Colts Quick Hits

Tom Brady claims the Colts wanted Laurence Maroney ... Manning rallies quarterbacks to spur rule change ... Tennessee still needs help at corner ... and more in today's Colts Quick Hits!

Addai, Williams, or Maroney: At the NFL Draft, a team representative told ColtPower that the Colts were hoping to select either Joseph Addai or DeAngelo Williams, who was picked earlier in the round by the Panthers. But according to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the Colts were hoping to grab Laurence Maroney if he was still somehow on the board at #30. But New England used their first-round selection to claim the University of Minnesota running back.

"I talked to Peyton Manning," Brady recently recounted. "He said, 'You took our running back.'"

Manning rallies support: Thanks to a new NFL rule, visiting team quarterbacks won't be at the mercy of the home team's equipment manager anymore. In the past, not only did visiting quarterbacks have to deal with the weather, turf, time zone and fans of the home team, they had to use footballs prepped to the liking of their opposing quarterback -- or in a manner that made the ball more slippery for their use. San Francisco rookie quarterback Alex Smith fumbled six times in his first two road games last season, which magnified a problem that was well-known amongst the fraternity of NFL quarterbacks. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning reportedly rallied his fellow signal-callers for support, and then approached the NFL's competition committee with a suggestion on their behalf.

According to the new rule that goes into effect for the 2006 season, both the home and visiting teams will be able to prepare 12 footballs for each game to be used when their team is on offense. Some equipment managers prepare the footballs for their team by rubbing down the new game balls to remove the thin layer that makes them more slippery.

"Alex took some criticism for dropping some balls, but, believe me, the rest of the quarterbacks had the same issue and they got tired of dealing with it," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "It (was) the only sport that doesn't rub down the balls. Baseball rubs down the balls, basketball rubs down the balls, heck, I believe soccer rubs down the balls."

The other Manning has weapons, too: When the Colts take on the Giants for their 2006 regular season opener, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning won't be the only quarterback with a considerable arsenal of offensive firepower at his fingertips. While Manning will have running backs Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai, along with receivers Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley and tight end Dwight Clark, his brother Eli won't be devoid of talent when his unit has possession of the football. With Tiki Barber in the backfield, and receivers Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, rookie Sinorice Moss and tight end Jeremy Shockey lining up with him, the younger Manning is excited about the possibilities of what the Giants could accomplish this year.

"I'm going to have a lot of targets," Eli said. "I know this is going to be a very explosive offense. But it's one thing to look at it written down on paper, on a depth chart, and another thing to actually put it to use.

"All it takes is hard work and study, and we are all going to do that."

Brady laments losses, but hopeful: While the Colts lost Edgerrin James and David Thornton to free agency, and opted not to re-sign kicker Mike Vanderjagt, the other 20 starters and their punter from last year are still on the 2006 roster. But in New England, Tom Brady watched as even more talent left a team that was already struggling a bit last season in comparison to their Super Bowl squads. Veterans Willie McGinest, Adam Vinatieri, LB Matt Chatham, OT Tom Ashworth, TE Christian Fauria and No. 2 wideout David Givens all left through free agency.

"We've lost a lot," Brady admitted. "There is a lot of value in those guys. So it's obviously tough.

"This 2006 team is going to be different. We understand that and, hopefully, we find other players to come in and take some of the burden off the guys who are still here," Brady said.

The Patriots drafted well, picking up players like Laurence Maroney and Chad Jackson, but Brady understands what's it's like to make the transition from the college ranks to the NFL.

"These guys have a lot to learn and everything they're going to be doing is going to be new to them. So to expect these guys to come in and expect Chad Jackson to be David Givens, I don't think that's fair to Chad. But hopefully over time, he can find a role."

Titans still need help: Despite infusing talent into a number of spots of need on their roster, the Titans' biggest remaining problem area is at cornerback. The expected starters are second-year players Pacman Jones and Reynaldo Hill, with only Andrew Woolfolk as legitimate depth. And Woolfolk was relegated to strictly covering slot receivers last season. Free agent Ty Law could be of interest, but not all of the Titans' decision-makers are sold on him as the right guy for their locker room, and he'd be tough to afford. Law visited Nashville on May 11 and passed a physical. Tennessee also had former 49er Ahmed Plummer in for a visit, but Plummer looks to be about as good a solution as DeRon Jenkins and Michael Booker were in years past.


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