Broncos QB Peyton Manning wrote the book on speed reading

By By Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

Published: Friday, Jan. 11 2013 11:49 p.m. MST

In the NFL, an offense has 40 seconds from the end of a given play to get the ball snapped on the next play, or 25 seconds after the ball is spotted after an administrative stoppage such as a penalty, timeout or end of a quarter. Manning tries to vary the pace of the offense, although he seldom goes at the full-throttle speed that Brady uses with the Patriots.

“The key is how fast you’re going,” Manning said. “Some teams go no-huddle, but it’s simply not huddling, it’s not really fast-paced. I think you want to constantly look at that. The faster we go, the better we can be.

“And the more we see how people play us, how they defend us in certain situations, how they react to things we do, the better it will be, the better we can prepare for how we want to handle things.”

There’s a more patient, cerebral feel to the no-huddle now than there was two decades ago, when Jim Kelly was running the fast-paced “K-Gun” offense for the Buffalo Bills.

“We did it because that’s the pace we felt comfortable with, and also it tired the defensive linemen out,” Kelly recalled. “Our offensive linemen were in such great shape that there were times if I would slow the pace down some, (center) Kent Hull would say, ‘Come on, man, pick it up! Pick it up!’

“We didn’t want those big guys on the other side to get an extra breath, or be able to continue to substitute back and forth. There wasn’t a lot of disguising coverages, because defenses really didn’t have time to do that.”

There were times, Kelly said, when defenses actually would beg the Bills to take their foot off the gas.

“Ask Howie Long about that,” he said, referring to the great Raiders defensive lineman. “I remember we played them in the AFC championship game (in 1991) and he yelled at me. He was like, ‘Come on, Kelly! Slow this down, man! Slow it down!’ I just started laughing.”

As for Manning, he’s more of a patient professor.

“Peyton is a pioneer when it comes to a no-huddle that isn’t necessarily a fastbreak,” Elway said. “It’s more, let’s just get them to the line of scrimmage and make them commit.”

In some circles, Manning’s nickname is “Perfect Peyton,” and there’s no question he’s a perfectionist in most aspects of his life. But Hall of Fame coach turned broadcaster John Madden, who is close friends with Manning, said the quarterback isn’t necessarily trying to get into the perfect play when he’s at the line of scrimmage.

“His whole philosophy is to stay out of a bad play,” Madden said. “It’s not necessarily to get into the best play where you’re going to get the defense every play, obviously you’re not. He wants to get into a play that has a chance.”

From a defensive perspective, Madden said, there’s no surefire way to beat Manning.

“There’s no answer to a great quarterback,” he said. “There’s no, do you blitz them or not, do you zone them or not, do you press him? The only thing you can do with him is disguise, and keep him from knowing what you’re doing as long as you can.

“But eventually, you’re going to do it and he’s going to see it. Whatever you’re doing to disguise, you’d better change because he’s going to figure you out.”

©2013 Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

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