In all reality, this week isn’t about Peyton Manning, just as the last four haven’t been either. But that’s easier said then done. Even when the Broncos are preparing for their biggest game of the year, a game featuring two backup quarterbacks in Brock Osweiler and A.J. McCarron, the headlines and intrigue are dominated by No. 18.

On Saturday night, the Huffington Post reported that Al Jazeera will be releasing a documentary this Sunday night where they dive deep into the world of performance enhancing drug use of athletes world wide; apparently, Manning is one of their main targets.

Whatever comes of that, though, I don’t want to focus on right now; at this point, anything we say is pure speculation.

On the field, though, Manning continues to work himself back into a normal practice routine, and the press are taking notice, upping their Manning-related questions to head coach Gary Kubiak from a lot to a lot.

Here’s what Kubiak had to say:

On if Manning is at the same stage he’s been the last few weeks

“Yes, exactly. I’ll be a part of his big workout on Saturday. We film it the first couple of days like we did those particular weeks. Saturday when we come back, I’ll go over and be a part of it, but it’s been good.”

This question was asked back on Thursday, and it leads into Kubiak’s responses on Saturday. Because the Broncos are playing on Monday, Saturday practice is essentially the Friday practice, the defining practice for any injured player hoping to get on the field.

Manning was already ruled out of Monday’s game versus the Bengals, but by Kubiak saying Saturday’s practice was “big,” he may have let slip that No. 18 was making some real improvement.

The reaction to calling Manning’s workout “big”

“Yeah, I know. I need to shut up. It was a workout. It was a Friday workout. It was good. They were all good workouts this week. He probably worked harder today than he did the other two days, in all honesty, but it was a real good workout.”

Again, this question came on Sunday in response to Kubiak’s Thursday answer, but it gets down to the same thing: No, Kubiak doesn’t want to put any expectations on a Peyton Manning return, but yes, he is closer than he’s been in weeks.

On how Manning looked during Saturday workouts

“Yeah, that was good. It went really well. He had a good week, worked really hard this morning—well, he worked every morning, but worked out really hard this morning conditioning wise and throwing wise. I was over there and saw it firsthand. I thought it was a really good week, so real positive.”

There are a lot of gray areas and question marks in the whole Peyton Manning injury saga, but one thing is abundantly clear: The Sheriff wants back on the field, and he’s going to do everything he can to make sure he does.

Now, I have no idea when or if Manning will be healthy enough to supplant Brock Osweiler — nobody does — but I do know that he believes that if he can get himself on the field, he can win football games.

On if this week’s workout will determine Manning’s practice schedule next week

“No. We had a good week. Let’s go from there, okay?”

Here’s where Kubiak begins to quiet the media’s hope for a Manning return.

On if the the goal is for Manning to play again

“There is nothing—it’s just, ‘Let’s go. Let’s have a good week. Let’s work.’ That’s what he did. I won’t go beyond that.”

The Denver Broncos are keeping their doors open. They don’t want to say Manning is the starter when he returns because they don’t want Osweiler worrying about his job, especially if it does end up being his to keep. And they don’t want to say it’s Osweiler’s job going forward because that could create an explosive rift between them and Manning, which wouldn’t be good if Osweiler were to get injured or play poorly and the ol’ man was forced back onto the field.

If the Broncos do have an answer, we won’t know it until they’re forced, tooth and nail, to tell us.