Peyton Manning: 'Extremely Tough' To Face Steelers Defense

Aug. 30, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback (18) Peyton Manning against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Peyton Manning era begins Sunday in Denver against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Manning spoke Thursday about his experience negotiating Dick LeBeau's defenses.

The Peyton Manning era in Denver kicks off Sunday when the Denver Broncos face the Pittsburgh Steelers. Manning has played Pittsburgh three times since Dick LeBeau was made the Steelers' defensive coordinator in 2004, and Manning spoke highly of LeBeau's defenses during an interview on KOA radio in Denver on Thursday.

Specifically, Manning spoke to the discipline of LeBeau's defenses. From a transcript of the interview:

"They're always well coached, they're always disciplined and you very rarely see guys running wide open because of a missed assignment. The guys understand the defense and play it well. That makes it extremely tough to move the ball against."

Manning was 2-1 in three games with Indianapolis against LeBeau-led Steeler defenses. The one loss was in the AFC Divisional playoffs on Jan. 15, 2006, a 21-18 Steelers win en route to their Super Bowl XL championship. Manning and the Colts had beaten the Steelers earlier that season, 26-7.

In his three games against LeBeau's defenses, Manning is 58 of 103 for 775 yards, six touchdowns and one interception.

In the interview with KOA, Manning said he wasn't able to predict how he'd feel running on to the field Sunday night after missing all of last season with a neck injury. More from the interview:

"I could probably give you a better answer after the game on Sunday. Just right now being in a heavy preparation mode and there's so much to prepare for when you're playing against this opponent so really hard to say, but I know Opening Day has always been exciting for me to play in and for all players it's the closest thing I think to a playoff atmosphere in the regular season and I would expect that same thing on Sunday night."

The Broncos kick off against the Steelers at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.

For more news and notes on the Broncos, visit Mile High Report. For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain. Head over to SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub for more happening around the league. Also be sure to check us out on YouTube.

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