Clark caught 393 passes from Manning over nine seasons in Indianapolis. Stokley snagged 184 passes during four years in Indianapolis and one in Denver.
They’ve seen first-hand what Manning can do, and know they’re going to have to play well to beat him Thursday night.
“He’s probably the best quarterback to play the game,” Stokley said. “We’re going to have to play a really good game and score a lot of points, because he’s going to get his points.”
“I love the defense we have, but Peyton is special,” added Clark. “Everyone in the league knows that.”
Behind Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, Clark and Stokley are two of Manning’s favorite all-time targets. The group had a special bond during their time together.
Manning said Clark was one of his favorite teammates and a great player during their years together in Indianapolis. Clark said facing Manning is just like going against any other former teammate. The two also squared off last year when Clark was in Tampa Bay.
“People move around so much these days,” Clark said. “People’s careers go in different directions, and you just respect and enjoy the moments you had.”
Now Clark and Stokley are looking to make an impact with their new quarterback,
Stokley seemed to quickly gain a rapport with Flacco. The two connected on three passes for 43 yards in the third, most realistic, preseason game. Stokley sat out the fourth preseason game.
Clark, on the other hand, did not show much preseason chemistry with Flacco. Clark played well into the second half of the fourth preseason game. He was out there trying to soak up more of the offense. Clark caught one pass for four yards in the preseason.
“It’s coming,” Clark said. “Some things I feel real good with, but there are some things … it’s coming. Every day I feel more and more comfortable. You want to be out there not thinking at all.”
Stokley and Clark have been putting in long hours trying to catch up. They were signed on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, respectively.
“Those two guys are in here early and they stay late,” Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell said.
“You see them in the meeting rooms by themselves often, they’re working, trying to get a little bit better, working with the coaches, trying to make certain that they catch up on things that maybe they may be a little bit behind. But I think in both cases they’re fitting in well.”