HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on a week with more intense preparation)
"This one we go about it just as if we would a normal regular-season game in terms of our preparation. We try to familiarize our younger guys with protocol, how things are done from a meeting standpoint. We do a pretty thorough job in terms of game planning, and it does change up just a little bit in terms of how we go about things during this time of year."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on starters playing a little more and if it is easier on them knowing they don't have to get everything done in a certain time frame)
"I don't think they relax any more. I still think they're trying to score on every drive, but it's always good to know that you have a little bit more time than you ordinarily may have had in some of the previous games."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on the difference in the club's preseason record and regular season)
"The thing about it, there's certainly not a time that you go into a ballgame without considering the score—because obviously you're trying to win every time you go out—but we also balance that with the fact that we're trying to also learn something about our squad, put some guys in positions where we can evaluate as well as sharpen our skills. And that's kind of how we look at it, we look at the performance more so than anything else, and in due time it will all come together."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on success in the short term maybe not being successful in the long term)
"I think that depends on the year. It just so happens that we haven't won a lot of games during the preseason, but there certainly could come a time when that could happen. The important thing is that we develop our team during that stretch and we do find a way to get better week in and week out."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on getting better in the long term by building depth, etc.)
"That's exactly right, because I think all in all, you're trying to build your squad. That's the idea. You're trying to make certain that you have guys in the right place, and you don't know unless they get out on the field. I think during practice you certainly develop your team, but I think you actually see what you can do in terms of performance and competition, and that's what these games are for."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on the benefit of playing an opponent like Green Bay on the road in the third preseason game)
"It's a great opportunity for us. They're a team that has a lot of talent. (They have) a defense that's well-regarded, guys that run around and make plays. They have a bevy of linebackers that certainly can play extremely well. Their front three, (Cullen) Jenkins and (B.J.) Raji, are as fine as defensive linemen as you'll see—big, strong guys that can move. (A) very good secondary that will press you and challenge you. So they give you some really good challenges all across the board. And then from an offensive standpoint, they have a lot of speed at wide receiver, tight end, that's as good as they come, and a good running back and an outstanding quarterback. We really do think we have a great challenge ahead of us. It's going to be a great atmosphere, playing that type of team in Lambeau Field, which is obviously a place that has a lot of tradition, very knowledgeable fans, and I'm certain it will be a raucous crowd."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if he expects to get Charlie Johnson, Dallas Clark or Jeff Saturday back this week)
"Just depends. We have a couple of days yet, so we'll filter it out as we go. We'll get a few guys back and we'll be missing a few, I think how it is every single week."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on TE-Brody Eldridge)
"He's progressing well. He's a guy that at this point has done a nice job on the line of scrimmage in terms of blocking. He's also shown the ability that he can catch the ball down the field as well, and he moves well. So I do think he's doing well, and I've been pleased with his progress."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if Brody Eldridge has a chance to be a complete TE)
"He appears to be. When you look at us systemically, we look for guys that can do a little bit of everything, because it's required, particularly as much as we do at the line of scrimmage. Oftentimes there's no telling what play we may be in, and we certainly don't want those audibles dictated by personnel. For the most part, we look for guys that can catch it, can run with it and can also block."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if Eldridge is a guy that could play FB, on an unbalanced line, etc.)
