Manning: Colts Won't Be Out of Rhythm

Peyton Manning spoke to the media on Wednesday about many topics. And he assured them that the Colts won't be out of rhythm just because the starters were rested the last couple of weeks.

(on this team being better prepared than in previous years)

"That is hard to answer. We have always been ready for every game that we have played in. One of the best things (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy and his staff do is prepare us to play. Obviously, there are some games where we would have liked to play better. I've never thought we could have done more to prepare."

(on whether this is the best balanced Colts team he has been on going into the playoffs)

"We have had some good teams here in the past. Certainly, this is our best regular season record and we have more playmakers overall. At the same time, we have to go make it happen.  Like Coach Dungy says, no matter where you are playing or when the game is, you have to make it happen."

(on how his arm feels after playing just a few series in the final two regular season games)

"My arm feels good. I treat it almost like a pitcher, counting the number of throws. I try to keep my arm in good shape so it can be fresh and live in the months of December and January.  People talk about, ‘How are you going to be ready to play when you haven't played?'  Well, we don't have a choice. It is our job to be ready to play. I believe that we will."


(on the Colts being a team that will benefit in the playoffs by playing indoors)

"I have never said that. I totally agree with Coach Dungy, whether you are playing outdoors in rain or snow or wherever, it doesn't matter. You have to go out and execute. Having a home game means you won enough games in the regular season, but it doesn't guarantee anything.  There is no question that guys feel comfortable at home. You like to be able to take advantage of that."

(on Ben Roethlisberger's comments that he feels more comfortable facing a team the second time in a season)

"Experience is your best teacher, especially when it comes to football. The more times you see a certain defense, the more times you run a two-minute drill, the better off you are going to be. That would make sense if he said he felt more comfortable the second time around."

(on how much crowd noise affects a team)

"Much of it depends on how you play, especially early on. If you can score early or get a couple of first downs, it can take the crowd out off it. Your job when you are playing on the road is to try to take the crowd out of it. When you are playing at home, you try to keep the crowd into it. We really focus on taking the crowd out of it when we are on the road. People do tell me this is one of the loudest places to play."

(on whether he ever catches himself feeling sorry for the opposing quarterback)

"No. I get to face this defense in training camp. I know the problems they can present. "

(on his impressions of Ben Roethlisberger)

"You have to be impressed with his athletic ability. For as big and strong as he is, he really moves well.  I am impressed with how he escapes pressure and continues to have his eyes downfield. A lot of quarterbacks, when they scramble, are looking down and where they are going to run. His eyes are always looking for Hines (Ward) or (Antwaan) Randle El. That is what a quarterback is supposed to do. He is also very calm."

(on Pittsburgh's defense)

"They have a very solid defense as a group. They feed off of each other.  That is what being a good team is all about. They have very smart defensive players."

(on whether rhythm will be a problem for an offense that has not played together much the past two weeks)

"It is not going to be a problem because we have been practicing together every single day all season. To me, when you are out there in the playoff games and executing a third-and-five, that's when your offseason work is supposed to kick in.  The first week in April, Marvin Harrison and I are out there on that field. When you do that, you are simulating a playoff game in January."

(on the team working out in the offseason)

"We have outstanding offseason workouts. It is not mandatory in the offseason, but guys around here understand that it is our job to be here. "


(on the effect events during the past month will have on the team)

"I am never one that makes excuses. If you don't convert a third-and-one, it is because you didn't block the right guy or had a bad technique. There is nothing that could have prepared the team for what has happened to the coach and his family. I truly think that is where you separate football and life."

(on analyzing his record and numbers in the playoffs)

"I am just excited about the opportunity we have here in 2005-06. We have been disappointed in years past in the playoffs. You deal with that and try to learn from it. I feel we have done that. We are a better team this year than we were last year because of the games we have lost.  That doesn't guarantee anything. Pittsburgh was equally disappointed last year as we were when they lost in the championship game." 

(on judging his career by what he has done in the playoffs)

"I am not into judging or defining careers in the middle of a career. I hope to play for a number of more years. I am not looking back on my first eight years or thinking about what is going to happen in years to come.

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