ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —
“I think that’s really his No. 1 asset,” added Tony Dungy, Collinsworth’s colleague and Manning’s former coach. “He is so smart, he’s got such a great memory, such great recall.”
Collinsworth said he studies harder for Manning’s games than any other ones “because I don’t want to look stupid. Because I know that he’s going to do something where I’m going to go, ‘Now, what just happened there?”’
When John Fox says No. 18 is a fellow coach on the football field, he’s not just rattling off another cliche.
Manning’s incessant instruction fills Dove Valley during every practice. During training camp, he gave some 1-on-1 tutoring to Montee Ball.
“One day we were out there just me and him and he’s yelling things like it’s 11-on-11,” Ball recounted. “He’s pointing out the middle linebacker and yelling at the tight end, changing the call. I look back like, who’s he talking to?”
Manning was recreating the entire play for Ball’s benefit, including his cadence and pre-snap gesticulations.
He’s just as methodical in the film room. Fox leaves the film review to his captains on the day after wins while coaches prepare for the next opponent. So, the Monday morning quarterbacking on offense is handled by the quarterback.
“He basically is running the meeting,” receiver Demaryius Thomas said. “You go over the film and he says, ‘Everybody, I want you to say what you messed up on. Don’t be ashamed.”’
And if somebody doesn’t ‘fess up?
“Oh, he’ll just back up the tape and say, ‘OK, what happened here?’ And if he hears nothing, he’ll back it up again and again until somebody says something,” Thomas said. “And if you do say, ‘OK, my bad,’ Peyton will ask, ‘Are you sure? Why? What did you do wrong?”’