Colts Press Pass: Peyton Manning

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning talked to the media this week about preparing for the Lions, his backfield teammate Joseph Addai, talented tight end Dallas Clark and more!

On approaching the 3rd preseason game differently than the first two preseason games...

"That's what it sounds like. We'll kind of approach the week differently and gameplan and prepare. I think it's one of those things you have to be a little worried about admitting, because when you admit that you gameplan and then you don't go out there and play as well, you kind of wish you didn't say it in the first place. But we will kind of prepare for the Lions like we would a regular season game, and it sounds like we will play a little more than we have the first couple of games, which is what we do in the third game. The coaches are looking for their own things, you would have to ask them, but as players, you're looking to get into a rhythm, to get comfortable, to hopefully see as many situations as you can and succeed in those situations because it will probably be the last game we'll play extensively. Just get comfortable to go into the regular season feeling good about your position."

On if it is hard to get a rhythm playing only three series...

"I think it's hard if it was three three-and-out series. But the other night (vs. Chicago), we had some first downs, and each drive, even though we only scored seven, you had multiple plays on the drive and you kind of felt like you were in a flow. When (Coach Dungy) took us out, it felt like it was the right time because we just scored and you kind of felt like, ‘Hey, I think we could really continue to execute at this point.' And that's kind of what you want to ask yourself, is, ‘Do you feel comfortable?' I felt that was a good way to finish that game and hopefully we can pick it right up this Saturday with good execution on offense."

Eliot J. Schechter, Getty Images
On how important having two backs is in their offense...


"I think depth is crucial in the NFL today. I think you can't just say two backs as much as, "Who are the backs?' I think when you have a guy like Joseph (Addai) on the field as your starting back, you have to ask yourself, ‘Are we as good with him off the field as on the field?' Last year, you could say Dominic (Rhodes) and Joe, you feel good about both of them being in there on a 3rd-and-1, on a two-minute drill, in a red-zone drill, because Dominic was proven and Joseph proved it in a short amount of time that he could handle it. I think at this point right now, you're going to have the same situation with these younger backs. And until that comes about, I think you'll see Joseph in there. He deserves the opportunity to kind of carry that load. During the course of the season, you're always going to need a young back to step in and make a critical block or make a critical 3rd-and-1 conversion. We have some young guys working hard, battling, but I've been proud of Joseph and how hard he's worked this offseason to try to get his body ready to carry a 16-game load."

On if Joseph can handle a 16-game load as a feature back...

"I think Joseph has challenged himself on that. Edgerrin (James) was a, for the lack of a better term, freak of nature from that aspect. I remember asking him, ‘Are you alright? Are you tired?' He would have eight carries in a row and (Offensive Coordinator) Tom Moore is not forgiving: ‘If it's eight plays or if it's working, hey, I'm going to run it again. It's your job to be in shape.' And Edgerrin could handle that. So I think Joe wants that responsibility. He's trained hard this offseason and we're going to let him accept that challenge."

On what formations the Colts will use with a healthy offensive lineup, more of two TEs or three WRs...

"It goes back to ‘the football is only so big,' and you'd love to be able to drop back and have all five eligible receivers catch a pass on every play. Believe me, that would make things a lot easier on the field and in the locker room. I think that option is what we would like to get back to. I think last year we were kind of forced into only being a one-dimensional, two tight-end offense. We went out and said we're going to play this formation first, second and third down. Look at Dallas' third-down conversion against Baltimore which advanced us. That was against their nickel defensive back, which you would think they would feel good about that matchup, a DB covering a tight end. Actually, we feel good about that matchup because of what Dallas can do, but you like to be able to put your three wide-receiver set or even four wide-receiver set out there and be maybe a faster offense and have that mix. Dallas has that mix of speed and power, and then you have a three-receiver set which is more speed. So to get back to that will be a nice option. That's why we're working hard to get as comfortable and confident in our three wide-receiver sets."


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