Highlighting an offseason marked with blockbuster trades, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan were each acquired with the hope of being the final piece to a championship puzzle in Denver and Indianapolis, respectively.
The arrival of each star quarterback is sure to bring lofty expectations.
Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning, who delivered Super Bowl rings to both the Broncos and Colts franchises, knows a thing or two about navigating the pressure that awaits Wilson and Ryan. Manning believes they are well-equipped to handle what comes their way.
"I mean, look, obviously when you play quarterback in the NFL there's certainly expectations. I think Russell and Matt, they have high expectations for themselves," Manning said at the annual 'Manning Passing Academy' on Friday. "They want to work together with the team, get on the same page and want to help the team win and do their part. So, I think both of them will handle that well."
Wilson joins a Broncos team that hasn't seen the playoffs since Manning called it a career after winning Super Bowl 50. The six-year playoff drought amounted to the Broncos trading multiple first-round picks and key players for the services of Wilson, who led the Seahawks to eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons at the helm, including a Super Bowl win in 2013. Wilson, 33, is the biggest upgrade at QB for the Broncos since landing Manning ahead of the 2012 season.
Following the Colts' dreadful end to the 2021 season, which concluded out of the playoffs based on a Week 17 loss to the league-worst 3-14 Jaguars, Indianapolis traded for Ryan with the hope of a veteran's consistency bringing stability to the position. It's a repeated scenario for the Colts, who have brought in veteran QBs the last three offseasons with a capable roster at their disposal. Ryan, 37, brings 14 seasons of his experience to a roster that remains strong.
To no one's surprise, Manning advised both Wilson and Ryan as they made their way to his former teams.
"I talked to both of them kinda during the process and tried to be a resource as I try to be for all quarterbacks," Manning said. "For Matt in particular, he kind of mentioned that Atlanta was looking for possibly a trade and he was asking about Indy. I just kind of really liked that match. I thought it would be great for Matt in this second chapter for him, and I thought it would be really good for the Colts, who I think are really close and have a lot of pieces and just could really use a veteran leader. He and Frank Reich have really hit it off. And the same with Russell, right? It's a new chapter for him. Broncos fans and players are hungry -- we've been in a little bit of a drought the past few years and it's time to get the Broncos back to where they're supposed to be."
The pressure to succeed has yet to even fully emerge in late June, but Wilson and Ryan are doing their due diligence in the meantime. The presence of both veteran QBs was constant throughout OTAs as they got accustomed to their new squads, which is sure to resonate well among their new teammates.
The Broncos and Colts are scheduled to begin training camp on July 26.