NFL Team Report - Denver Broncos - INSIDE SLANT


Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will look across the field to the Cardinals' sideline Sunday and see his past staring back at him.

That's because the Cardinals are led by head coach Bruce Arians and assistant head coach/offense Tom Moore, the two coaches who, perhaps more than any other, made Manning into the record-breaking quarterback he became.

Manning described himself as "indebted" to both, whose resumes have continued to grow with their time together in Arizona, where the Cardinals have gone 13-6 with Carson Palmer, and, now, Drew Stanton at the helm.

Their raw material today does not match what they had with Manning, but what remains the same is their ability to squeeze the maximum output from their quarterback.

They were recent hires to the Indianapolis Colts' staff in 1998 when Manning was drafted: Moore as offensive coordinator, Arians as quarterbacks coach. Moore would stay with the Colts for all of Manning's 13 seasons as their starting quarterback, and the two were on the same page as few quarterbacks and play-callers ever have been.

Arians' time with Manning was brief: three seasons before he departed to become the Cleveland Browns' offensive coordinator. But the impact of each on the other was profound -- even though Arians downplayed his impact on Manning's career.

"He's gotten a lot smarter. He overcame my coaching, that's for sure," Arians said. "I'm so happy to see him back and playing at the level he's accustomed to. (I'm) really happy for him."

Manning's perfectionism is well-documented, from his youth to his work in Denver. But Arians' critiques from 1998-2000 helped the quarterback reach another level of self-analysis.

"He would coach me hard and I would kind of learn what I did wrong and I really used that experience and got a lot better my second year," Manning recalled. "He taught me a lot of fundamentals in those first three years that I still use today."

The teaching went in both directions. Arians learned he had to be more prepared for his quarterback meetings than ever before.

"You can't give him enough information. I mean, he eats it up," Arians said. "If you had an hour-and-a-half meeting scheduled with him, you'd better have two and a half hours of material ready, because he was going to eat through it so fast and be able to give it back to you."

That experience is why this week, Arians called Manning "the piranha."

"I take it as a compliment," Manning said.

SERIES HISTORY: 10th regular-season meeting. Broncos lead series, 7-1-1. Denver has won four straight at home against the Cardinals. The most historic meeting between these two teams was on Sept. 18, 1977, when the Broncos opened their run to the AFC Championship with a 7-0 shutout of the explosive Cardinals, then coached by Don Coryell.

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NFL Team Report - Denver Broncos - NOTES, QUOTES


--For the first time this year, the Broncos will not have to deal with a mobile quarterback. The Broncos faced Andrew Luck, Alex Smith and Russell Wilson in the first three weeks, but now are likely to face Drew Stanton, as Carson Palmer did not practice Wednesday and visited with a specialist to treat his ailing arm.

"They're both pocket quarterbacks, so we treat them the same way," said cornerback Chris Harris, who acknowledged it was easier to face teams with quarterbacks who stayed in the pocket.