Conservative Opponents Will Not Alter Colts' Offensive Philosophy, Manning Says
INDIANAPOLIS – In a sense, Peyton Manning said little has changed.
Manning, in his 12th season as the Colts' starting quarterback, said while some opponents in recent seasons have taken to playing conservatively on offense to keep he and the Indianapolis offense off the field, that circumstance really has not changed how he approaches a game.
The Colts' motto, 'Just Do What We Do?'
That holds true in this situation, Manning said.
"I can't speak for (Senior Offensive Coordinator) Tom (Moore), but I don't think he would tell you it necessarily changes the play-calling," Manning said Wednesday as the AFC South-leading Colts (2-0) prepared to play the Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday at 8:20 p.m.
"You don't really see us abandon the run. I guess – which I think any offense should – we put a lot of emphasis on the imance of execution, and not just in the fourth quarter."
The Colts this past Monday beat the Miami Dolphins, 27-23, in a game in which they scored on five of eight possessions and held possession 14:53 of a possible 60 minutes.
Colts President Bill Polian on his weekly radio show Tuesday said the Dolphins' approach of draining the clock is something the team has seen often in the past, and stressed that while the Dolphins rushed for 239 yards on 49 carries, the outcome went in favor of the Colts.
"That's the way it goes when you play teams like that," Polian said, noting that the Colts won a similar game last season in Cleveland, 10-6. "We've seen this all before. It's of little consequence. It's not cosmic. The world isn't ending because they possessed the ball for 80 plays. That's the way people want to play us and in the end, we won the game."
Jim Caldwell, in his first season as head coach, said the way to help the offense attain more possessions in such a situation is fairly straightforward:
The defense must stop the offense.
"You try not to allow it to get that," Caldwell said Wednesday afternoon. "We try to prevent that, and the way you prevent it is not allowing them to go on prolonged drives, get them off the field on third down. That kind of cuts into it. Often over the years, teams have gone in with that idea in mind, but have not been able to carry it out.
"There have been a couple of teams as of late that have been able to carry it out and limited our possessions over the last two or three years. Now, I think it has become a little more vogue when you face us. It does indeed force us to be near perfect in terms of our offensive football, which is tough to do.
"We try not to make a big deal out of it. When you look at it from an offensive standpoint, the offense has a job to do: score points. The defensive side, obviously, is to stop the offense. We try to focus in on their tasks and not try to get too philosophical about it."
Manning said he agreed, that however many possessions the offense gets, it is the unit's job to score when it is given the opportunity.
"We do have a mindset to stay on the field and not to have third-down stops, where we have to punt," Manning said. "That's the emphasis any offense should have, to stay on the field. It's your job to go down there and score more points. It's a team game, and all you can control is what you do when you're on the field.
"It's up to us when we're on the field to stay on the field and not to go three-and-out. That affects the amount of time you have it also. The offense has to do their part."
Also on Wednesday, Manning spoke of two people close to him, one of whom attended the game Monday and one of whom did not:
• Of Tiger Woods, who attended the game as Manning's guest and stood on the Colts' sideline: "He wanted to sit on our sideline. He had his Colts blue shirt on, so that was cool. A lot of the players thought it was cool he was on the sideline. . . . I did a pretty good job keeping it quiet. I had to tell the boss man (Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim Irsay) he was coming, just so I could get him the sideline passes, but beside that, I kept it quiet. . . . It meant a lot that he came."
• Of former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, who discussed in relative detail a touchdown pass thrown by Manning to wide receiver Reggie Wayne in the season opener, Manning said with a smile: "He did kind of get into our play a little more specific than maybe I prefer. You run the same system for so many years you have different people who come and go, but you still try to protect it. He kind of diagrammed Reggie's touchdown, but he gave the name of it as well. I just didn't want that to become a weekly thing and we have to change our whole offense."