Peyton Manning, Broncos players with “a lot of birthdays” not expected to play in preseason opener

By David Kenyon
Nov 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The competitive drive is still burning within Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, but head coach Gary Kubiak isn’t planning on the veteran appearing in the preseason opener.

According to Troy Renck and Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post, Kubiak is expected to keep Manning—despite the 39-year-old’s wishes—out of a matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.

“Obviously, we have some guys with some nicks that have missed some time that we have to make some decisions on. We have a few guys that we’ll talked about that have a lot of birthdays, so we’ll talk about them too.”

Manning highlights an extensive bunch that could be sidelined.

Per Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Owen Daniels, Danny Travathen, Brandon Marshall, Chris Harris, DeMarcus Ware and Marvin Austin aren’t likely to play, either.

Although Manning must adjust to handling more snaps under center instead of in shotgun, there’s little reason to rush him onto the field.

The bigger question for Denver is a fresh-faced offensive line that could feature two rookies—Ty Sambrailo and Max Garcia—as well as a second-year player—Matt Paradis—who have never taken an NFL snap. Kubiak’s offensive system relies heavily on the running game, and Manning won’t benefit much from repeatedly handing off the ball.

Additionally, Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert are battling for the backup job. Giving the backups more game-situation snaps is important because Dysert is no longer eligible for the practice squad. Denver will likely waive or trade one of the reserve quarterbacks, and the preseason may help determine which player is on the way out.

Manning will have a front row seat for the competition, and he’ll return to starting duty in later weeks as a tune-up for the regular season.