Peyton Manning Post-Practice Quotes

Following Wednesday's practice Colts quarterback Peyton Manning talked about making his first game appearance in Dallas this weekend, kicker Mike Vanderjagt, the Cowboys' defense, his running backs tandem and more!

(on what is impressive about Dallas' defense)
"They have some great athletes. That's probably the one thing that jumps out. They have great team speed and you see (DeMarcus) Ware, who is one of those rare combinations of great size, strength and speed and Roy Williams is all over the place and (Terence) Newman's probably one of the faster players in the league. So, that's just three of a number of guys that they have. They play well together, they're very sound in what they do, so it will be a real challenge for our offense."

(on being excited about playing his first game in Dallas)
"Yes, first time playing down there. I think there are four places that I haven't played, and you figure if you play long enough, you get to check each of them off. I've played the Cowboys twice here. You're always very aware of the great history and legacy of the Dallas Cowboys with all of the great players that have played in that stadium. But this is the 2006 team, and they're an excellent team, so that's what we have to contend with this week. It will be a big challenge for us."

(on Dallas' 3-4 defense and its personnel)
"I think most coaches would tell you that they're going to base their defense based on their players, but that's a scheme that they have and it seems they've drafted accordingly. They're big and they're strong and they're very athletic and just extremely sound. You don't see guys running open. They give you multiple looks. They have very impressive personnel and obviously well-coached at the same time."

(on if it is tough preparing for an NFC team, only playing them once very four years)
"No question, it's an unfamiliar opponent. We kind of new that coming into the season. When the schedule came out, we were going to play some teams that we just haven't played in some time, with different systems as well. So, there is more of a challenge during the week to get prepared for them and you realize that it does work both ways and they haven't really played against you necessarily either. But you definitely need to spend some more time preparing and getting ready for the different players and different looks you're going to see."

(on why the Colts have played so well on the road)
"It's hard to pinpoint a reason. I think when we play well, it's just because we do, because we execute, whether it's home or away. You can make the same mistakes at home that you can on the road. So, I think sometimes it's really more about how you play that particular Sunday. But there's no question we do spend a lot of time preparing for playing on the road, whether it's dealing with the crowd noise and working on our communication skills and hand signals and whatever that may be. So at a place like Dallas, which you hear is one of the louder places, it will be a challenge and the crowd is going to be very much a factor in the game."

(on the accomplishment of starting 9-0 in consecutive seasons)
"We really haven't talked about that very much. I certainly have not gotten into much of a comparative analysis of compared to last year, what it was like. We are truly kind of a one-week-at-a-time approach team. That's what we've always done and that's what we'll continue to do. You never take winning games for granted and you appreciate the wins. At the same time, you're always constantly trying to improve. We need to improve this week as a football team. We need to get better in certain phases of our game and have a good week of practice in order to go down there and hopefully play well against these guys."

(on if he thinks all of the close victories will help down the road)
"There is no way of measuring that, and you really can't tell. We have had different types of games this year. I do think one thing, the different experiences you can have early and the different situations, that definitely helps your young players, young players like Joe (Addai) and Ben Utecht and Dylan (Gandy), guys offensively at least that are playing a lot for us. The faster these guys can get accustomed to two-minute drills and third-down conversions and fourth-and-ones, hopefully that can help them later on in the season, which hopefully in turn will help our team."

(on if he is looking forward to seeing K-Mike Vanderjagt)
"Yes. This is the first year we've really had a number of marquee guys that are no longer here. We have had a spot guy here and there, from Mike Peterson to Marcus (Washington) to Ken Dilger to Marcus Pollard. But this year, losing Edgerrin (James) and Mike (Vanderjagt) and David (Thornton), that was kind of the first time it really hit us in a big group deal. I enjoyed seeing David before the game and I talk to Edgerrin via text message or calling, but we won't get a chance to see him. But yes, Mike and I were always out there warming up the same time when we played here, so I'm sure he'll be out there in pre-game. I feel fortunate to say that I've played with two of the best kickers of all-time, I really have. Mike was a huge part of our success here. People talk about all of our fourth-quarter comebacks. Only one or two of those resulted in having to score a touchdown, because usually we were in good enough position to only to need three at that point. You got it down to a certain yard-line and he just said, ‘Hey, get it as close as you can.' You think about that Denver game and I think about one in Buffalo. You kind of lose count, just how many game-winning kicks he made for us and come-from-behind victories he had for us…Mike was one of those guys that was really part of the turn-around for this franchise. He got here when I got here, coming off a 3-13 season, going 3-13 again, we got it turned around and he was as big a part of it as anybody."

(on all people think of K-Mike Vanderjagt is the missed 46-yard field goal)
"That's not how I describe him as a kicker. I describe him as clutch of a kicker as there was (while he played in Indianapolis). That's the way it is today for some people, but players on this team and players that played against him know how consistent of a guy he was and how big of kicks he made."

(on RBs-Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai lately)
"They're working hard. I'm just proud of the way they're working, really, and their execution is good. But they're putting in the time, they're preparing and they have kind of taken the challenge, sort of the public challenge of, ‘Can they be as good without Edgerrin James?' And those guys have really challenged themselves to be on top of the details and be on the offense. Both of them are really sharp with their mental grades, their blocking assignments and who to block. That's been real impressive for a guy like Joe, who's younger and for a guy like Dom, who hasn't played on a consistent basis during the time he has been here. So, I've been real pleased with that."

(on if RBs-Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai, in addition to the rushing yards, are doing the things fans may not notice)
"There's no question. In this offense, it's as complicated as any offense that there is with the flexibility of it. Some offenses, they may say, ‘Go in there and run this play,' or ‘Go in there and block No. 54.' But here, you better be prepared to block anybody and run any single play every single time, and both of those guys can handle the flexibility. That's been a big, important part of what we've been allowed to do this year. We've been able to run our normal offense, and because those two guys have handled the mental aspect of it."

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