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Adam Vinatieri surpasses two milestones and gets league recognition, Jacob Tamme becomes a focal point and Wednesday quotes.


'I'VE BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME'The NFL announced on Wednesday that Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri was named the AFC Special Teams Player-of-the-Week for the 11th time in his career, his third with the Colts, after his 11-point performance in Indianapolis' 23-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday.

Vinatieri hit three field goals from 47, 28 and 23 yards, and in doing so, surpassed Eddie Murray's 352 field goals for a total of 355 in his career. It moved Vinatieri into 11th place in NFL history.

With his 11 points, Vinatieri also became the 12th kicker to surpass 1,600 career-kicking points. Vinatieri ranks third in the NFL this season among kickers with 78 points, connecting on 17-of-19 field goals and is a perfect 27-of-27 in PATs.

"It just means I've been around a long time," Vinatieri said of the achievement. "I've been able to be out there a lot. I've been around a lot of great athletes and, obviously, I never step on the field unless our offense moves the ball down and gives me an opportunity to trot out there and try to put some extra points on (the board). I've been extremely fortunate to play on a great team for a lot of years. It feels great, but hopefully there is a lot more of those yet to come."

Vinatieri spoke not only about being named Special Teams Player-of-the-Week on Wednesday, but also about his former team, the New England Patriots, who Vinatieri spent 10 seasons with prior to signing with the Colts in 2006. The Colts (6-3) face the Patriots (7-2) this Sunday at 4:15 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

"It will be a tough place to play this week, obviously," Vinatieri said. "They are playing real well and their crowd's loud and you can't say enough good things about their team across the field from us. They have a lot of great players and a history of winning a lot of games. It will take our best effort to go out there and play well to hopefully get a win, but I am looking forward to it. It should be a great challenge."

While many fans may be surprised about Jacob Tamme's recent production while filling in for the injured Dallas Clark, according to Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell, they shouldn't be.

"Number one, he is a new face to you, but not to us," Caldwell said Wednesday. "He has been with us a while. We knew that he was one of those guys that can run, can make plays, he can catch, and because of the fact that he literally plays the same position that Dallas (Clark) plays, you did not get to see much of him during the course of the regular games.

"I think he developed a tremendous amount in terms of our kicking game. A guy that was extremely dependable, made a lot of tackles for us, got down the field and played in almost every phase of our kicking game. It just so happens that due to injury, he had an opportunity to do a little bit more, but we knew that he could run, knew that he could catch, (he's) smart, a great sense of route running and just a tremendous, diligent individual. It's all about business, and he is a great teammate and he certainly performs well."

Just how well has the third-year tight end been doing?

The numbers speak for themselves.

In the past three games, Tamme leads the NFL in receptions with 24, he is first among tight ends in receiving yards with 245, 11th in the NFL among all players, and is tied for 2nd among tight ends with two touchdown receptions. Tamme is averaging 81.7 yards per game and 10.2 yards a catch during that span.

"Jacob has always been a very conscientious guy," Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said Wednesday. "Like I said, you never like to see somebody get injured to allow someone an opportunity, but I think we always thought that he had some playmaking abilities, it was just when and why would you ever take Dallas off the field? Now that Dallas is injured, Jacob has done a good job.

"He's really been studying a lot. I think he does admit that playing in the games does kind of bring a whole different part of football into play. There's practice and then there is games. He and I are getting game reps together. The one nice thing is that I think we can make improvement just throughout the season, but he has really done a good job for us."

"I think it just means trying to get a little bit better each week, understanding that things might not be picture perfect, that it might be a two-yard gain here or a five-yard completion there that you have to be happy about and be able to accept. It doesn't mean lowering your expectations. It just means that we are somewhat in a transition process with some of our new players. We're just really working hard trying to get on the same page as some of our new guys, so you can still have some offensive production. It does take a lot of work, a lot of preparation, a lot more than what you would normally have to do because you're spending extra time working with some of these new guys. It is kind of a grind, if you will, but it's certainly well worth it when you come out with a win or you get a guy like WR-Brandon James who in his first career game makes a couple of big third-down catches. It's worth the grind."-Peyton Manning on what "grinding" through this past month full of injuries means to him.

"That's kind of the way we have always approached it. We've never looked at it, although there is some difficulty involved, we have looked at it more of an opportunity more so than anything else, and that opportunity being that we can develop our depth a little bit. Oftentimes we have had injuries early in the season and a young guy had to step in more by necessity than design, developed and then when the other individual came back into that position we felt really good because we now had two guys that not only have playing experience, but also were able to perform well. So it increased our depth a little bit. We kind of always talked about embracing adversity and then coming out of the back end of it stronger. I think that happens to us often."-Jim Caldwell on using injuries as an advantage to get younger players some needed work.

"Every day you go out and kick I think is a new challenge. I think I am very fortunate to have the best snapper (Justin Snow) and best holder (Pat McAfee) in the league helping me do my job, and the guys up front I can't say enough good things. They have been doing a great job. I feel like every time you step out on the field it's a new challenge, but sometimes it just cruises along and things go without a whole lot of speed bumps. So far it has been pretty good, but that doesn't mean anything moving forward. You still have to go out there and do a good job each time you step out there."-Adam Vinatieri on how much of a groove he feels like he is in this season.

"It puts a lot of pressure (on us). (Alge) Crumpler is probably their best run blocker, (Rob) Gronkowski is probably their best dual (threat), (Aaron) Hernandez can get out on routes and he can catch and he can run. That just puts a lot of pressure up front on us to stop the run and get to the quarterback. BenJarvus (Green-Ellis) and (Danny) Woodhead are a lot faster and stronger than you think, and they are more nifty than you think, so this is one of those games where you can not come in underestimating anyone,"-Fili Moala on how much pressure New England's tight ends (Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) and running backs (BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead) put on the Colts defensive line.

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