Manning: It's a long trip

QB Peyton Manning talked to the media this week about the emergence of rookie WR Anthony Gonzalez, what still lies ahead for the Colts, what he'll do if Tom Brady breaks the single-season passing touchdown record, and more!

On WR-Anthony Gonzalez' improvement on the outside...

"He's gotten more repetitions out there obviously in practice, and he did a good job against Baltimore. But he needs to keep working, and he knows that, keep improving, keep getting more comfortable there. It's good to see him get in the end zone and make a couple of plays. He'll be a big part of it from here on out. Nobody really has (an idea) about Marvin and what's going on there, so Gonzo's the guy. We still have to find ways to get Reggie (Wayne) the ball. Baltimore was really double-covering Reggie and really conscious of him. We still have to beat that, but when that happens, it's going to give some single-coverage for Gonzo. And of course, Joe (Addai) made some good plays out of the backfield the other day."

On Anthony Gonzalez at the outside receiver position and the three-wide set...

"It's Gonzo out there at the right. We have to get Devin (Aromashodu) more comfortable there in the three-wides package. We essentially have been more two tight ends the past two games, even on third down, which is good because Dallas (Clark) is so versatile, but we have to get our three-wides package back going whether it's Devin in there or Craphonso (Thorpe). That has to be a package for us."

On Anthony Gonzalez being a pleasant surprise on the outside...

"It has, and I guess the thing that maybe even we forgot, too, is that he was the starting outside receiver for Ohio State. He just happened to go to the slot on third down and seemed to probably make a lot of plays there. He certainly knows the flanker position. When he got here, we pretty much had him just in the slot, so now that he's had some weeks to get some repetitions out wide, learning the system more, he's gotten more comfortable. He did a really good job making some plays the other day. He'll be big for us because you just don't know how teams are going to play you, whether they're going to try to rotate to Reggie or what not. You have to find a way to beat the double coverage, but at the same time, if somebody's getting singled, you have to be able to win in those matchups."

On seeing a lot of him rolling out, and if his skills in rolling out are underrated...

"It's something that (Asst. Head Coach/QBs) Jim Caldwell, who is a very detail-oriented coach, which I certainly have an appreciation for that, something we always do as part of our pre-practice routine, throwing on the run a little bit. There's a chance for some big plays to pop open. Sometimes those corners lose sight of those receivers and you can get some plays down the field, so you never quite know when it's going to pop up."


Jeff Saturday
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On the play of the offensive line despite moving around...

"Just like when you don't have a receiver playing, it's going to effect the quarterback. When you don't have a tackle playing, it's going to effect the guard, it's going to effect the center. Those guys are communicating so much, so it does have some effect on the other guys in there. (Offensive Line Coach) Howard (Mudd) has done a good job of plugging different guys in different spots, and it's a credit to those guys' versatility for studying, for Jake Scott to study the right tackle position, to study the left guard position, whatever it may be. Those guys find a way to get it done. No question, we've been dealing with some injuries there, which is part of it, but we're still finding a way to get it done. So it's a real credit to those guys for knowing their jobs as well as other people's jobs."

On if sitting in the second half at Baltimore was an advantage or not....

"It's one of those kind of awkward situations. We scored so many points so early and you're trying to just get out of there with a win somehow. I don't think anybody really saw that type of game coming around against Baltimore, especially with their defense. Our defense gave us such great field position, and we did a good job capping it off in the red zone getting touchdowns. With our kind of luck with injuries, with guys getting hurt, I guess when you have a chance to get some guys out and keep them from getting injured, you want to take advantage of it….We would certainly like to continue the execution that we've had the past couple of weeks offensively. We've done a pretty good job on third downs, been able to stay on the field and keep some drives alive. Our red zone execution has been good, and that will be important this week against Oakland."

On looking forward to marking Oakland off his list of places to play...

"When the schedule came out I knew Charlotte and Oakland were going to be two places that I haven't played in the regular season. It's just funny how the schedule works out. I've played Oakland three times here, it's never been out there. I know it's a tough place to play. Every game on the road is tough. It's a long trip. It comes at a critical time for us. This is an important game, it's been an important month for us. There's a lot out there on the line, and that's the one thing you want to try to stress to your young players, is when you have an opportunity to seize something, you need to go ahead and try to seize it. You don't want to wait for something else to happen and you can control what you can control. We have an opportunity against Oakland. It does not matter to me what their record is. In the NFL, you can't predict what's going to happen, but you can have some control over how you play, and we need to go out there and play well."

On if it is hard to prepare for a team you don't play often...

"It's a challenge. I think this is an important week of preparation for us to get familiar with these guys. Obviously you're going to be real familiar with Jacksonville and Tennessee, even Baltimore the past couple of years it's almost been like a division game. We've played them once a year, and (last year) twice. This is an important week to familiarize yourself with this team. You're certainly going to see some things that you haven't seen before, but we need to use this week of preparation to get ready for these guys."

On his thoughts of QB-Tom Brady approaching his record of 49 TD passes)...

"Tom's had an incredible season, and I certainly foresee him breaking that record real soon…Certainly when it happens, I'll call Tom privately and congratulate him. I still think it's hard to throw one touchdown, I really do. We've had some games where we've thrown one around here, and it's hard to get it in the end zone. So for him to be on pace for whatever it is, 55, is a great accomplishment. And when it happens, I'll call and congratulate him….You have to give credit where it's due. That's a ton of touchdowns for one season. And what he's doing is a huge reason they're winning. Obviously you have to have everybody else do their part, but that's what your job is as a quarterback, to do whatever you have to do to win, whether it's throwing the ball away or throwing it in the end zone. He's doing his job to help them win games, to win every game so far, so it's a real credit to him."


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