By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun
9:22 AM EDT, September 3, 2013
Ravens wide receiver Brandon Stokley spent four seasons with quarterback Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and the two reunited last year for one season in Denver. Like Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell and tight end Dallas Clark, Stokley has great familiarity with Manning.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he feels comfortable this week giving Ravens teammates advice on how to defend the 12-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Frankly, he just doesn’t know how much good that would do.
“That’s the hard thing with Peyton. He changes things so much,” Stokley said Monday. “He’ll have a lot changed up. Once you think you got something down, he’ll switch it up on you. That’s when you really pay the price with a touchdown against you. I don’t want to be responsible for that.”
Stokley laughed as he said it, though it’s clear that his focus is on the Ravens’ offense and his accelerated effort to gain chemistry with his new quarterback, Joe Flacco.
“When you’re playing Peyton, you know that you have to be really good on the other side of him,” Stokley said. “Offensively, you’re going to have to score some points because he’s going to get his points. We know on offense that we’re going to have to play a very good game.”
Stokley, the 37-year-old who played the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens, signed with them Aug. 11, giving him just over three weeks to learn their offense ahead of Thursday’s NFL season opener.
In the preseason, Stokley caught three passes for 43 yards. He’s expected to be used in the slot as the Ravens’ third wide receiver.
“I’d like to be a little bit further along. I’d like to have had the whole offseason but that’s not the case,” Stokley said. “I played catch-up as much as possible, I studied a lot. I’ve gotten a lot of help from the other receivers and Joe. It is what it is. I’m doing my best to know my stuff and I think I do.”
With Manning and the Broncos last year, Stokley caught 45 passes for 544 yards and five touchdowns while playing in 15 games and starting nine. However, he was not brought back to Denver, where he played from 2007 to 2009 and again last year, as the Broncos signed former New England Patriots standout Wes Welker to serve as their slot receiver.
But Stokley said that doesn’t really provide any extra motivation.
“I guess I might be kind of used to it now,” said the veteran of five different organizations. “It is a little bit different because that is my home. That’s where I’m going to live. In that aspect, it is a little bit different. But in the NFL, if you’ve been around long enough, you’re used to change and that’s just part of it.”
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