Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has the unenviable task this week of preparing his team to face Peyton Manning. But it seems like Del Rio just can't seem to stay away from the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
When Del Rio got his first head coaching job in Jacksonville in 2003, he would face Peyton Manning and the Colts twice a season. He spent nine seasons in Jacksonville, facing Manning 16 times over that span, which is probably more than any head coach in the NFL. Manning holds an 11-5 record against Del Rio as a head coach.
In 2012, Manning was released by the Colts and Del Rio was fired as head coach of the Jaguars. And they both headed to the Broncos, Del Rio as defensive coordinator.
Over the past three seasons, Del Rio's defense had to face Peyton in practice every day, and he witnessed Manning's weekly preparation routine. He also enjoyed the success Manning brought the Broncos, with three-straight trips to the playoffs and a berth in Super Bowl XLVIII.
"I appreciated having him on my team," Del Rio told Sirius XM NFL radio. "The guy is an unbelievable competitor. He's obviously had a storied career, but the reason, I mean the preparation, the work ethic, the countless hours that he spends going over tape, the number of assistants that he has working on breaking down film and going over every signal he's ever seen and every defensive call, every blitz. He's just a machine. He's really, really incredible in the way he prepares and so I have a great deal of respect for him."
As if he just can't get enough of Peyton, he is now once again head coach of a team that has to face him twice a season. The first of those meeting happens Sunday when the Broncos come to Oakland.
"Now it will be much like it was when I was in Jacksonville, we're going after him," Del Rio continued. "We want to take him down. He's really good at what he does and we know we'll have a heck of a challenge, but the competitive part kicks in now. We're back on opposite sidelines, now it's time to go compete."
While Del Rio said this week that he is "very familiar" with the Broncos and Peyton Manning in particular, he doesn't see that giving him or the Raiders any kind of advantage on Sunday, adding that Peyton is "like an offensive coordinator with the computer in his head." Which I guess means Del Rio's job will be to throw a wrench in that machine and disrupt his circuits. He knows how he's wired, so that could give the Raiders a shot.