It seems like all anyone can talk about these days is Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ solid stable of receivers.
Well, the Broncos’ opponent this week has a very strong receiver, who was once one of Manning’s favorites.
Thirteen seasons in the NFL, Reggie Wayne made career catch No. 1,000 last week against San Diego. Only eight other players have reached that mark in NFL history. Of his 1,001 receptions, 787 of them came from Manning.
A first-round draft pick (30th overall) in 2001, the 6’0,” 200-pound receiver hasn’t slowed much with age or even with a new quarterback under center. Last season, Wayne had 106 catches for 1,355 and five touchdowns. He’s had better seasons in the past (with Manning), but it’s still extremely impressive that he’s able to perform at this kind of level, without Marvin Harrison receiving some attention. Through six games this season, Wayne has 33 catches for 453 yards and two touchdowns.
“They’ve got one of the great wide receivers in Reggie Wayne over the last decade who’s been tremendously explosive and productive in each of the last 12 or 13 years, whatever it is,” Jack Del Rio said. “I have a lot of respect for him.”
After giving up 14 receptions, 190 yards, and a touchdown to Justin Blackmon, Wayne will present a challenge for the Broncos, particularly because Andrew Luck is a better quarterback than Chad Henne any day of the week.
The good thing is the Broncos will have all their defensive starters back, including pass rushing sensation, Von Miller. That means that the Broncos’ secondary only has to contain Wayne for so long before Luck runs out of time in the pocket, unlike two weeks ago when Tony Romo looked like Michael Vick when it came to extending plays.
T.Y. Hilton is the team’s No. 2 receiver with 25 receptions for 385 yards and two scores.
Look for Champ Bailey to cover Wayne. It won’t be the most athletic matchup that you’ll ever see, but it will be one featuring a combined 28 years of experience. It will be a chess match for the ages, where whoever showcases the most intelligence will come out the winner.
“We probably have more in common than all these other guys I’m going to be covering this season,” Bailey said. I’m sure I’ll call him ‘old man’ at some point throughout the game.”