Updated: 11-1-12, 10 a.m.
Peyton Manning has thrown 121 passes over the last 14 quarters against the Bengals without an interception, dating back to the second half of the Colts' wild 45-37 victory at Paul Brown Stadium in 2005.
But two guys the Bengals have now, safeties Reggie Nelson and Nate Clements, have picked off Manning in a previous life. Both got the wily veteran as rookies. Clements picked off Manning for his first career interception in his first NFL road game for the Bills for a 48-yard touchdown in Indianapolis. Six years later Nelson got him for the Jaguars, although he didn't take it to the house.
"My first pick and it was to the house, too," Clements mused before Wednesday's practice. "I was guarding Marvin Harrison and it was an out route. I kind of anticipated it. I knew it was coming."
But Clements didn't have much time to savor it. Manning still picked on the rookie.
"The next series they gave me the same look and I'm thinking, 'I'm about to get it again.' They got me with an out and up. He probably saw how I anticipated that route," he recalled.
Clements is going to be helping first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick feel his way around Manning if he indeed makes his debut Sunday against the Broncos in the 1 p.m. game at Paul Brown Stadium. But Kirkpatrick already figures he'll get the same treatment Clements got 11 years ago.
"If I am out there, I already know he's going to see the weak link," Kirkpatrick said. "He's going to picture me as the weak link because it's my first game out there. So I'm pretty sure he's going to try to come over my way."
As complicated as Manning makes it look at the line of scrimmage, Clements says it's really quite simple.
"He's a very smart guy. He's got a real high football IQ," Clements said. "It basically comes down to execution. He's going to know what to expect, what to anticipate as far as defensive looks he gets from opponents."
Clements believes Denver's offense has a "totally different philosophy" than what Manning had in Indy.
"There are some similarities, but it's not exactly it," Clements said. "One thing I will say that stands out to me is that the run game, as far as personnel and the way they're getting after it, is starting to gradually improve."
Clements says the Broncos may not run the fastest no-huddle offense the Bengals have seen this year, but it's unique because Manning is so adept at the line of scrimmage. He says if the trend a few years ago was the Wildcat, then this year it's the no-huddle and he says the Bengals are used to it since they run against it every day in practice.
"It's no secret he wants to have as much as time as he can so he can get the defense to show its hand so he can get the offense into the best play possible," Clements said.
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» With no extension announced Wednesday, the indication is the Bengals are close to selling out Sunday's game. The announcement figures to come Thursday, the normal 72-hour local TV deadline.
» Also Wednesday, Lewis said wide receiver Marvin Jones (knee) has a slim chance of playing Sunday and defensive tackle Pat Sims (hamstring) is returning to practice for the first time this season. Jones was the only player not practicing when the Bengals took the field inside PBS on a dank, rainy 44-degree day.
Jones and defensive end/SAM backer Dontay Moch (illness) didn't practice. Running back Brian Leonard (rib), who missed the Steelers game last week, was limited. Center Jeff Faine (hamstring), who sat out last week's two workouts after missing the second half of the Steelers game, went full. Sims didn't appear on the report.
The only player on the Broncos report under DNP or limited was cornerback Tracy Porter, battling an illness the past few weeks and he was limited. Quarterback Peyton Manning, who banged the thumbnail on his throwing hand Sunday night, went full.
» Wide receiver A.J. Green said he began going up against Kirkpatrick a lot more last week when the club stepped up Kirkpatrick's snaps.
"He's long, he's physical, and he can run," Green said. "I can't wait to get him back out there."
» The Broncos gave up no sacks and one hit on Manning last Sunday night in New Orleans and was named John Madden's offensive line of the week.