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Manning believes Broncos’ new QB is ‘off to a fast start’

And No. 18 certainly understands the importance of that to team morale.

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Denver Broncos versus the Seattle Seahawks Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The first time Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson met on the field, it was the first of two times Wilson’s Seahawks had gotten the better of Manning and his Broncos.

But it was a 26-20 overtime loss that felt a lot better than the 43-8 drubbing Denver suffered months later in Super Bowl 48.

Now the two quarterbacks are meeting again, but in completely different situations.

Wilson as the new franchise QB in Denver and Manning as the Hall-of-Famer finally seeing a replacement worthy of his former spot as signal caller.

And knowing a thing or two about joining a new team after years in the same system, Manning has been a sounding board and mentor to Wilson - exactly what every Broncos fan wants to hear.

“I do think it’s an advantage for Russell to be coming in with a new coaching staff, because everybody’s learning and Russell is going to know this offense better than anybody. So he’s going to be in teaching mode, as well,” Manning said Wednesday at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame banquet in Denver. “If you’re a new player and you’re catching up to everybody else in a leadership position, that can be difficult.”

The Broncos are in the midst of Phase II of OTAs, but Wilson has already been meeting on his own with his receivers down in San Diego - a page out of the Manning Preseason Handbook.

Manning and his brother Eli were known for their “camps” with a few teammates at Duke in the summers, a chance to work on timing and various throws and break it down on film long before getting deep into a playbook and reading defenses.

“So I think Russell’s at a real advantage where they’re learning Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett’s offense together, figuring out what works and what doesn’t work, and I think he’s going to be great obviously for our young receivers,” Manning said. “Like all Broncos fans, [I’m] excited to see him get to work this fall.”

One of the reasons Manning did it - and one of the things he believes Wilson benefits from as well - is specifically because there are no coaches. The QB must be the leader. And that sets up the dynamic for the entire season, if not Wilson’s new career here.

“There’s something about the fact that Russell can lead it, it’s just him and the receivers — coaches aren’t around,” Manning added. “There’s some leadership there from all of the players.”

And Manning hasn’t just been a listening ear. He’s been a keen eye for Wilson as well.

“I talked to Russell. He actually sent me the film of the throwing that they did, and I could tell they got really good work in,” Manning said. “That’s why I think they’re off to a real good start.”

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