"He certainly has a lot of physical tools, and he can play a variety of spots and positions, but we don't want to overload him, either. This is a system that is not real easy to learn. It has its complexities, and it changes in a nanosecond. So we kind of like what he's doing right now, where he is right now. I think he has his hands full in that spot."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on Eldridge being very quiet, and if he has anything more to say to Coach than the media)
"He's rather quiet. He's rather reserved, and he's one of those guys that he likes to kind of show you what he's going to do on the field. He's not going to talk about it a whole lot, but he loves the game."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on what he has seen from DE-Jerry Hughes in two preseason games)
"Certainly I think all the physical things are obvious. He can run, he's strong, and he's developing is probably the next thing I would say. He has to learn just how to best use his skill set, and I think all those guys that have that pass rush ability have to find out what their niche is, have to find out what their knockout punch is, and then be able to develop a counter. I think he's working on that at this point."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on growing up in Wisconsin as a Bears fan and going to Lambeau Field Thursday)
"Even though back in those days when I was younger, everybody else in my family rooted for the Packers, I was a Bears fan. Other than when they played the Bears, I rooted for the Packers as well. It was just when they matched up against (Dick) Butkus and (Gale) Sayers and those guys is when I sat on the other side of the room. It's a great tradition. I think the entire state when we were growing up was affected by Coach (Vince) Lombardi and the things that he did. Everybody watched his team. Our Pop Warner coaches, back in those days, we did 100 up-downs and things of that nature, which they made popular. So all the way through our entire formative years, they were a big part of that. And in our area, they're still big, big fans. As a matter of fact, I got a call from my high school coach who said to me, 'Hey, this is the only game I can't root for the Colts.' He's always been a big Packers fan. They are loyal and a great fan base."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on Bob Sanders in his first game back)
"You can see that obviously he still has the speed and power that he's always had and looks good. I think he has a fresh outlook on things because I think he feels good physically; thus, you can kind of see it in his entire attitude. He's anxious to get out there and play. But just like anything else, first time out, you may not set the world on fire. But I do think he certainly got a good feel for what he has to do, and hopefully this week we'll get him a few more plays and get him comfortable."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on for Sanders is it just getting back into it and getting sharper?)
"Yes, and volume and plays and things of that nature. So we'll just kind of walk him along that avenue for a while."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on simulating a regular season game week schedule for this week's game at Green Bay)
"That's something we've always done. I think it does help everybody. The veterans and the coaches just remember what it is we do during the weekly routine. You don't want to get to that first week (and say), 'Oh yeah, I forgot that we normally do this on a Wednesday or on a Thursday.' It's good for me, it's good for the coaches and I know it's good for the young guys to give them an idea of how we game plan and what a Wednesday practice or a Thursday practice is like. The fact that we're going on the road gives us a good test to handle the crowd noise and playing against a really good team in Green Bay, it's a good situation."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on playing at Lambeau Field)
"I think it'll be a great test for everybody. Green Bay has great crowds no matter what the situation is, but I think it will be a good test. We have a lot of our games early in the season, including the opener, on the road. It's a good test for us, and I think we'll be able to face a lot of situations in this game; dealing with crowd noise, working against a number of different defenses. Green Bay really mixes it up, they are a blitz team, they play a lot of different looks. All of those things combined, it'll be tough to execute, but it will be good for our team to see those different things in the preseason."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if TE-Brody Eldridge surprised him with his pass catching ability)
"I certainly didn't know what to expect. I'm not sure what (Colts President) Bill (Polian) and the personnel group expected. We can't afford to have a guy that is just one dimensional, that all he can do is block. Defenses would key on that. That would be too obvious when you're bringing a guy in just to block on non goal-line and short-yardage situations. Obviously, blocking is a strength. That is what he did in college, playing a lot of offensive line. But he is continuing to develop in the passing game. He made a nice catch on the one crossing route the other night in tight coverage. I think he'll continue to grow and hopefully improve throughout the season, the more reps he gets. My guess is he hasn't had a lot of repetitions. He never threw a lot of routes or did one-on-one or a lot of seven-on-seven as a tight end. He was probably down there with the linemen blocking a different kind of one-on-one, one-on-one against a nose guard or a defensive end. I think he'll keep improving in that phase of the game."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on TE-Brody Eldridge catching 13 passes in four years of college)
"I saw that, but he's got good hands. He's got soft hands, I think. I think, just like anything, it's just different for him."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if TE-Brody Eldridge is quiet around him)
"I think he's pretty focused and pretty intense. He's trying to learn. We're throwing a lot at him. Like I've said before, rookies here, we don't really treat them like rookies. With mini-camps and the OTAs and training camp, we sort of expect them to be up to speed and know the plays and know them quickly. I think he's pretty diligent in his preparation. It seems like to me on the field out there he's thinking a lot and trying to figure out what it is he needs to do, which is what you want to see in a rookie, a guy that is conscientious and really trying to figure out the cerebral part of the game."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if it easier to play when you know you'll play more than one or two series of a game)
