QB-PEYTON MANNING (on the season starting Sunday) * *
"It is time. Everybody is excited. It's a tough game to start the season. As Coach Caldwell shared with us today, it's kind of one of those double-whammy games; it's a home game, and we want to start off on the right foot at home, and it's a division game, and we want to try not to fall behind in the division like we did last year. So, a lot of emphasis on this game early and hopefully we can get started out on the right foot."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on what this preseason has taught him)
"We have some new guys in there, and you can't turn a first-year running back into a 10-year veteran after four preseason games. Those guys will continue to learn with experience, and we'll learn together and grow together. Obviously, the defense has a new system, and they're going to continue to learn that, as are as the special teams. So, there are some changes we've gone through, and I think it will be a process. Hopefully, we can learn throughout the season and win at the same time."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he likes opening the season with a team he knows very well)
"Well, it's funny, because personnel, I guess, we're familiar with them, but they have a new defensive coordinator – actually all four teams in the AFC South have new defensive coordinators. So, we realize that before the schedule came out, so when you see you're playing Jacksonville in the opener, sure, you have their preseason to study, but you realize they are going to have some things that they did not show in the preseason. They are going to have some things they work on everyday in practice and their mini-camps and OTAs that they probably did not reveal in the preseason. So, in a lot of cases there is some unfamiliarity there. Even though they have the same players it is a new scheme. They have a new defensive coordinator and it's some different looks you're seeing on film. It's a little bit of preparing for what you see on film, but also preparing for the unexpected and being prepared to adjust to that during the course of the game."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on all the changes meaning that he will have to study more than ever)
"Absolutely, at least for the other division games you'll have some game film you'll be able to see. Like I said, preseason you study it and prepare, but you've got some guys in the preseason who aren't even on their team. No. 29, Brian Williams, was in there every preseason game, so you're studying him, and he gets released the other day. That's why you take preseason with a grain of salt. You study what you see, but you have to be prepared for some different things that might happen once the regular season gets here."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on feeling more confident about the running game heading into this season)
"It's been a point of emphasis. We would love to be balanced this week and have an equal number of runs, equal number of passes, hopefully averaging a high amount of yards on each. The time of talking about it is over, now we need to go out and do it. We'll see what happens."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on how he feels about the offensive line heading into the season)
"Even though you've got some different guys, you do have veteran guys in there. I understand (Ryan) Lilja didn't play last year, but he's played in enough games where I know what we'll get from him. Charlie (Johnson) has played in a lot of big games before. The fact that Jeff (Saturday) and Ryan (Diem) are in there, obviously, is very comforting. (Mike) Pollak is still a young player, and he'll continue to grow. I feel good about that situation."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if Head Coach Jim Caldwell told the team to look forward and not look back early in training camp)
"Yes, it's really, 'look to the now and focus on the now.' We haven't dwelled on anything in the past, either positive or negative. We're focused on this game and this season and these players. I think that's the right attitude and the right approach. All our players realize that we need to play this year with a sense of urgency and try to make this a special season. The only way to do that is to get started off on the right foot."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on the aspirations being as high this year as they were last year)
"I think every player has their goals, and the team, certainly, has high goals. As Coach Caldwell shared today, it's a team of one goal and one purpose. I think the way we've accomplished our goals in the past, and the way we hope to accomplish them this year, is by taking it one game at a time and not looking ahead. It's really all about Jacksonville and trying to improve the Colts this week, is where our focus is."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on trying to improve himself every year)
"I'm just looking to do whatever I can to help win. I've had things I've worked on this offseason and this training camp. Now, it's whatever I can do to help put my team in good offensive plays and try to get our team into the end zone. That's our job as offensive players, to score touchdowns and score more points than them. That's what we're trained to do, it's what we expect to do and now we need to go out and do it."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on the games last season against Jacksonville)
"It's a good rivalry. There's a lot of familiarity between the players. A lot of the players have been in all those games. There is a healthy respect amongst the players. (Jacksonville) is an extremely talented group. You always feel like it's going to go down to the fourth quarter, no matter what the records are of either team, or what point in the season, it's always going to be a tight game. That's what you expect in the season opener. You have to expect crazy things to happen in this opening game. We just hope to make the plays that sway the game our way. Most games are going to come down to four or five plays, and we hope those plays can go our way."