DENVER — Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning gave the keynote address at the annual Boy Scouts of America Sports Breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Pepsi Center.
Before that, Manning met with about 30 members of the media and discussed a variety of topics as it relates to the team. He said he is going to miss former players Champ Bailey, Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker, but he is excited about the new players who have joined the team.
“That’s the worst part about football. When you form some friendships with these guys and really put a lot of hard work in — the business side comes into play,” he said. “We added some great players. I’m excited about working with them staring on Monday. I communicate with them all. …
“I know (Giants quarterback and brother) Eli (Manning) told me he was glad DeMarcus Ware was leaving his division. He can no longer hit him and I’m glad he’s on my team.”
The Broncos finished 13-3 last season, advancing to the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years. But they were humiliated Feb. 2 by the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8, at East Rutherford, N.J.
“I don’t really have a word for it. Obviously it was disappointing,” Manning said. “We will use that to fuel us this offseason and hopefully it will make us better. The front office has addressed some offseason needs via free agency and of course the draft is coming up. It’s up to the players to put in the hard work in the weight room, in the film room and on the practice field to try and be a better team this year.”
Manning was also asked how many times he has watched the Super Bowl.
“I have not watched it on TV. I’ve seen game film,” Manning said. “I don’t often watch a lot of TV copies of games we didn’t win. I never saw a lot of good value in that (laughing). You study it. You study the game just like you do any game — a win or a loss. What went well, what didn’t go well. You try to be better for it and that’s what you have to do.”
The Broncos will begin their strength and conditioning program on Monday. The draft is May 8-10, with rookie minicamp May 10-12; Organized Team Activities on May 20-22, May 29-31 and June 3-6; and mandatory minicamp June 11-13.
“You have to move forward,” Manning said. “You have to kind of re-establish your identity of the 2014 team. The 2013 team — it was a good season in a lot of ways. There is no question it did not end the way we wanted it to, but we have to find a way to build off that and take a step further, try to finish. There is no question you have to kind of start over again and re-establish the chemistry on this team with all these new players. I think that’s important and that really starts on Monday.”
Still, it will be a challenge to get back to the Super Bowl.
“Just because you were there last year in the game, it doesn’t guarantee you anything. It does take a lot of hard work and sacrifice,” Manning said. “I think forming that chemistry takes time. Certainly working together in the weight room is part of it. … It’s not an overnight process. That’s something that we have done in the past.
“I think that’s been a big part of some of the wins we’ve had is our offseason work and how guys have spent time together and put the time in together. I think you have to keep doing it every single offseason. I think we will do that and I’m looking forward to having a good season next year.”
Manning is coming off a record-setting year, but losing in the Super Bowl has still left him hungry to reach the top of the football world.
“That’s what I want to do. That’s what the Denver Broncos want to do,” he said. “I’m glad to be a part of a team where that’s what they want to do. I want to try to do my best to do my part. Keep myself in good shape and get on the same page with my receivers.
“I feel that I have a responsibility to the team to be on top of my game and that’s what I think about every day when I go over there to work and lift weights and throw with my receivers, doing my job to help the Denver Broncos. That’s what I’ve tried to do since I’ve been here and that’s what I’ll keep doing until I stop playing.”