Peyton Manning: Tamme keys Denver Broncos offense

By Kevin Patra
Updated: Dec. 25, 2012 at 09:22 a.m.

When Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos in the offseason, team President John Elway started collecting some of the quarterback's former teammates.

Brandon Stokely is on old Manning reliable and currently one of four Broncos with more than 40 receptions (42) and has 495 receiving yards.

But Manning said the key to the Broncos offense -- and by corollary his MVP candidacy -- over the 10-game winning streak has been tight end Jacob Tamme.

"So much for us, in what we do, is how do they play Tamme," Manning said, via the Denver Post. "Some teams treat him like a receiver and some teams treat him like a tight end, so you kind of find that out, see how they handle him in the formation. He kind of makes them, the way he plays and how he plays, have that discussion and we see where that takes us."

Tamme burst onto the scene with the Indianapolis Colts in 2010 when one of Manning's favorite targets, tight end Dallas Clark, injured his wrist. Manning said Tamme's versatility puts pressure on the defense, forcing mismatches for himself, one of his teammates or opening up the running game.

"Tamme is essentially a slot guy, I guess that's how I look at him," Manning said. "But he's bigger than a lot of receivers and he runs good routes, catches the ball. So, defenses have to have that discussion about how to handle him."

If fellow tight end Joel Dreessen catches one pass in Sunday's finale, it will be the first time in Broncos history with five players with 40 or more catches in a single season, according to the Post. Manning has always been known for spreading the ball around, and in his 12th 4,000-yard passing season he is guiding one of the most dynamic and consistent offenses in the NFL.