Peyton Manning Addresses Media Tuesday
Four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning addressed media Tuesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. The Colts continued preparation Tuesday for Saturday's AFC Wild Card Game against the New York Jets at 8 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium.
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on what he focuses on as the playoffs begin)
"Hopefully, we can build off some of the momentum we established. We feel fortunate to be playing this week. We don't take it for granted to be in the playoffs. We feel very fortunate. Like we said earlier, we feel like these last four games have really been like playoff games for us, for the most part. If we had lost any of those four we probably would have been out of contention. We have been playing with a sense of urgency and we'll need to continue that. There's no question we're facing by far the best team we've played since the playoff stretch (began) and possibly the best team we've played in some time. There is a reason they are in the playoffs. They and New England battled for their division. They are very talented, and they are playing well. We'll have our hands full."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on preparing for the Jets)"I know how hard it is to prepare for this style of defense. It takes you absolutely forever to watch one game with their defense because they have so many different players and formations. It just takes you some time. I already feel like we are behind the eight-ball with the short week. Giving us the Saturday game, you're a day short on your preparation. It's a full-time cram session. They are extremely challenging to prepare for, their scheme. I think their players are better than last year. The guys that are new to the system, it is their second year playing in it. They added (CB-Antonio) Cromartie at corner, who is a top cover corner in the NFL. They are playing with a lot of confidence right now. That's why it is going to be a tough game."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on his appreciation for pass protection)"Pass protection is at a premium when you're playing an aggressive defense, a team that likes to blitz, which they do. Up-front, tight ends, but certainly when talking about the running backs that is critical. RB-Joe (Addai) is excellent at it. He is a big, physical guy. That's what we think is special about him is that he is a physical guy that can pass protect, yet can run routes and get open. Not many guys can do both really well. Usually the quicker guys, the good route runners, don't protect as well, (and) the bigger blocking guys don't run routes as well. Joe gives you that good versatility. I'm excited to have him back in the lineup. I know he's glad to be back out there. He'll play a pivotal role out there."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on good pass blocking running backs being needed in this offense)
"Yes, I think so. I'm sure that is part of their evaluation process in choosing personnel. I think anytime you have that combination guy that can run the ball hard, that can pass protect and run routes, you have an all-purpose back. I've been very lucky to play with a number of them."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on how frustrated he was when the team was in their three-game losing streak)
"Just losing the game, we'd lost three in a row, we just slowly were watching ourselves about to be sort of out of the mix. Like I said, we felt lucky that other teams in our division were sort of losing and beating up on each other and we still even had a chance. I remember one thing that helped after that Dallas game is that we had a Thursday night game. That's the one thing that does help, when you can go out there, go practice and truly move on. We had that Thursday night, and we though if we could just get one win, sort of get some positive momentum in the building and get guys feeling good about each other again, that that could change some things. But that Tennessee game was tight. We made some plays there late in the fourth quarter and got a win. We've been able to kind of build off of that. Even during that stretch, I thought we were practicing pretty well, guys were preparing hard, just sometimes things aren't going to go your way. I think we kept trying to do the same fundamental things. Finally, things started going our way. We have improved on some things. We have run the ball better, as of late. We got a couple of guys back. The addition of RB-Dominic Rhodes has been a nice addition. There is no question he has given us some juice, he's given us a burst. I think we are facing a different animal in the Jets this week. They are an excellent team. I think the only team we've beaten in the playoffs is the Chiefs. This will be one of our toughest tests of the season. It's going to be important that we try to play well in all phases."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on what he thinks he was like to be around during the team's three-game losing streak)
"Determined to play better. I wanted to play better. Somebody was asking, 'Did you have a team meeting or did you try to help other guys?' I was trying to help myself. I thought before I started trying to help other guys do their jobs, I needed to be sure I'm doing my job. I didn't think I was doing my job well enough. I was determined to play better. Fortunately, our offense picked up. We've run the ball better. WR-Reggie (Wayne) and WR-Pierre (Garcon) and (TE-Jacob) Tamme and WR-Blair (White) have been making plays. It has been a team thing. We've won four in a row, and we've built off the previous win the week before, and hopefully we can keep that going. We're facing a different animal this week."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he made any adjustments during the losing streak)
"No, I really didn't. Even throughout that three-game losing stretch, there were plenty of good things in those games. The end results were losses, and we did have turnovers, but we were still doing some good things. You try to build off those and try to eliminate the negative plays and just continue to work. As (former head coach) Jim Mora used to say, 'Keep sawing wood.' That's kind of an expression we use around here. If you keep doing that, hopefully some good things will turn. Things did kind of start to turn around during that Tennessee week."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if this season is starting to feel like the 2006 season)
"You've got to be careful with comparisons. I really haven't done that. We've got some new guys playing this year, some young guys playing. Certainly with RB-Dominic (Rhodes) and RB-Joe (Addai), that feels familiar. Everybody keeps talking about a great job bringing Dom back, and I can't quite figure out why he left. He looks every bit as good as he did in 2006. The way he played down the stretch in that season was phenomenal. He has given us a boost. I still think RB-Donald Brown has done a heck of a job. He's one of those guys like (TE-Jacob) Tamme and WR-Blair White that's gotten better by playing. He's always been in a rotational thing. I feel like with whatever back is in there we have a chance to pop some. It will be important. The Jets are excellent against the run. They are hard to run the ball against, yet we have to stay with it just to have some kind of balance."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on how different a year it was this season)"It's been very different. Like I said, we feel really fortunate to be playing this week. We're 10-6. Two teams in the NFC went 10-6 and aren't in the playoffs. We feel fortunate to be in the playoffs and have a home game. We don't take it for granted. It has been different because at the start of the season we had some coaching changes and we've had different personnel changes throughout the year. There hasn't been a lot of continuity, but the past few weeks there has been a little bit more. Hopefully, we can build off of that. I just can't tell you what a tough challenge it is going to be on Saturday."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on not having WR-Austin Collie and how much he'll miss not having him on offense)"A lot. He and TE-Dallas (Clark) both. As a credit to them, just brought a lot to the table. We were watching our film from last year's game against the Jets and some of the games we've played against the Ravens in years past, and Dallas played critical roles in all of those games. It'll be the first time playing against this style of defense without Dallas, so there is a change. It's more of a challenge. Collie was awesome last year. We were kind of in a little bit of a lull at the end of the first half last year, and Collie, I think, caught three passes in a row and got a touchdown. You saw when Collie played this year against Jacksonville what a boost he gave to us. You're losing a lot of plays there. Now, what WR-Blair (White) and TE-Jacob (Tamme) have done, I don't think anybody could be prouder of those guys for how hard they've worked and what they've learned this year. I just truly appreciate their efforts. But I'd be lying to say we're not missing Austin and Dallas because of the talents they are."