Bye Week is No Time for Change or Panic, Manning Says
INDIANAPOLIS – As Peyton Manning sees it, this is no time for major change.
That's because the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback said major change is often a sign of panic, and he said it's no time for that, either.
Manning, the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLI, appeared on ESPN's Mike and Mike Radio Show Tuesday morning to promote a Direct TV promotion, and on the appearance he addressed Indianapolis' 1-2 record entering this week's bye week.
"We just have to play better," said Manning, who appeared on the show promoting Direct TV's Ultimate Displaced Fan promotion.
"I have to play better as a quarterback. I have to make better decisions and throw the ball better and just find a way to do those little things right that (Colts Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy always preaches about, things that we've done better in the past in order to help you win those close games.
"The guys that are in there have to play better. It doesn't matter how old you are, how many years you've been playing – whoever's in there, they're being paid a lot of money. They're professional athletes.
"We still have to get it done, but the veteran players have to raise their level of play and that starts with me."
The Colts, the five-time defending AFC South champions, split their first two games, losing to Chicago in the season opener, 29-13, then winning at Minnesota, 18-15. They lost to AFC rival Jacksonville, 23-21, at Lucas Oil Stadium this past Sunday when Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee kicked a 51-yard field goal with :04 remaining.
The Colts and Jaguars (1-2) are each two games behind the Tennessee Titans (3-0) in the AFC South.
"Hopefully, it's still early," Manning said. "Hopefully, the playoffs and the Super Bowl haven't been determined here in Week 3. It's time to start fixing some things. If you are in a hole, like we are, it's time to get those things corrected, because you just don't want to get too far behind."
The Colts this week will practice without pads on Wednesday and Thursday, time Manning said is imant to prepare for the remainder of the season.
"I think it (the bye week) is going to be different for us this year," Manning said. "In the past, it has come in Week 8 or Week 9 where you need it so badly just to rest and get some guys healed up. This week, we'll use this to really try to get better. We have some things we need to correct as a team and some fundamental things we have to fix and just be more consistent a team, especially as an offense. That's what I'm focused on.
"We'll work hard this week and try to improve and get back to that consistency that we need to see every single day in practice, every single drive in a game. Sunday, we showed some flashes of some offensive production, but just didn't show the consistency. We'll work hard this week and at the same time, it will be a good time for some of these injured guys to get back healthy."
And while Manning said the Colts must improve, he said changes in philosophy and scheme are far from the answer.
"I really think once you start changing your identity and changing your philosophy, that's when you truly have hit the panic button and you're truly out there just guessing," Manning said. "You're watching other teams play and you're putting that offense in for that week or you saw a new blitz the Packers do and put that in. That's when you're sort of panicking. The things that are the core identities and basis of our offense and defense – we have to do those things better.
"I have to make better decisions with the football. I have to convert third downs. I have to protect the ball better. Those are fundamental, basic football things we've been doing for a long time around here that have helped us win.
"Right now, we're not doing those things as well. That's why we're 1-2."
Manning said a Colts objective this week also must be to "stay together as a team."
"You try to win as a unit," Manning said. "We need to stay together as a team and just try to get these things fixed as a team and also to believe in the things that our coaches are telling us.
"Right now, you have a bye week. People are saying, 'You have to change this. You have to do things differently.' We just have to do the things we've been doing for a long time and we have to do them better.
"We have to execute better. If we do that, that's going to give us a better chance to win. It doesn't guarantee anything, but our veteran players like (middle linebacker and defensive captain) Gary Brackett and (center) Jeff Saturday – those are things we'll be preaching to our younger players."