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John Elway: Running game will be Peyton Manning’s ‘best friend’


There have been concerns that Peyton Manning will have difficulty adjusting to the West Coast offense favored by new head coach Gary Kubiak. But Denver Broncos boss John Elway thinks the 39-year-old Manning will be able to adjust just fine. And Elway should be seen as reliable in his assessment. After all, he knows a thing or two about being a quarterback who relied upon that style of offense in the latter stages of their career.

Elway, who played under then-Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak in his late 30s while winning two Super Bowl titles, believes the way a West Coast offense utilizes the running game can only benefit Manning.

“Late in my career, that was my best friend, the running game. And I think that running game will be Peyton’s best friend, also,” Elway said, via The Denver Post’s . “It’s obviously going to be a little bit of an adjustment, but you got two smart, bright offensive football minds that are competitive and want to win. There was never, ever a thought in my mind that this wasn’t going to work.”

Granted, there may not be a running back as gifted as Terrell Davis — Elway’s backfield partner in crime late in his career — currently on the Broncos roster. But the duo of C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball, along with Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson, make for a more-than-competent backfield. If Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison can figure out how to maximize the collective talents of the backs in their system, Manning arguably will be set up for success in the passing game. Given that the Broncos ranked 15th in rushing offense last season, any improvement would be beneficial.

More than anything, though, Elway believes that Manning, as he was as a player, puts the team’s success above everything else.

“With Gary’s reputation as an offensive mind, I think Peyton respects that, and with my experience with Gary, what we were able to do late in my career and help us get world championships,” Elway said. “Peyton is about winning. He wants to win games and wants to win championships.”

(image via The Denver Post)