Chargers Talk: Defense

San Diego Chargers linebackers Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman sat down with the media to talk about the team's matchup with Indianapolis Sunday, playing against Peyton Manning, and more!

Outside linebacker Shaun Phillips:

On what effect the success the Chargers have had against the Colts in Indianapolis have on this game ...

"Nothing at all. I think it just gives us a little bit of confidence, but nothing at all. That was two years ago and we're a completely different team and so are they."

On how confident he is in the secondary going against Peyton Manning ...

"I'm confident, but yet it's playoff time and Peyton Manning's still Peyton Manning. He might go down as the greatest quarterback ever to play football. Those guys are up for the challenge. It's not about what those four guys can do. It's about what all 11 guys on defense can do together.

We need to get pressure up front. DB's need to cover. Linebackers need to get depth, linebackers need to stop the run. It's playoff time so it's whatever it takes now. Whatever we need to do to get all 11 guys fired up out there and hopefully Peyton plays the worst game of his life and we're prepared to do that."

On whether Peyton DID have that game the last time they played ...

"That's the thing. How often are you going to get Peyton Manning to throw six picks in a game? That's a very rare occurrence. That might be a "Jeopardy!" question later in life or something.

Peyton, he's a hell of a quarterback and I'm pretty sure he's going to be on his ‘A' game and they're still the World Champs and they're playing at home. It's going to be a tough one, but we're prepared."

On how exciting it is to play in Indianapolis after going to Purdue ...

"I'm kind of excited because I've got old coaches and some old friends that are back in Indiana. It's definitely going to be fun for me personally.

Besides, the stage is set. I'm pretty sure we went in there and knocked them out (in 2005). (In 2005) they were (13-0) and knocked off their great season, so I'm pretty sure they're going to have a lot of emotion and they're going to be fired up and ready to go also."

On how Manning's audibles and motions, how does that affect a defense ...

"You try to memorize stuff like that, but Peyton is good with giving bogus calls and being real animated and gets you guessing. He could do all this and it could be a simple handoff run play.

But that's Peyton. He's been doing the same thing for the last eight years or whatever he's been playing. I think you've just got to ... the key to it ... you just really have to get pressure on him. If you can get pressure on Peyton that's the best thing you could possibly do. It helps out the DB's, it throws off the timing of routes a little bit. I just think that's huge in dealing with Peyton is to make sure you hit him as much as possible."

On whether he followed the Colts when he was at Purdue ...

"No, I'm from Philadelphia so I was a big Eagles fan. Of course I'll never forget my freshman year the Colts came and played a preseason game at our stadium.

They came up and I was just standing in the hallway with all of those guys. I thought Peyton was the tallest thing I'd ever seen in my life. He looked about 6-8 and I was a young freshman coming out of high school.

You get Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison and those guys out there, it was a great experience for me. I have had Indianapolis on the backburner just a little bit because it's right down the road but not that much though."

On how big an icon Peyton is in that area ...

"Peyton is the man back there, but I don't know, him and (Drew) Brees is close second, especially in West Lafayette. Brees has streets named after him and everything. Peyton is the man out there. It's his state."


Merriman lines up against San Francisco
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman:

On whether beating the Colts in 2005 and doing so well against Peyton Manning this year does anything for his confidence ...

"No, not really. I mean, that was my rookie year, two years ago. They're going to take a different approach this game. We're going to take a different approach and go out there and see what happens. We're going to get their best shot. They're going to get ours. I think it's going to be a great game."

On whether he thinks the Chargers were fortunate to win in November considering the Colts had a number of people out?

"I wouldn't say fortunate because Peyton threw six picks and that's probably never going to happen again in his career but unfortunate things happen in games sometimes.

They had a weird interception in the end zone that ended up being a touchback or whatever it was. So there was a bunch of unfortunate things happening that game on both sides of the ball. They're a talented team so they're going to go out and make some plays and we just have to overcome them."

On whether the Colts are going to be a better team this time ...

"Who knows? I think that we both played in bad conditions, in rain weather and the field wasn't the greatest of all. Like I said, for Peyton to throw six picks, that could have been the weather or could have been us playing good defense, who knows? But we know we're going to see a great team."

On what makes Manning so good ...

"I think a guy like that, you have to go and put pressure on him because you sit back and let him do the things he does the best, he'll pick you apart. I think that's what they thrive their game off of and base their game off of, him having that quick release and getting rid of the ball and him making plays for them. They have the guys to get the ball and make it happen."

On if it's difficult to know when to blitz Manning or cover (Joseph) Addai, cover whoever ...

"It does because they have a lot of weapons and whether Marvin (Harrison) plays this week or not or if he's coming back, nobody knows. But like I said, the great thing about the NFL is it's always the guy that comes up and plays right behind him.

We didn't know about Reggie Wayne until a few years back and he started having great seasons. He had a great season this year. Joseph Addai, after Edgerrin James left, and he came up and he played. This is the NFL. Guys come up and step and play each and every week."


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