"Probably. I would think so, certainly against a team like Green Bay that we are kind of unfamiliar with. We played them a couple of years ago, although they've changed on defense since then. Sure, you want to go out there and score on that first drive, but you also know that sometimes it takes you a couple series to figure out what it is they are doing and get yourself on track. Hopefully, we can get some guys back that haven't played these past couple of games and get some game-timing with them. But I would agree with that. Knowing that you are going to stay in, you're not coming out the next series, however long we play, and it will be more than last week, that's certainly a more normal way to play and prepare."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on the team's poor record in regular season versus their ability to get off to very good starts in the regular season)
"It's hard to explain. I would think that Coach (Jim) Caldwell and Coach (Tony) Dungy before that, it's not their goal. I'm not saying they don't care about the score, but certainly our record has been pretty bad in the preseason. I think we are looking at certain things. I know we do experiment with certain people, certain plays. You're going to call certain plays that you want to get a look at it knowing it might not be the best play, but you want to get it on film and make an evaluation of certain people and players. Certainly, you're getting a lot of young guys and giving them a chance to play. They put a lot of young guys in the other night to see what they can do and make some evaluations. Hopefully that trend will continue for us. It doesn't guarantee it. The idea is always trying to get off to a good start in the regular season. We've done that in the past, but this is a new year and we'll have a challenge this year, as well."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if on any level the preseason record bothers him)
"No, it really doesn't. It's certainly more fun when you win the game, being in the locker room or on the plane ride. But I think the main thing is what we are we trying to accomplish in each game? Is it a certain play? A certain personnel grouping? A certain formation? Whatever it may be, that is usually what it has been for us. There are just some things we're doing a good job with, some things we need to improve on. Hopefully, we can take it a step further this week."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on RB-Joseph Addai's importance to the offense)
"Joe certainly allows us to do everything in our offense; to run the ball, to try to pound it in the middle, to run it outside, to put him out at receiver and let him run a full complement of routes. We feel like he can stay in and block any defensive player, whether it's a linebacker, sometimes a defensive end, sometimes a 3-4 linebacker that might be 260 pounds. It is a credit to Joe's versatility, and he's improved each year, getting better at certain phases. He's such a threat out of the backfield running routes, as well."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he thought he got enough of a break between last season and this season)
"I think we had enough of a break. We started the offseason a couple of weeks later. I don't know who he (Head Coach Jim Caldwell) talked to or what they said, but I think we had a good offseason. I think we had a good offseason attendance, good work in our mini-camps and OTAs, and I think training camp has been productive so far. We're still in that training camp mode, so we still need to make some strides and get a look at certain guys in different positions this camp. But it's been a good offseason. As far as what that means to the regular season, I have no idea. It doesn't guarantee anything, but I think we'll be ready to go come week one."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on what he thinks about the preseason schedule possibly being cut from four games to two games)
"I don't have to think about it this year. There are a lot of unknowns for 2011. I will share with you that C-Jeff Saturday said that with two preseason games he probably doesn't make a team. He probably doesn't get a chance to perform. Does RB-Dominic Rhodes make our team as an undrafted free agent? Does WR-Terrence Wilkins? If you go to two games, I guess starters would have to play more of each of those two games, so does a guy that hasn't gotten a lot of reps get a chance to go out there and return a punt for a touchdown or make a one-handed catch. You saw that guy (WR-Victor Cruz) for the Giants the other night caught three touchdowns in the first preseason game. Could the Giants have seen that in practice? I think that's the one thing I'm not sure they've totally looked at. Think about how many great players throughout NFL history, just on our team alone, who have been undrafted free agents. (LB-Gary) Brackett is one of them. I'm not sure if coaches can find out in two games. You say two games and the guy is probably going to get to play a total of maybe a half in those two games. There are some guys that look really good in practice that don't look real good in games, and there are a lot of guys that look so-so in practice and they get in games and all they do is make one-handed catches and diving tackles and whatever. My guess is that you'd lose some of that, which that would be a shame because you look at our team alone and how many players were undrafted and not a lot known about them, and they shined in the preseason and made a big impact. I think that will change."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on why undrafted free agents have had success here)
"I certainly think (Colts President) Bill (Polian) and his staff are finding certain guys that they think can fit here. They have a history of targeting certain guys, a guy that didn't get drafted because he went to a small school or he was injured, whatever it might be. They have targeted those guys, and those guys have been productive for us. Hopefully somewhat of the culture and the veterans leaders showing some of these guys how to work, but I give most of the credit to the player, the individual player, who has come in here and worked hard and has been given an opportunity and has gone out and taken advantage of that opportunity. Whether it's been any of those guys that I've mentioned in the past, there's a bunch of other guys that I'm not naming, but I give most of the credit to the player."