Oh, to be a fly on the wall for this brainstorming session: Peyton Manning and position coach Greg Knapp writing down the quarterback's goals for this season. "I'm on pace for a couple of them now," Manning said, drawing laughs. Ya think? Manning won't reveal those goals, of course. So we won't know if 16 touchdowns (and zero interceptions) through four games was one of the handwritten goals. Since it's never been done in NFL history, safe to say it probably wasn't. "I'm not doing four-game summaries of the season," Manning said. Each game presents a new challenge, though, and the challenge Sunday is the pass rush of the Cowboys. All eyes are on Broncos left tackle Chris Clark, who has taken over for Ryan Clady and produced superb numbers. Clark was one of six tackles to produce a 100-percent pass blocking rating in Week 4, according to Pro Football Focus.
Long before he signed a $119-million contract, before he became the polarizing face of the Cowboys, before he dated Jessica Simpson and married Ms. Missouri, Tony Romo was a college kid living in an Illinois cornfield. The quarterback attended Eastern Illinois in Charleston, alma mater of Mike Shanahan and home of the original Jimmy John's sandwich shop. Romo's college jersey - No.?17 - now hangs in Marty's, one of the college bars that highlights Charleston. He was a frat guy, a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity, and quite popular on the small-school campus. Why the Sunday history lesson on Tony Romo? As a Division I-AA quarterback prospect, Romo went undrafted. A decade later he signed for $55 million in guaranteed money - the richest deal in Cowboys history. Good story, right?
The football circus that is ManningMania brings its banners and pompoms to AT&T Stadium for the first time. How does an unfamiliar stadium impact his performance? "Well, I think I hadn't played in the new one in New York, as well," Manning said. In other words, not much. That's the good news for the Broncos. Here's the bad news for the Cowboys: everything else. The Cowboys defense looked like a bad fire drill in losing to the Chargers. Philip Rivers threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns. If Rivers does that, what will Peyton do? The Peyton circus extends to Broncos headquarters at Dove Valley, too. On Wednesdays, when Manning is made available to media, the head count of media almost doubles. "They are playing offensive football about as well as it's ever been played," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.