INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) -- Peyton Manning knows the pitfalls that await a rookie quarterback. That's why the Indianapolis Colts quarterback is such an advocate for learning on the job.
Last season, Atlanta's Matt Ryan, the top draft pick in 2008, had almost immediate success, earning league Rookie of the Year honors as he passed for 3,440 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading his team to the NFC playoffs.
Ryan's case, however, was the exception. Many rookie quarterbacks struggle early. Some are relegated to the bench, learn from afar as more experienced players line up behind center.
This season, Detroit's Matthew Stafford and the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez, the top two quarterback prospects from the 2009 draft, are fighting to be in the starting lineup when the regular season begins.
Manning, a three-time league Most Valuable Player, says that's a good thing.
He used the experiences of his younger brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, to illustrate his point. Eli Manning sat for 10 games and started for the last six of his rookie season.
"What he learned in those six that he played far outweighed what he learned in the 10 on the sidelines," Peyton Manning said Tuesday. "He said that you just can't quite tell just how fast these defensive players are and just how confusing the blitzes are. And so, that sorts of reinforced kind of what I thought, that the best way to learn is to play."
The Colts quarterback said both he and Eli came into the league under similar circumstances as Stafford and Sanchez. All four were high first-round draft picks going to teams with new coaching staffs. Peyton Manning said that helped to ease his transition into the NFL.
"I think it's an advantage because you can know the system as well as all the other veterans," Manning said. "That's kind of a benefit to a rookie quarterback."
He'll get a close-up look at Stafford on Saturday as the Colts travel to Detroit for their third preseason game.
"I remember how uncomfortable it was coming in to my third preseason game (as a rookie)," Manning said. "I don't recall the stats, but I know that they weren't very pretty."
For the record, Manning completed 11-of-21 passes for 123 yards and threw two interceptions in a 33-3 loss to San Diego on Aug. 22, 1998. The winning quarterback in that game was fellow rookie Ryan Leaf, who connected on 15-of-24 passes for 172 yards and ran for a touchdown.
"I think if you don't play, I think you're going to have that uncomfortable game whatever it is you do," he said. "I think the sooner you do it, the better off you're going to be in the long run."