves.

The first of three joint practices with the Texans was far below average by Manning's watch, and that's really the only one that counts.

In a refreshing press conference twist, Peyton Manning actually showed his irritation and laid it out from the start - "The offense stunk today."

But the best part was his response to a reporter who asked how.

"Did you...were you watching?" [insert "completely annoyed/confused face" here.]

And when a reporter asked what Manning thought of commentators saying the Broncos are "too ready" after their two big preseason wins, the five-time NFL MVP squelched it - immediately.

"Yeah, that story ought to die pretty quickly. Yeah, kill that one."

But per his usual, Manning still took the preseason wins and yesterday's terrible practice in stride.

"I think this team does a pretty good job of staying pretty even keeled," he added. "I don't think anybody is overly excited about beating a San Francisco team that didn't have Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, that didn't blitz us one time and looked like they were kind of playing pretty vanilla schemes. It will be a different animal when we play those guys in the regular season - trust me."

And trust him to make today's practice a much better effort by all involved.

"We've got to be better tomorrow than we were today and hopefully be even better on Saturday than we were last week," Manning said.

The quarterback added that he's a fan of the joint practices and the "different schemes" it puts in front of the offense and defense.

"Hopefully we will come out and do a better job tomorrow," Manning said. "They've got some great defensive players, and play a lot of different coverages ... Overall it will be a good week for us. We've got to do better than we did today on offense."

On the other side of the ball, Texas native Von Miller felt like the defense had a "pretty good" effort in the no-pads practice despite a few errors.

"That's what practice is for. You just go out there and try and smooth everything out," Miller said. "Through and through I feel like we had a great practice today and the energy carried over to the weight room. Everybody in the locker room was cheerful. I'm anxious to get out there and practice tomorrow."

Never one to back away from a hit, Wes Welker is also ready for today's practice in pads.

"It's always good to turn up the intensity a bit," he said. "We're looking forward to getting after it."

So is Broncos Country.

Get after it today, boys. Go Broncos!

ALS #IceBucketChallenge update:

Chris Harris Jr. has followed through with MHR's challenge via Jon Heath:

But we are still anxiously awaiting the Offensive Line - Ryan Clady, Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez, Chris Clark and Orlando Franklin - so boldly challenged by Kyle.

Horse Tracks