Manning: Faster Start Emphasized

After Wednesday's practice, Colts quarterback handled questions from the media, acknowledging that getting off to a faster start is a point of emphasis for the offense this week. Find out what he had to say about the addition of Anthony McFarland, the Redskins and much more!

(on the addition of DT-Anthony McFarland)
"We're excited to have him. I've known him through the years. He's an LSU guy. I've played against him, and anytime you can add good football players to this team, that's a real plus. I know the trading deadline was yesterday, and it shows a real commitment on our management's part to make this the best team that we can. At the same time, everybody else needs to keep doing their job as well. But hopefully, he will be in here at least for tomorrow's practice and certainly from a system standpoint, he ought to be able to pick it right up. (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy drafted him (in 1999 in Tampa Bay) and he's familiar with Coach Dungy's defensive system. So, we're looking for him to come in and help right away and help out on Sunday."

(on if getting off to a quicker start is a point of emphasis this week)
"I would say that is a point of emphasis. That's something as an offense we would like to do. We would like to get the ball and score some points early and play from ahead a little bit. We've played from behind the past few weeks and we've kept it tight the whole time. We've pulled it out in the fourth quarter, but you would like to be able to be a little sharper the first, second and third quarter. We've played well the fourth quarter, which is a good thing, but from some of the things we've seen on film, we can be a little sharper early on. So hopefully we can do that this week."

(on taking any precautions coming out of the bye week to not start slow)

"I think that's kind of the natural thought process, that teams coming off the bye aren't going to be quite as sharp. But we really plan to have a really good week of practice this week, and I still think the way you play is how you practice. So, it's a real emphasis on being sharp, being on the details, protecting the ball in practice the way you protect it in the game, and I think that's what is going to be a big part of this game, is trying to protect the ball. We've done a good job of that so far to this point. We need to keep doing that from here on out."

(on if getting off to a quick start will take some pressure off the defense)
"We don't really play that way. We play to do our job. The defense is going to do their jobs. Those guys are working on certain things, and those guys have a challenge in stopping RB-Clinton Portis. And they realize that. All we can do offensively is control what we can do, and try to score points. Obviously, by scoring points we're going to help our team win just like our defense wants to get them off the field to help our team win. So we're always working together, but at the same time, you can only control your side of the ball."

(on if the team used the bye week to get reinforced for the stretch run)
"Well, we hope so. That was kind of the idea, especially from a health standpoint to get some guys back. And it sounds like that may be the case. We sure hope so. It's a good time to get some physical and mental rest, and hopefully at the same time improving as a football team. Hopefully we can do that again this week, have a good week and go out and play well on Sunday."

(on the Washington Redskins)
"They have great football players. They've had some games where they easily could have won and it came down to a series here or there. But, good talent across the board, especially on defense, so that's what we're getting ready for and we have a good challenge."

(on it working both ways, but if it helps playing someone out of your division and someone not so familiar with you)
 "That's the main thing, is it does work both ways. Obviously, they do some things that we are not familiar with, but you hope that affects them as well. But it's definitely different in playing a team that you haven't played in quite some time and has different players and different schemes. It does take some getting used to. You realize the Cowboys and the Eagles and the Giants are going to be more familiar with the Redskins than we are, but you hope it works both ways and it still comes down to the basic fundamentals and seeing who can execute the best."

(on seeing former teammate LB-Marcus Washington on the other side of the ball)
"I was telling some of the guys earlier, Marcus was a big reason for the turnaround here in Indianapolis, as far as kind of establishing the identity of this team. He was a part of some big wins here for this organization. He was one of the first guys, he and (Mike) Peterson, one of the first guys where the business side of it came into play and we had to lose him. And that was a tough player to lose because he was a second-round pick coming in here, played from the very get-go and made a lot of plays. He's playing the same way for Washington as he played here, active, all around the ball, very rare size and speed combination. We still miss having him around here, and he'll be a player we will have to deal with on Sunday."

(on Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs)
"You're playing against one of the best coaches of all time. Coach Dungy pointed that out. You know he's going to have his guys ready to play. So he gives them an advantage because he's been in plenty of games before and has won a ton of games and won plenty of championships. His defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, I think is one of the best coordinators around, so I think we definitely have our hands full."

(on if it's nice to be 5-0 but have the attention on the Bears instead of the Colts)
"We really haven't thought a whole lot about it. We're just trying to take it week to week. Obviously if we keep winning some games, you're going to get some of the same questions that you had last year. We have a tough stretch coming up, starting this week against Washington. When the schedule came out, you kind of break it into pre-bye week and post-bye week. We knew it was going to be a tough stretch going into the bye week. We got through it, but it's even tougher starting after the bye week and starting with this Redskins game. So that's really all we're thinking about, and we always have, is taking it week to week. We can't worry about who's here and who's asking questions and who's getting attention. We're just trying to take care of our jobs."

(on if it is hard to get ready following the bye week)
"I don't think it is because of who you're playing. You start with the Redskins, a team that's as talented as anybody around. They've had some injuries, which everybody has, but it's hurt them in some spots due to injuries. But they have great talent, and I think it helps when you're playing teams like that. It gets your attention right away and it's going to make you prepare even harder. Hopefully that results in playing well against them."


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