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Peyton Manning: Denver hopes he's 'comfortable' as NFL preseason kicks off

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Manning should see a bit more field time in later preseason games, but teams will be less concerned with winning and more focused on solidifying rosters and trying out new schemes on offense and defense.

But anyone who says Manning’s Bronco debut won’t be discussed and dissected to pieces is kidding themselves.

Second only to his Broncos predecessor, Tim Tebow, now jogging shirtless through another training camp a continent away, there was no bigger sideshow than Peyton Manning during the NFL offseason.  Even before he began taking snaps for the Broncos in May, the Internet was abuzz with daily musings about his arm strength, rehab, potential secret neck surgeries, and even his new house in Denver.

The most intense speculation, though, has been about what will happen when he gets tackled again for the first time. While a great many fans and sportswriters are optimistic that Manning is back to his old pre-neck-injury self, just as many think one huge hit could knock him out for the rest of the season (and potentially end his career).

 Elway, for one, says it’s a non-issue: “I’m not afraid about him getting hit. I’m really not,” the former Broncos’ QB said. “Everybody's worried about whether he can take a hit or not,  [but] he wouldn't be on that football field if he couldn't take a hit.”

Manning, who gets rid of the ball quickly and has made a special skill out of thoroughly confusing opposing defenses, doesn’t get tackled much. So given his limited playing time, it may not happen in tonight’s game, or the next, or the next. But when it does, we’ll have a better sense of what to expect from the Peyton Manning era in Denver.

What else to watch for Thursday night:

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