(on the expectations and importance of the running back position this year)
"Certainly we have high expectations. We are going to put a lot on those guys. We are not going to call different plays because Edgerrin James is not here. Edgerrin has spoiled us for a long time with some of the things he's been able to do. For us to be the kind of team we need to be, we have to be able to run the same plays and make the same checks and call multiple plays in the huddle and to have that flexibility. Dominic (Rhodes) has been here for a number of years. He's getting more repetitions than he's ever had. With Joseph (Addai) we don't have a lot of patience with rookies. We put a lot on these guys. That's what the mini camps and summer schools are for. He has responded brilliantly up to this day as far as his real intent to learn the offense. There is a real difference between learning the offense and memorizing it. Some guys just memorize the scripts but that's not really learning the offense. You learn it by understanding why we do things. Both of those guys are doing a good job of getting comfortable with what we are doing. We expect big things out of the running game this year."
(on what he thinks about Dominic Rhodes after playing with him for five years)
"He has a great attitude. He's been very patient during his career. When he's been called upon, he has performed extremely well in times that he's played during the course of the season whenever Edgerrin has needed to be spelled or if he was injured. Now I know, and I would be too, that he has been frustrated at times because he has felt like he can help, but he has not been on the field. Now he is excited about the opportunity to get out there and play and show the rest of the NFL that he can be a 16-game starting tailback and a guy that can make a lot of big plays for us."
"I think that's one reason that (Colts President) Bill (Polian) drafted him. He loved his running game, but he knows in this offense our backs are going to be called on to catch the ball on swing routes. I think Bill saw that he caught the ball well, or he wouldn't have taken him. His hands have been a nice bonus in his game."
(on whether he is as comfortable deferring the pass to hand it off to this year's tailbacks as he would have been handing the ball to Edgerrin James)
"I have to. You earn that trust in training camp. As soon as we're not able to do that, it's when defenses are winning, it's when they are dictating to us. They are going to dare you to run the ball on third-and-four from the four-yard line. They'll have eight guys building a wall along the end zone. They'll have all the receivers doubled, and I know if we run the ball he's going to walk into the end zone. We have to be able to trust who is back there. Right now, I do because of the way these guys are working. They are picking up the audibles and making the checks. I'm not having to audible and turn back and whisper when I'm calling the audible. Sometimes, I'm not even sure who's behind me. It could be Dominic (Rhodes), it could be Joseph (Addai). You trust who is going to be there because those guys are responding. That is the way it is going to have to be. Those guys know that I will call that play for them on third-and-four and they're determined to get into the end zone."
(on having a team player like WR-Brandon Stokley as his third receiver)
"Brandon is a great teammate. Brandon is the number three receiver in the slot. He is probably a number one or two on many other teams. We're lucky to have guys like Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne) that make so many plays. Brandon is an unbelievably unselfish guy and at the same time, very competitive. He loves football and everything about it, with the blocking and the mental aspect. He understands how important that is. He is my roommate here in camp, so he is one of my buddies. Last year was probably a frustrating year because he came off this 10-touchdown, 70-catch season and had one touchdown last year. That's our fault. That's my fault and Tom Moore has made it a point to get him involved, because when he gets the ball in his hands, big things happen. That's been a point of emphasis for us, to get the ball in Brandon's hands to hopefully make us more explosive."
ColtPower Insiders can read the rest of Manning's comments on the Colts offense, what it will take to win a championship this year, some great quotes about preparing for the NY Giants and also about his brother Eli. Just click here for the rest of this story.
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