"It's a heck of a challenge going to Houston. It's always been a tough place to play. We've had some extremely close games down there. We're playing a really good football team. They've got some new players since last year. They played really good in their third preseason game against Dallas. They've added a top draft choice at cornerback. It was kind of a young team a couple of years ago, but now they've played a lot together and it's really kind of turned into more of a veteran team in their front and their linebackers, and their offense is excellent."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he knows what to expect out of the offensive line on Sunday)
"I know those guys are going to play hard. We have had some injuries that have kept some guys from playing, but whoever is out there is going to play hard. That room has always had a lot of pride in it and great veteran leadership from C-Jeff Saturday, OT-Ryan Diem and OT-Charlie (Johnson), so I expect those guys to be ready to fight on Sunday."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he expects OT-Charlie Johnson to play)
"I sure hope so. You have to talk to (Head Coach Jim) Caldwell about those things. We'd certainly like to have all our starters out there, but if he were to be unable to play, I still feel good about the plan."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on what he and the first-team offense were able to accomplish in the preseason)
"I thought we saw some different players in different positions. We had our points of emphasis that we've emphasized since mini-camp. Those will be evaluated all season long, as to how we're doing with those things. The main thing is that we got to take care of the things that we've always taken care of around here; we've got to protect the football, eliminate penalties and try to score touchdowns in the red zone."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on any reaction to the latest umpire ruling)
"They finally made it official and those are the rules, so we'll play ball with the rules as they are."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he is satisfied that they tried to address some concerns that he had with the umpire positioning)
"I think all along they kind of admitted that it was a work in progress and they were still tinkering with it. It's official now, we'll factor the rule changes in and just go with it."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he is glad to see that they give a warning now before penalizing you if you snap the ball before the umpire is ready)
"That's not how I interpreted it. They can give a warning, (but) I think that is out of the goodness of the referee's heart. They don't have to give you a warning. I'd like one, but they don't have to give you one. They are just saying that they can. Just like they'll tell the left tackle, 'Hey, you have to scoot up a little bit,' but they don't have to tell you that, they can just flag you right away. That's the way the rules are, we'll live with them."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on the series with Houston)
"Like I said, they are an excellent team and always tough when you play down there in Houston. That's the challenge and we know it. They've added some new players. Their offense really finished with a bang last year, so you're going to have to score some points on their defense, which is tough now because they don't give up many big plays. They are very sound in what they do, and they make you earn everything that you get. That will be the challenge."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if they are different without LB-Brian Cushing)
"He played all the preseason, so you really haven't seen much film without him in there. I guess it will be different for them, but it will be different for us, as well, because he played all preseason as if he was going to be starting game one. We'll see what the adjustment is."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on depth at the wide receiver position)
"That's always been a good problem to have. We have a lot of guys that can make a play for us, and we're going to need all those guys all year. If you look at our history through the years, it's always been a number of guys that have played important roles in the passing game at receiver, at tight end, at running back and you never know whose day it is going to be. It could be anybody's day on any day. All those guys are going to play an important role for us. The passing game needs to be productive for us because Houston's secondary is solid, so it'll be a challenge getting open on those guys."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on WR-Anthony Gonzalez possibly returning punts)
"I think he can make some big plays for us."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on QB-Matt Schaub and his improvement the last couple of years)
"He really had a good year last year, and I think they have great weapons with (WR-Andre) Johnson. It sounds like they might get TE-Owen Daniels back, who is a great weapon. I know it'll be a challenge for our defense to stop their passing game."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on opening weekend)
"I always get excited for opening day. It's a new season, it's a new team, we've got new players and you're kind of forming a new identity. You want to try and start it off on the right foot. We've won on opening day. We've gotten beat on opening day. It's certainly one that you want to win, but the main thing is you want to establish the kind of team that you want to be, establish your tempo. There are some things that we want to accomplish. We've played on the road, it seems like, more than we have at home, although we've been home the past couple of years. It's an awesome atmosphere every time we play on opening day, and you always take a minute to remind yourself that you do feel lucky to be playing in the NFL. Certainly, in my 13th year, I think each year I feel more and more lucky."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on it seeming like every year that the game at Houston is billed as a big game)
"It's hard for us to factor those kinds of things in. We have goals that we want to accomplish. What Coach (Jim) Caldwell talks about is how somebody says that the Colts have a bulls-eye on them and they are the target. Well, we sort of look at other teams as if they are the target. They are our target. They are keeping us from accomplishing our goals. We want to go get them. That's how we've always approached that. We don't walk around saying, 'Because we've done this in the past, this is who we are.' We walk around saying, 'Hey, this is where we want to go. They're the team that is in the way. We have to go get this goal.' I think that kind of knocks that factor out of the equation. We have goals that we want to accomplish. But what an incredibly tough challenge, going to Houston, on the road, on opening day, noon kickoff, it could be hot depending on what the roof situation is, probably will be open, who knows. It's just going to be a tough environment to play in."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if anything has been decided about C-Jeff Saturday playing on Sunday)
"I haven't heard. You have to ask him or ask (Head Coach Jim) Caldwell. We certainly hope that everybody is ready to go on Sunday, but whoever is in there will be ready."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on the development of younger players who contributed last season)
"I think experience is your best teacher. I think after a whole season of playing and mini-camps and OTAs and summer school, the experience is going to help you. Anybody that was on the team last year, certainly will be a year better, should be a more effective player because of the experience they have gained."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he's seen the development)
"I feel like on the offense, the guys over here the last two years, I have seen development and growth in those guys."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if there are a couple of things that he has highlighted to improve upon this season)
"Nothing too specific, I guess. The thing I've always tried to do with the changes we've made each year, just getting as comfortable as I can with any new players that we have, whether it's TE-Brody Eldridge, Gonzo is back (WR-Anthony Gonzalez), getting with him or getting more comfortable with (WR-Pierre) Garcon and (WR-Austin) Collie. For so many years it was just the same guys every single year. It was kind of hard to find things. But now with the receivers being different and young, that has kind of taken the priority of just being as comfortable as you can with each of those guys on the different routes, on the different progressions of the offense. That's what I've tried to do all offseason. We'll see how that plays out this year."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if there is any specific thing he wants to improve on)
"I probably couldn't tell you until after the season. If I do them well, I'll tell you that's what I worked on. I have things that (Quarterbacks Coach) Frank Reich and I will target and work on. Here in year 13, I think you're really trying to stay sharp at the things you've started on, mechanics and drops, fakes, just getting to where you know exactly where that receiver is going to be. We have had a pretty significant change at a number of positions, completely new guys, whatever I can do throwing with them. I threw a lot with those guys, just one-on-one. I spent time with them one-on-one, alone, trying to get our timing down. That's been one of the main goals of this past offseason."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on how much this team is inspired by losing in the Super Bowl last season)
"You'd probably have to talk to each guy individually on that. We certainly know what our goals are this year. This team, when you talk about being professional, as professionals, we get up for every game, we treat every opponent with great respect and we prepare to play as hard as we possibly can every game, regardless of what happened the week before or the year before. That is your job as a professional. They are not just paying you to work hard when you're winning and things are going good. I think this team has always had great professionalism when it comes to that. We're inspired because everybody in this room loves football and we like playing together and we enjoy working hard to achieve a goal, whether it's a win, a first down, two wins in a row, whatever it may be. That's kind of the make-up of this team and it's worked for us in the past, and hopefully we can get the season started off right this year."
QB-PEYTON MANNING (on if he still feels physically and mentally the same as he did five years ago)