Peyton Manning: Conference Call Highlights

During his weekly media conference call, Peyton Manning talked about the Redskins' secondary, how playing without WR Brandon Stokley impacts the offense, the progress of the Colts' rushing attack and much more!

(On the Redskins secondary)
"The have some great athletes back there. The injury issue is something that all teams face. We are dealing with it ourselves having a guy like Bob Sanders not playing. That is the thing that every team fights. There is obviously some great talent over there with (Carlos) Rogers, (Shawn) Springs, (Sean) Taylor and (Adam) Archuleta. They are guys that I have played against. I have played against Archuleta and Springs at different places. It is a talented group and when all are healthy it is about as athletic a group as there is out there." 

(On the Indianapolis run game)
"We have run it well the past two weeks. It is a heavily scrutinized phase of our team. After losing a guy like Edgerrin James, that has been the hot topic all off-season. It is probably over-analyzed to tell you the truth. It has kind of been by committee with Joseph Addai and Dominick Rhodes. I will throw myself in there. I think I have about seven yards rushing but I do have two touchdowns if that's fair. Those guys are working very hard and getting comfortable cutting off the offensive line and tight end blocks. I think they are improving each week. There is no question that for us to be the kind of team that we want to be that we have to be a balanced offense: running the ball, drop back passing and play action passing." 

(On if he sees a difference in the way teams are playing them defensively because Edgerrin James is no longer with the team)
"It is still week to week. Every week is a whole new challenge. Sometimes you see teams show something on film all week and you work on it then you come out in the game and they show something entirely different. That is how it has always been that you prepare for what you see and that you have to be prepared to adjust on the run. For the Colts offense, when people first think of us they think down the field with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, a deep pass offense. Through the years we have been a balanced offense that has been able to use all three phases." 

(On if they are focusing on the outside guys more now that Edgerrin James is gone)
"Certain times teams have. Tennessee and the Jets played quite a bit of pass coverage and not many man-to-man match-ups on Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne). If that is the case, obviously there are a lot of pass defenders out there, you have to be able to run the football. If you can't run the football against eight man coverages it can be an uphill battle." 

(On how not having Brandon Stokley this week impacts the team)
"Anytime you don't have one of your top football players it provides a challenge for us. Brandon Stokley has been a great player for us for the past few years. He has just had tough luck with the injury bug. The old cliché is true: you lose some of your top players then everyone else has to step up. Guys like Reggie Wayne and Marvin (Harrison) are great players. Dallas Clark is playing a great role for us. We have had a nice combination of being able to play both running backs at the same time, Joseph Addai and Dominick (Rhodes). Both guys catch the ball real well. Everyone else has to take that burden of Stokley not being in there." 

(On Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington
"Marcus is a very active guy. I know him very well from him being here and going against him in practice all of the time. He is a phenomenal athlete with that kind of size and great speed. He plays the game the right way. He is always full of energy and full of enthusiasm. He is a guy that you have to deal with on their defense.  They are really solid across the board. Teams have just made some plays against them. I think any time you are going to move the ball against that defense it is going to take you making plays. Making good throws and being able to block because they have good athletes and Gregg Williams does a great job with their schemes." 

"Marcus is a guy that came in a couple years after me. We formed a bond right away having played in the same conference and playing against each other in college. Marcus was one of the guys that really helped get the Colts turned around as far as changing our identity and the way teams perceive the Colts. He started making it where playing the Colts was not a sure fire win. It was a tough place to play in here. If you saw the Colts on your schedule you better be prepared to go 60 minutes. Marcus was a huge part of that turnaround. We hated to lose him but that is where the business side of the game comes in, the side that you don't like. We lost some great players through the years like Marcus Washington, Mike Peterson, Marcus Pollard and now Edgerrin James last year. You have to find a way 
to move on but Marcus was a huge part of our team and helped us win a ton of games." 

(On if he is frustrated with the perception that they are never able to win the big one)
"Obviously as you know there are a lot of analysts out there. There are a lot of different opinions out there. My thing is that I don't believe in defining someone's career or defining a team's legacy in the middle of it. If this is the last year for the Colts to play football in the NFL it would be one thing. If this was my last year to play, Marvin's (Harrison) last year to play and other guys that have been here that would be one thing. We feel like we are right here in the middle of if and certainly right here in the middle of a season. We have a good thing going this season and we have a tough schedule coming off the bye week starting with the Redskins this week. I think as far as what has happened in the past around here, we don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. We certainly evaluate the season before and what we did well and figure out the things that we could do better next year to make us a better team. If you sit around feeling sorry for yourself thinking about the previous season's loss it is going to affect you in the next season. So far I would say we have done a good job of trying to learn from last year and hopefully we can be a better team then last year."

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