Cards coaches know Manning as well as anyone does

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

DENVER (AP) -- One touchdown throw shy of 500 and nine short of Brett Favre's NFL record, Peyton Manning has taken stock of all the men who helped him get this far.

Not just the likes of Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker.

But also the linemen such as Jeff Saturday and Ryan Clady and all the coaches he's worked with in his 17 NFL seasons.

Manning will see two of his greatest influences on the opposite sideline Sunday when Denver (2-1) hosts Arizona (3-0).

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was his first QB coach when Manning arrived in the NFL in 1998. And Arians' right-hand man, Tom Moore, was Manning's offensive coordinator during his 13 seasons in Indy.

Manning went 3-13 his rookie year, when he set a league record with 28 interceptions.

"But I learned a lot going through that," Manning said. "Bruce was always real, just kept coaching me, was positive with me and he and I had a lot of tough Mondays."

Manning and the Colts turned things around by 1999 and they reached the playoffs in 11 of the next 12 seasons. "So, I'll be forever indebted to Bruce," Manning said. "He taught me a lot of fundamentals in those first three years that I still use today."

Arians would leave Indy after Manning's third season, but Moore stayed with him until Manning was cut loose in 2012 following four neck surgeries.

"We were both kind of proud of the fact that we were able to stay together that long because we both did our jobs well and worked hard at our jobs," Manning said.

Manning isn't worried that Arians and Moore know him better than any other coaching duo he's faced in his career. He's more concerned with the likes of Larry Foote, Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie.

"It's still about the players on the field that you're real concerned with and Arizona has plenty of those to think about," Manning said. "There are always measures that you take when you're playing against an ex-coach or ex-player that you try to protect yourself with.

"It's still about football and kind of block-and-tackle and play pitch-and-catch. So you certainly take it into account, but if you're so worried about a play they might know and you don't throw a good pass verses Patrick Peterson then I think you're hurting yourself."

Other things to keep an eye on when the Cardinals, who are 1-7-1 against the Broncos, make their first visit to Denver since 2002:

CARDS QB: Drew Stanton or Carson Palmer? It doesn't matter to the Broncos, who said the uncertainty surrounding the Cardinals' QB situation was Arizona's problem, not theirs.

"They don't change their offense," Denver coach John Fox said. "They're going to run the same plays."

Palmer saw another specialist during the week about the damaged nerve after his injured throwing shoulder regressed.

Palmer might do well to reach out to Manning, who's thrown 100 TD passes in Denver after missing all of 2011 with a nerve problem in his neck that required a series of surgeries.

"I am always willing to talk about it," Manning said.

MANNING'S MILESTONE: There hasn't been much clamoring among Manning's targets to catch TD No. 500.

"No, I haven't heard that. It's such a big game coming off the bye week and it's a tough stretch for us," Manning said. "Whatever we have to do to win this football game, if Montee (Ball) wants to run for five touchdowns and we don't throw any and we win the game I can assure you I'm fine with that."

Chances are the touchstone touchdown will come Sunday, however. The last time Manning didn't throw a TD pass was on Nov. 13, 2010, against Cincinnati.

WELKER MILESTONE: Welker is about to make history himself. He's two receptions shy of tying former Broncos great Rod Smith (849) for most catches by an undrafted player.

"Definitely cool," Welker said. "To be in the same sentence as Rod Smith is a cool deal. I'll take those types of deals any time I can get them."

FULL STRENGTH: Broncos nose tackle Terrance Knighton said getting weakside linebacker Danny Trevathan back this weekend from a broken leg is like getting several players to return to action.

"I think with Danny you get everything from him, as far as a blitzer, a cover guy, a guy that can take on blocks, a guy that can play in space. He's the all-around package," Knighton said. "It allows your defense to be more exotic and do more things, and it's just another guy that quarterbacks have to worry about besides T.J. (Ward) blitzing or DeMarcus (Ware) coming off the edge. You've got to worry about Danny now, so he brings a lot more versatility to our defense."

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