Colts QB Peyton Manning (9/21/05)
(On having a slow offensive start to the season) – "I think we've certainly played two good teams. The main thing is we won the first two games. That's what we're excited about. It's going to be another tough test this week, but whatever we can do to score more points on the opponents, that's what it's all about."
(On Romeo Crennel's success coaching against the Colts) – "He certainly was a huge part of the Patriots success. He's an excellent coach. It's going to take us playing well on both sides of the ball in order to get a win against Cleveland. They're 1-1 and could easily be 2-0, but they had a couple touchdowns called back in the first game against Cincinnati. The Green Baygame was not as close as the score indicated. Our focus is trying to block up these Cleveland Browns defensive players and try to stop Trent Dilfer and their offense."
(On the defense's play) – "We're just two games into it. Like I said, we're 2-0, and that's all we are. Check back with me in 10 weeks, and let's see where everything is. But our defense is off to an excellent start. They've played outstanding the first two games. There's no question that, when the defense can keep the other team's offense out of the end zone for the most part for two weeks in a row, you should be winning those games. Hopefully, we can just keep that going. Offensively, we can do our part and play well at the same time. Hopefully, we'll take care of business."
(On Trent Dilfer calling Manning the best quarterback of the generation) – "I'm a big fan of Trent. He's a super guy, and he's had an outstanding career. He's played for some different teams, and it seems like everywhere he's been, he's played well. He's off to a great start, and I certainly appreciate that. Like I said, our defense is going to have our hands full this week because he has not been sacked in two games, which is impressive. He's got some young, new weapons around him, so we'll have our hand full."
(On why the Colts have struggled against New England) – "They have outstanding players, and they played better than us the times we played them. They played well, and we did not play as well as we needed to. You're talking about a number of different games, but that's pretty much your summary."
(On whether teams are dropping more players into coverage against him) – "It changes season-to-season, week-to-week. These first two games, Baltimorehas its own style of defense. They do some things that other teams don't do. Jacksonville, that was somewhat their style. With Cleveland, they have their scheme that you prepare for. You're always preparing for something a little bit different each week, and you have to try to adjust to it during the games. Clevelandhas a very solid front seven. They can put pressure on the quarterback with a three-man rush. They can blitz six or seven guys, and that obviously puts a lot of trust in their secondary. It'll be a tough test."
(On the goals for this season) – "The ultimate goal before the season for us obviously is to win a championship, but to do that you've got to have other goals that you try to achieve along the way. The main goal for us is to try to win the division. That's what we talk about because that guarantees you a playoff spot. At the same time, you'd like to win every single game you play in. In the AFC, it takes an outstanding record to have a bye, to have home-field advantage. But I don't think that is the key factor. It's still about which team is playing the best in January, and we've never used that as an excuse around here. It's whoever's playing the best, whether it's at home, on the road or at a neutral site—wherever. In the AFC, it's almost become like college football because a Week 2 loss can really affect how you finish up. Looking at New Englandand Pittsburgh, these teams that have lost one or two games the past few years, you try to stay ahead of the pack. I think sometimes our young players don't realize that's why we have so much emphasis on the Baltimoregame. That's why the Jacksonvillegame was so important. That's why this Clevelandgame is so important. The sooner these young players realize that every game is crucial to how you finish up and as far as getting a playoff spot, the better off your team will be."
(On playing a no-huddle offense) – "We've been a no-huddle offense for a number of years now. It's just how we've tried to approach our offense. It's not really a secret anymore. I've always been a quarterback that believes in tempo and being an up-tempo team. Being up-tempo doesn't mean going out and throwing it every single time, but just trying to play with some pace and play with some tempo and being able to mix it sometimes. As an offense, that's what I've always believed in and (offensive coordinator) Tom Moore believes in the same things. The no-huddle does allow us to get some plays in quickly, but it's still never been the reason that we move the ball. It's still about being able to block and being able to play pitch-and-catch. You can run three plays very, very fast and go three and out. It's been done before. The idea is still to execute the plays that you call."
(On whether too much thinking slows him down) – "No, although I will say the quarterback position for the Colts requires as much responsibility as any position in football. We put a lot on the quarterback here in this system as far as reads, checks, calling plays and getting people lined up. That's just what is required of the quarterback position here. Sometimes my favorite play is being able to take the knee at the end of the game. It's the only play you don't have to check sometimes in this offense. That's what we do, so you do have to study a lot. You have to prepare very hard, but the reason I do study and prepare hard is so I can get out there and just play. I feel that, through the years I've been playing, I've been able to get out there and play football. But you constantly have to be on top of your game from a mental aspect. It's a big part of this offense."
(On whether he's tired of hearing questions about the Patriots) – "I understand. A lot of people ask, and I understand the questions. They've been the champs. I think all teams in the NFL, not just us, are trying to chase them and trying to get what they have. That's what the NFL is about."
(On whether he anticipates or dislikes playing against certain coordinators) – "No, I really don't. To me, it still comes down to the players that you're playing against. You watch the film and see the players out there, and you realize we've got to find a way to get open against (Daylon) McCutcheon and (Gary) Baxter. You've got to be able to find a way to block (Orpheus) Roye, the defensive lineman. That's kind of how it works week to week."
(On Cleveland's defense) – "They're playing well. They played very well against Green Bay. Against Cincinnati, they did a great job creating some turnovers and really had a chance to win that game. It's a team that you have to be disciplined against. We always try to have some kind of balance in our offense, try to run the ball and throw the ball. I think you have to be able to do both of those against this defense because they have good players."
(On whether he feels his window of opportunity for a championship is closing) – "I've always played with a high sense of urgency. Every year I've played, I've never talked about the following year or said, 'Hey, we ought to be really good in two years.' It's very much a try-to-do-it-now situation because of the salary cap and injuries. You definitely feel the sense of urgency every single year that you're playing to try to make something special happen. That's how we've felt every year, and that's how we feel this year. We want to take advantage of the opportunity and just try to keep wi