Manning: It's Our Job

QB Peyton Manning talks to the media about his Pro Bowl selection, the importance of keeping your focus late in the season, center Jeff Saturday, the importance of ball protection, and much more!

On being named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster with RB-Joseph Addai, DB-Bob Sanders, C-Jeff Saturday and WR-Reggie Wayne...

"It's great. I'm real happy for all of the guys that made it. Obviously Jeff, Reggie and Bob all had outstanding years. I'm glad to see Joseph making his first one. I know he's excited about that. You always like to see guys that have great years get to go. Like Coach (Tony) Dungy told the team, we had a lot of guys that we thought could have gone, whether it's Dallas (Clark) or Gary Brackett or Marlin (Jackson) and Antoine Bethea, a number of guys. But we certainly still appreciate how they play."

On what goals are left now that the Colts have the No. 2 seed clinched...

"I think it's our job as professional football players to continue to work hard and to get better and to go out and try to play our best and win this game on Sunday. It's our job. Like somebody said around here once of the games, ‘You ought to play for free. You get paid to practice.' So that's the mindset right now, is to have a good week of practice, to improve on some things we need to improve on. With all of the young players that we have and the new players, it definitely makes it easy to focus on getting better. You can always talk about another route or talk about another protection concept, and you're always into practice because there are so many new things to learn. So that's kind of where we are and getting ready to try to beat Houston."

On the importance of protecting the ball...

"I had a coach in college that told me that the most important thing about each play is that you possess the ball at the end of that play, which is kind of a simple coaching point, but really that's more important than getting a first down or even a touchdown, is that you possess that ball at the end of the play. So certainly as a quarterback you want to do your job to protect it when you're throwing it or protect it when you have it in the pocket. It's something that we emphasize and something that's important every single week. It's important at the end of the game to say we did a good job protecting the ball because turnovers can really hurt you."

On it being different for a quarterback protecting the ball, and how you can protect it when you're going down and not turn it over...

"You just try to protect it. Sometimes you have to know when to say, ‘Okay, you got me this time. We'll try to make up for it on the next play.' You definitely want to try to have two strong hands on it in the pocket when you have it. Like I said, be smart, and once guys get around you, be sure you can hold onto it."


Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday
Bob Levey/Getty Images

On the QB-Center combination and what it means for he and Jeff Saturday to have played the number of games together that they have...

"It's critical for what we do, with all of the checks that we make. Jeff has kind of his own language, vocabulary of audibles that he's making. You have to have a certain guy there at center that can handle that from a mental standpoint and at the same time be able to block 330-pound nose guards. What we ask Jeff to do is extremely difficult, but he accepts the challenge every week, and that's why he's the best center in the league."

On improving the running game...

"I think offensively we can improve in a lot of areas. From last week's game and the overall execution, you want to try to get back to being a little more balanced if we can as far as being able to run it on first down effectively, to drop back and pass and throw in a little play action. All three of those things kind of feed off one another. So overall offensively, we'd like to improve this week and play better against Houston."

On the playing style of the Texans' defensive line....

"They're real active and they're playing at a high level right now. They're disruptive in the run game and the pass game, so certainly we'll have a real challenge up front. Then, they do a great job of freeing up their linebackers. (DeMeco) Ryans makes a lot of tackles because he really feeds off that defensive line. So it will be important to do our best to try to block these guys this week."

On if there becomes a point where getting some guys rest becomes a priority...

"I know Coach Dungy meets with the medical staff and has to make certain determinations, but I really believe that you get better or you get worse, you don't stay the same. So I think we really need to use this week to get better as a football team and try to get ourselves ready to go win a game on Sunday. I know it's time for other people to talk about games beyond this, but really all we're focused on is Houston. It's the second time we're playing them in the division, it's a team that we're going to continue to play twice a year from here on out, and it's a game you want to win at home. At the same time, we need to use this week to get better as a team, to improve our passing game, to improve our offensive execution and get more on the same page with some of our new players. I think it's the week to do that, and hopefully that translates to good execution on the field."


Colts Blitz Top Stories