Broncos try to erase Super Bowl sting as offseason workouts begin
FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2014 file photo, Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning walks off the field after the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game against the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford, N.J. Manning delivers the keynote address at the Boy Scouts of America's annual breakfast Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in Denver, and makes his first public comments since the Denver Broncos were trounced by Seattle from the opening snap of the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – No trip to the White House, diamond-encrusted rings or ticker tape parade.
All the Denver Broncos have to show for their historic 2013 season is the heartache and humiliation of getting destroyed from the opening snap at the Super Bowl.
The AFC champs aim to use that 43-8 shellacking by Seattle as motivation for 2014 starting today when they gather for the start of offseason workouts, stars Peyton Manning and Von Miller say.
They realize what a daunting task awaits them as they try to become the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to win the Super Bowl the year after losing it.
Crews have turned the team’s headquarters into a construction zone over the last three months with a makeover that will include the addition of an indoor practice complex, and, fittingly, General Manager John Elway has taken a sledgehammer to his roster, too.
Gone are veterans Champ Bailey, Robert Ayers, Eric Decker, Knowshon Moreno, Zane Beadles, Wesley Woodyard, Shaun Philips and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie along with Chris Kuper, who retired.
Their departures made room for Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware and Emmanuel Sanders.
Despite becoming the first NFL team to score more than 600 points, behind Manning’s record 55 TD throws, the Broncos surrendered a whopping 24.9 points a game – 25.3 if you count the playoffs – and Elway focused on fixing that this offseason.
He added two thumpers in the secondary and Miller will be back from a torn ACL, while refusing to re-sign players who would have cost him too much to keep around.
After all, big paydays loom for the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas. Both of them attended Manning’s annual week of workouts at Duke recently along with Wes Welker, Bubba Caldwell and Sanders.
“That’s kind of the new rules now. You have to go off-campus in early April in order to get some work with your receivers,” Manning said. “It was a good kick-start to the offseason.”
Manning also created a bit of a stir by heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala., a couple of weeks ago to pick the brain of Alabama Coach Nick Saban, who in turn picked up pointers from the five-time MVP on the hurry-up offense that has so troubled the Crimson Tide of late.
Because Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who got his coaching start under Saban back in the 1990s, visited Alabama’s football facilities at the same time, the NFL is looking into the matter. League rules prohibit players and their coaches from meeting before the start of offseason workouts.
Saban told the Denver Post, however, that he never met with Gase and Manning at the same time, other than to say pleasantries.
The first two weeks of voluntary offseason workouts at NFL team headquarters are limited to strength and conditioning and rehabilitation activities. After that, on-field instruction in allowed.
A lot of players have already been working out at Dove Valley, including Miller, left tackle Ryan Clady (foot) and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (knee), all of whom were sideline spectators at the Super Bowl.
Even though he realizes many Broncos fans would just as soon forget the Super Bowl, Miller doesn’t share their sentiments.
“I wouldn’t want to get the sour taste out too quick because the year before we lost to the Ravens and that pushed us this last season. And the Super Bowl this year I think it will just push us more,” Miller said. “We were right there. We were right on the edge of it and all the guys have been putting in that extra 1 percent in and hopefully it’ll pay off for us this coming season.”