IRVING, Texas – Of course, with as popular a topic as Peyton Manning has been around Valley Ranch this year, it was inevitable the topic would come up when the Broncos showed up on the schedule.
With his team set to travel to AT&T Stadium this weekend, Manning was questioned about Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones' offseason comments that he wanted Tony Romo to have the same level of involvement in the Cowboys' offense as Manning has in Denver.
But Manning didn't bite when asked how he reacted to those comments
"I didn't take it any way," he said. "I'm the wrong one to ask that – it's a question for (Jones). I can't give you a good answer there."
Manning was even more modest when asked to describe his reputation for time spent at work – particularly during the season.
"Every quarterback that is starting in this league multiple years puts in time. Otherwise you just don't keep your starting job," he said. "I feel like I do what I need to do to get ready to play. But any quarterback that's a starter year after year, I promise you, they're putting work in – in the facility, on their own – otherwise it shows up and you lose your job."
Broncos coach John Fox was a little more forthright regarding Manning's work week.
"He doesn't take days off – his Tuesday is preparing and looking at tape, to doing what we call go back cut-ups. He prepares extremely hard," Fox said. "But from what I've seen on tape, Tony is playing terrific."
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday that Romo would be meeting with the coaching staff about game preparation in the early going of game week.
"He watches a lot of tape on his own and we sit and visit. That's typically more, not so much on Monday -- Monday is more about wrapping up yesterday's game," he said. "Then, this part of the day, we all start getting into the upcoming opponent. He'll spend time watching tape today, watching tape tomorrow and we'll visit at different points tomorrow."
Staying Upbeat [embedded_ad]
Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin knows the challenge presented ahead to him by facing Peyton Manning one week after failing to produce against the Chargers.
Kiffin didn't offer any secrets to containing the quarterback, whom he described as maybe the best at his position of all time, but Kiffin knows confidence is essential for his defensive group after last week's performance.
"It's a big challenge for us," Kiffin said. "We should be fired up. Like I said, I've got the 24-hour rule. I think this week it was 48 hours, but it's over with now. We walk in there Wednesday morning, let's go. What a great challenge."
Kiffin said the Cowboys can't allow one touchdown to get them out of their game, and they've also got to hang in as best as possible to minimize the long, explosive plays that have allowed Manning to throw 16 touchdown passes without an interception. He knows that will be a challenge, because there aren't any looks Manning's unfamiliar with.
"Come on, the guy hit seven (touchdowns) the first week of the season," Kiffin said. "Good God, let's go back and play."
Kiffin said Manning may be playing better now than he ever has in his career. After a week of struggles against Philip Rivers, this weekend will be the toughest challenge to date for the Cowboys' defensive backs, including Morris Claiborne, who had his struggles last week. With the Cowboys employing mostly the nickel package against the Broncos, he'll continue to find his way onto the field this week.
"He's been off a little bit," Kiffin said. "He was hurt, you know. I think that sets you back a little bit. I'm not making excuses. He's a great kid, a great young man. He's bounced back. He made some really good plays, too.