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Colts Player Quotes 12/31/03

COLTS PLAYER QUOTES 12/31/03 QB-PEYTON MANNING (on how he feels going into the playoffs against Denver) “Defensively, we need to get them off the field. When we are on the field, we need to stay on the field.



QB-PEYTON MANNING (on how he feels going into the playoffs against Denver)

"Defensively, we need to get them off the field. When we are on the field, we need to stay on the field. We need to convert third downs. I thought they played extremely well. I think we played very well. Obviously, they deserved to win. You don't get a second chance at a team very often. The key for us is to get better this week, correct the mistakes we made in the first game and just play better football this time around."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on the time of possession difference in the first Denver game)

"That is something we will never know. We need to play better. Defensively, we need to get the ball back, create turnovers. Offensively, we didn't run the ball very well. We were a little bit one dimensional. We tried to throw the ball, the score dictated that a little bit. It was one of those things Let's say that we do have more time of possession this week – if we don't play better, if we don't play pitch and catch, if we don't block better up front it could be the same result. We just have to play better. The first game, it was pretty much handed to us all the way around. It is up to us to be better this time."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on Denver's defense)

"They are a team that changes up their looks. They are a zone blitz team. They are very well coached. Their defensive coordinator studies what you do and tries to take away some of things you like to do. Al Wilson is the kind of guy in the middle that tries to get everybody lined up. He does a good job of that. It simply comes down to execution. When you are in the playoffs you are going to have some different looks, some new blitzes, some new plays but you are not going to win a game on trick plays and trick defenses. It comes down to who can block better, who can tackle better and who can make more plays. The first time around they did a better job."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on his legacy and if it bothers him that he is 0-3 in the playoffs)

"It's the Colts as a team, we haven't done well. For us to do it this time, we need to play better. For us to win, I need to do my job well, at a high level. It's just a fact, I don't hide from it. It is something I certainly would like to change. The key in this whole thing is one game at a time. The key is to play well and to try to keep advancing. All I am excited about is we have another opportunity this year. I am proud of this team for fighting back. It was a pretty devastating loss last year in the playoffs. It was the kind of game that did bury a lot of teams from last year that were in the playoffs. We are back. We have another shot. Hopefully, we can do better."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on how the game changes in the playoffs)

"It certainly is more intense, but it is not a whole lot more intense than going to Nashville to play the Titans for essentially the conference championship or playing the Patriots here when you are both 9-2 essentially for home field, or playing Denver a couple of weeks ago. It is more intense, but I think they are all intense. Obviously, there is no tomorrow if you come up short. There are no bad teams or bad players in the playoffs. Denver may be one of the best teams in the playoffs. It is going to start fast for us. We will certainly give our situation the respect it deserves but the problem for the young guys is letting it be over-hyped. Then, all of a sudden, they are frozen and not as quick to react. You have to go out there and play like you normally do."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on the improvement on RB-Egerrin James this year from last year)

"I think comparison for Edgerrin is where he was in 1999 and 2000. Not quite back to that. He sure looked good to me against Houston. He hit the holes fast, was running over guys. Like he was before, at his best in the third and fourth quarters. For us to have a chance this Sunday, he is going to have to be a big part of it. When I say he, that includes the offensive line, the tight ends and receivers blocking for him like they did at Houston. That was something that was very evident with him having some big runs for us. Against Denver, we need to run the ball better than we did in the first game to open up the passing game.

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if the problems the Colts had with Denver in the first game will add pressure on him to put up big numbers early)

"That is the thing we have to be careful about. Certainly, it is our job to score more points than them but we have to be patient. When no one is open, we just can't throw one up for grabs. We have to play the field position game. It was frustrating against Houston to throw an incompletion on third down with four minutes to play. But we backed them up with a punt, got a turnover and took it down to the last minute. You have to play the game all the way out. You have to trust your defense to make the big stop at the right time. Those guys are challenged this weekend. Denver's offense kind of had their way with us the first time around. You can feel the urge to score points, but when you are playing a good defense in Denver, and Al Wilson is a top linebacker for a reason. Hope your guys are open, but if they are not you have to try it again the next series."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on his confidence in the offensive players)

"I have a lot of confidence in them. I know how good Denver's offense is. When I am playing against Denver I feel like we have to score a lot. Denver has a competent offense. They run the ball extremely well; Jake (Plummer) makes a lot of plays. When you are in the playoffs you have to have trust in all three phases of your team."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on learning from previous playoff games)

"Each game is different. The Titans game was kind of back and forth, couple of plays here and there didn't go our way. The Dolphins game, say what you want, we should have won that game in overtime. Last year's game was kind of a story in itself. Between the three, I want to play well this week."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on stopping the pressure that Denver brought from the last game)

"We have to be a little firmer up front. We made a change last week against Houston – Tupe Peko played in place of Steve Sciullo (at right guard). At the same time, I have to do a good job getting us into the right protections. They have an excellent pass rush and we have to block it better. At the same time, if the score is closer, we don't have to be in a passing mode. We can be more two-dimensional."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if Denver has the mental edge)

"I really don't know what their frame of mind is right now. I know what our frame of mind is – we feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be in the playoffs. We just want to be better than we were the first time. Hopefully, that is good enough to win. We have to be better. We have to make more plays."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on John Elway's reputation of being a quarterback who couldn't win the big one before he won the Super Bowl, and if he takes solace in that)

"I can't do anything about it. It is what it is. I know that I wouldn't want to be playing any other position. I love all the good things that come with it. The chance to touch the ball every single play. I have to take the criticism. I feel I can handle that. I don't try to hide from it. We have a chance this year to try and win a championship. I hope to play this game as long as John Elway did, as long as Dan Marino did. I just want to be better every year and be in the playoffs every year."

QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if the Jets game in last year's playoffs is ancient history)

"Yeah, I think so. I looked at it like it was a new season. We have a new team, we have

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