With his propensity for yelling out pre-snap checks, “Omaha” calls and possible fake audibles before every snap, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is anything but an open book.
Although Panthers coach Ron Rivera suggested he write one once.
“I told him one time I hope he writes a book and tell all of us the truth because he does so much” before the ball is snapped, Rivera said. “And it’s just hard, it really is.”
Several Panthers defenders on Thursday said Manning’s arm strength has not dropped off, a topic that has been debated all season.
But there’s no debating the problems Manning, 39, could pose for the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 with his ability to survey the defense, check to a different play call and maybe change it again after the defense makes its counter move.
Rivera schemed against Manning several times when he was San Diego’s defensive coordinator. He says the key is not getting so caught up in what Manning might be doing – he’s never offered a straight explanation on what “Omaha” means – that players lose track of their defensive assignments.
“A lot of it is reacting to what he does more than anything else. And that’s the thing that we’ve got to be good at,” Rivera said. “That’s the benefit for us right now having the extra week: You get a chance to really look at a lot of things that he’s done this season.”
Rivera and his staff have been studying the Broncos’ game videos to find their tendencies. But Rivera indicated there’s little benefit to the guesswork involved in trying to figure out Manning’s calls, which he’ll probably change for the Super Bowl anyway.
“As coaches we will go all the way back and try to look for things that they’ve done,” he said. “Not necessarily chase ghosts and try to make things up, but really look at the hard evidence as to what they do offensively and what they’ve done with him as their quarterback.”