QB-PEYTON MANNING(On being named AP Offensive Player-of-the-Year) 1/5/05
"It's been a fun regular season. It really has. Obviously, we would have liked to have won all of our games, but we played really well at some critical times. Offensively, it's been a fun year with the freedom (Offensive Coordinator) Tom (Moore) has given me and just the expansion of the offense, even to a higher level because of the players that we have and the line and the way they can protect. Last year was a lot of fun during the regular season. This year was even more fun with some of the things we were allowed to do and some of the things we set out to work on in the offseason. It kind of came to fruition in the regular season. I appreciate the support of Tom and the team. And also (QB Coach) Jim Caldwell, the work he's done. He and I have spent a lot of time fine-tuning some things we wanted to work on. I'm real appreciative of the award."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On the successful season and what the playoffs mean) 1/5/05
"This is exciting. This is why you work hard in the off season. We are excited about playing at home. We are playing a tough team. The whole team is excited. Hopefully, the fans will be excited as well."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On Edgerrin James and his value to the team) 1/5/05
"Nobody is more appreciated by me than Edgerrin. What he does for us in the run game and in pass protection, it often goes over looked how good a pass protector he is. He takes on linebackers, safeties, sometimes defensive linemen. Describing his running style is hard for me to do. I just know that he gets better as the game goes along. I've seen so many games where guys start to bounce off of him in the third and fourth quarters. He is healthy this year. He has made some great runs in critical times. We are just glad to have him. He is a complete back. A lot of teams have guys that come out on third down or maybe come out in short yardage and goal line situations. Edgerrin stays in. He signals when he wants to come. That is not very often. It is nice that we can spell him every now and then with Dominic Rhodes. It seems like the past seven or eight games Edgerrin hasn't come out at all. He is in great condition and he can do everything we ask of him."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on how to stop the Colts' receivers) 1/5/05
"Every team has a different way of playing defense against us. We are going to have to go out there and make plays on Sunday. This is the playoffs. We will see a little bit of everything. We will see different schemes. We will see guys flying around a little more. I've always thought the playoffs were a faster pace than the regular season, if you can believe that. There will be a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm out there on Sunday."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On the belief of some people that the Colts benefited from many of their starters not playing last Sunday at Denver) 1/5/05
"I really don't think last week has anything to do with this week. This is a playoff game. Last week we didn't make enough plays. They won the game. It doesn't matter whether we played them last week, whether we played them the first week of the season or if we hadn't played them at all. It is a different atmosphere this week. Both teams will be ready. They are an excellent team. They have good players. Their schemes are good, but the players are what make any defense go. When you have a Champ Bailey, when you have John Lynch, when you have an Al Wilson in there – those are the guys you try to account for. It is a real challenge any time you play against those guys. For us, the key is to be like we always are, to be balanced. We want to establish the run game, we want to have a mix of drop back and play action passes. We have done a good job protecting the ball for the most part of this year, but that doesn't mean anything unless you go out and protect the ball in the playoffs."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On the possibility of going to the Super Bowl) 1/5/05
"That's what we play for. That's what (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy has talked about from the get-go, what our goals are. The idea is to try and play well enough in the regular season to get a bye, but the key really is to get into the playoffs. Once you are in, it is anybody's ball game. All we can ask for is an opportunity. I know Denverfeels the same way."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On how he feels physically after playing just one series at Denverlast Sunday) 1/5/05
"Everybody has a little skip in their step this week. I don't share any reps in practice during the season whether it is one-on-one or seven-on-seven, but last week the opportunity to rest my arm somewhat will hopefully pay dividends for me. It feels better. It feels rested. It makes sense that the older you get and the more throws you make that any time you can get a little rest it helps."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On his thoughts about this team) 1/5/05
"As (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy talks about, this is the 2004 Colts. We have a number of guys who were here last year that aren't here this year. There will be some guys who won't be here for the 2005 team. The key is every team kind of has their own identity, their own style. You have to take advantage of the team you have this year. We still use games from last year and years past to prepare for this year. I say `Hey guys, remember when we had this game two years ago and we were in the fourth quarter and we came back. Well, we can come back again.' Still, I think this game will be different than last year's playoff game against Denver. Offensively, we do have continuity from last year. When I am changing a play, guys kind of know what I am changing it to because they have heard it before. They are more comfortable, guys like Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley. We haven't had many mental mistakes this year. You can't afford to have them in playoff games."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On how comfortable he is with the offense) 1/5/05
"I feel more comfortable than I did last year. My goal every off season has been to become a better player than I was the year before. I feel that I have done that each year. Sometimes it has been working on a certain throw or a certain read or a certain fake. I try to work on my weaknesses. I feel that I am better player this year than last year. Any time you have another year in an offense and can get out here in April and May and work on timing routes it pays dividends."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On whether he must play well in the playoffs to validate his record-setting season) 1/5/05
"The regular season is over. We had a good run. We made some critical plays at critical times. As far as anything statistically it doesn't carry a lot of weight into the playoffs. What you hope is that you say, "Hey, we've done some of these things in the regular season, so we are capable of being good in the red zone and we are capable of converting third downs.' You hope to carry some of that momentum and consistency into the playoff."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(On working together for several years with offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd) 1/5/05
"Tom's philosophy is the offense is always based on personnel. The last two years