ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Peyton Manning's teammates are on pace to tie the 1984 Bears for the most sacks in NFL history - 72. The question Broncos fans are asking themselves is whether the 39-year-old quarterback will be standing by season's end to see it.
Manning's on pace to annihilate his own career high of 29 sacks set in 2001. He's been taken down 10 times already, putting him on pace for 40.
''There's no question about the old rule that a sack is always better than a turnover,'' Manning said Wednesday when the unbeaten Broncos (4-0) began preparing for their trip to Oakland (2-2) this weekend. ''... But it's not as easy thing to say that they got you.
''Sometimes, as I like to say, these guys are compensated well also. Sometimes they do get you, sometimes your guys are covered and sometimes they have you and you have to kind of take your medicine and try to live to play the next down.''
Or next series.
Integrating Manning's style with coach Gary Kubiak's concepts hasn't been a smooth ride for the Broncos, although the offense has come through in the clutch in each of Denver's four games so far.
Left tackle Ryan Clady's torn ACL back in May has proven pivotal. Rookie Ty Sambrailo was moved from right tackle to left tackle, and veteran Ryan Harris was signed in the spring. Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis was signed late in training camp and the O-line's first start together didn't come until the season opener against Baltimore.
''I know I've got five guys that are fighting for me, but at the same time ... I don't think it's a test out there to see how long they can hold up in pass protection,'' Manning said. ''I try to be fair to them. You try not to get too deep in the pocket, try not to hold the ball too long.''
Sambrailo injured his left shoulder two weeks ago at Detroit and the Broncos moved Harris to left tackle and inserted second-year pro Michael Schofield into the lineup on the right side Sunday against Minnesota. He's the third member of the O-line to get his first NFL snaps this season, joining Sambrailo and second-year center Matt Paradis.
Manning said nothing changes for him no matter the lineup.
''Everybody that's in there is in the National Football League, everybody is there for a reason,'' Manning said. ''They deserve to be there.''
He said Schofield had a solid debut and everybody picked up some of the slack to help him out.
''I think when you have to spend a lot of time giving the guy like a real pep talk, I think you're probably in trouble,'' Manning said. ''I think he'll know it, too: `OK, I heard you the first time. Why do you keep (saying), `Are you Ok? Are you Ok?' ... I know what it was like when I made my first start. I wanted everybody else around me to play really, really well to help me. You try to do the same thing.''
Notes: Raiders coach Jack Del Rio declined to say why he put Aqib Talib and not Chris Harris Jr. on Colts WR T.Y. Hilton in the playoffs last year when he was the Broncos defensive coordinator, a move that was heavily scrutinized. ''That's in the past. That's last year,'' Del Rio said in a conference call with Denver media. ''Let them match up however they want to match up going forward. What we did is in the books. I'm not going back and revisiting that.'' ... Kubiak said DE Derek Wolfe, who returned from a four-game suspension this week, should play more than half the snaps Sunday. ... SS T.J. Ward has gone from being suspended Week 1 to winning the AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. ''Best week ever,'' he said.
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