Manning Media Conference Highlights

Colts QB Peyton Manning spoke to the media this week about the Titans defense, facing some former teammates, Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher, the last time the two teams met and more!

On a big division game...

"No question, your first division game, it's always a big one, and playing on the road in the Titans home opener. They're coming off a huge win over Jacksonville. Like Coach Dungy has always said, division games count double. This is a big game early in the season for us."

On the Titans having five former Colts players and the familiarity...

"Certainly, there's familiarity on both sides with personnel, and you're always going to change some things based on what they know. We had a similar situation when we played the Saints, with the Saints having some former Colts as well. So, you take that into account, but usually it comes down to the execution."

On how much change he has to go through going against former teammates...

"You take it into account. You certainly make some changes, change some signals and try to stay current with your offense and realizing that you have to mix some things up."

On the strength of the Titans defense...

"Like most defenses, you usually have to start up front. They have some really good players up front. (Albert) Haynesworth is a big man inside, tough to move around. He's healthy and played really well against Jacksonville. Take that into account in the run game and the pass rush ... (Kyle) Vanden Bosch is a guy that you have to account for every single play. They have some new guys in the secondary that are active, and I think (David) Thornton and (Keith) Bulluck are two of the more athletic linebackers as a tandem. So, pretty solid all of the way across the board. Like we always try to do, we need to protect the ball and need to take advantage of opportunities when we get them and try to get some touchdowns down in the red zone if we get down there."

Peyton Manning, Ryan Lilja
Tom Strattman/AP

On how important getting off to a good start is...

"You always want to get off to a good start if you can on the road, but as proven last week, it's not a necessity to win the game. But you sure would like that. It makes the coaches happy, and it certainly tries to set the tone for the whole game. It's something that you always try to do, but if it doesn't happen, it's finding a way to find your rhythm and eventually just trying to score more than them in the end is the ultimate goal."

On how much last year's game is still in the team's mind...

"You study the film. I think you study it from a very ‘X' and ‘Os' standpoint, but it's last season. Just like the game that we won here, the game we lost there has to be over with. But you certainly study those films because they have the same schemes, the same players, and you study to see what you can pick up on. At the same time, you realize that like all defenses every year, there are going to be some changes, there are going to be some certain things that we haven't seen yet, and try to be ready to adjust to those."

On how conscious the offense is about ball security...

"I think we're real conscious about that. That's something that we always stress. In practice, the defense is always trying to strip the ball. So, it's about kind of how you practice and about -- in a seven-on-seven drill when nobody's open -- trying to throw the ball away. You practice on protecting the ball. I had a coach tell me, one of the most important things about each play is that you possess it after that. And it's a very true statement. So, a punt is always going to be better than a turnover. You still try to be aggressive and take your shots down the field, but at the same time, you want to protect the ball and keep them off a short field."

On WR Reggie Wayne bouncing back after a slow start versus New Orleans...

"Reggie's a guy that's going to be involved in every single game. Certainly, early on, the Saints made a couple of plays, but there was no doubt that I was going to come right back to him and get him involved in the offense. He had a huge second half and a big difference in us winning the ballgame. It just tells you the kind of player that he is. He puts negative plays behind him and is always focused on the next one."

On his respect level for Titans coach Jeff Fisher and the stability he brings to the franchise...

"Jeff's an excellent football coach. We play against them twice every single year. Every time we play them, it's a great challenge. He always has his guys ready to play."

On the AFC South getting better...

"I think what has happened in the past is pretty irrelevant as far as what we're dealing with this year. It's a new season. Tennessee is 1-0 in the division, Jacksonville is 0-1, and Houston and the Colts haven't played a division game yet, so that's kind of how we're looking at it. It's a new season. We're going to go out there and try to earn it this year."


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