Manning: We Have To Be Sharp

Peyton Manning talked to the media Wednesday as he continued his preparation for Sunday's game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. See what Manning had to say about the Packers, why he kept his second knee surgery under wraps, working with Marvin Harrison, and more!

On his first trip to Green Bay in 2000:

"I remember being excited to go up there, first time playing up there and playing against (QB) Brett (Favre). It didn't start out well. It was the elements. It was kind of light snow, but the first play of the game I dropped back and the ball fell out of my hands in our own end zone for a safety. That's not exactly how you want to start a game out on the road, but I do remember we came back. In the second half, I threw a few touchdowns. (FB) Jim Finn caught a touchdown, and so did (WR) E.G. Green and (WR-Jerome) Pathon. We had a chance to win at the end. I think Favre converted a 3rd down late and put the game away. I remember it was exciting to play up there. Coach (Tony) Dungy has been up there multiple times with Tampa and Minnesota. It is a special place to play and I'm looking forward to going up there again. Hopefully, we can play a little better than we did last time. Hopefully, we can get a win."

On if he tries to enjoy the environment before the game:

"I think, certainly, you appreciate the opportunity to be able to play in a place as historic as that place with all of the great players and coaches that have been there. Being a guy that appreciates the history of the game, it is special. Obviously, when it gets down to it, you're still focusing on reading the Mike linebacker or the strong safety and going out there and playing football. But, you do get excited about the opportunity to play there."

On what the offense needs to do this week:

"We just need to try to establish some consistency. There are still some things from the game Sunday that we need to improve on. We still need to find a way to convert more 3rd downs, be a little more balanced, try to improve our running game and those kinds of things. It was good to hit some plays. We were a little better on 3rd down and we've been pretty good down in the red zone, not having to settle for field goals and getting some touchdowns. It's a whole new challenge this week against a really good Green Bay team playing on the road. We always know that's tough, so we're just trying to establish some kind of consistency throughout the game and hopefully throughout the season."

On the unpredictable nature of this season:

"What we talked about all along, but especially as the season gets going, is all you can do is worry about yourself and take care of the Colts. You watch other games when you're not playing, so you do see some different things happening, but all we can do is worry about us. Hopefully, we're getting a few guys back this week and possibly could be missing some guys. We've been dealing with that all season. These young guys just have to step up. It would be nice to get a little bit of continuity going and some kind of a streak going if possible, but it's going to be a tough challenge going on the road to Green Bay this Sunday."

On Green Bay's defense:

"They're very sound in what they do. They are an aggressive defense with a lot of bump-and-run coverage and man-to-man-type coverage. They really challenge you. They're sound and well-coached with an excellent defensive coordinator. Bob Sanders does a good job coaching them. They're in the right place and it makes you have to execute your offense and run your plays. You don't see anybody running wide open because of a busted coverage, which is a credit to them. They are well coached and play their techniques right. We have to do the same thing. We have to be sharp in our execution in order to move the ball."

On if his second knee surgery delayed his return:

"I don't know. Once again, it's kind of irrelevant now. The reason I didn't really confirm or deny it the first time was I just didn't really want the Bears to know they were playing against a guy that was four weeks off of surgery. I know if I was playing against a corner that was four weeks off of surgery, I would test out how good that surgery was in that game. So, I just didn't think it was fair to reveal that information. I was just trying to not give them any kind of an advantage, whether they change their blitzes or whatnot. I didn't want to keep it from anybody, and it didn't necessarily have to be a secret, that was just the whole reasoning for it. (Phil) Simms asked me about it, so I just told him what happened. I figured that would be the end of it. It is what it is right now and hopefully it's getting better throughout the season."

On the media making a big deal about the second surgery:

"It was a whole ordeal for me, too. I had the first two surgeries of my life within two and a half weeks of each other. It was pretty significant for me and I'm glad to be out there playing now and practicing and hopefully getting better as the season goes on."

On how much secrecy goes on in the NFL:

"You have to disclose most things, but I do think when it comes to protecting a player and not giving the opponent any unfair advantage besides what you're required to reveal, that was the whole reason for that. That was what I wanted to do. I didn't want to change the way the Bears were going to game plan and scheme. It's been some time now, so it's over and done with."

On if WR-Marvin Harrison is playing his way back:

"I think Marv's speed has been there the whole time. I had him open against Houston a couple of times and I just didn't quite make the throws. The one thing I would say with Marv missing all the time he did last year and then he really didn't do as much in the April and May off-season mini-camps, his first time back was the training camp and that was the time that I missed. It was probably going on almost a solid year that he and I hadn't gotten all the work. I really didn't think it affected him as much as it affected me and getting back on the same page with him. I think he's been pretty good and pretty sharp and he still has that speed. I'm telling you, it's pretty rare to see a guy his age run the way he does. Everybody made a big deal out of (Baltimore CB-Chris) McAlister guessing and biting on that fake and I don't think it would have mattered. I think he has that kind of speed, which is rare. Hopefully, I can get the balls to him in the right place and we can hit some more of those big plays throughout the season."

On he sees any loss of speed with Harrison:

"No, no. I see him every day and besides (offensive coordinator) Tom (Moore) and (team president) Bill (Polian) nobody has seen it first-hand these past 11 years. I judge how far I need to throw it and I take two crow hops and throw it as far as I can and see if I can get it out there to him. It's been that way ever since I've been here. It's a credit to him for the kind of shape he stays in, but it's something unique to him. He has rare speed and to do it at his age is pretty special."

On the play where Harrison ran a post and he threw it outside:

"That was me. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. I was thinking right and I just didn't quite relay it the right way. That would have been a good opportunity. He had one-on-one coverage and he ran the route he was supposed to run and I just didn't throw it to the right place."

On if he takes pride in Harrison ranking in the top-four in NFL history in most receiving categories:

"I think everybody should. A guy like (C) Jeff (Saturday), who's been here just about the entire time, the other receivers, anybody that's been a part of it should enjoy it. It's been a pleasure to watch and to be able to throw those passes to him. He deserves to be where he is. There's no question, you do take joy just watching him and being a small part of it, but he's the one that's been doing all the work."

On how much different it is playing against a team he hasn't faced in five years compared to a familiar team in Baltimore last week:

"I could not say that I know exactly what the Ravens are going to do. They are a pretty unorthodox defense. But, you are playing an unfamiliar opponent. We had some of that against Minnesota a few weeks ago. The one thing is, you do know it works both ways, so there's a little bit of feeling out each other as the game goes on. I think you really think about trying to be really good at what you do, knowing you might have to adjust to something they might throw at you during the course of the game. You have to be sound at what you're doing, but know they are an excellent defense, and they are very well coached."

On throwing on the first 22 plays vs. Green Bay in 2004:

"There aren't many of the same players from that game. It's a different coach and a different coaching staff. They wouldn't stop blitzing. They blitzed all 22 of those plays, so we just kept throwing. That was one of those shootout-type matchups. You never know how the game will dictate, but I doubt that same thing would happen again."

On people saying the offense is back to top form:

"Just like you have to be careful when you have a bad team saying, ‘This team's old or lost its edge.' You have one good game and they say you're back. To me, it's about trying to find some continuity and consistency. Certainly, Sunday was more of what we like to see, but there are still some things we need to work on. We're last in the league in the running game right now, and that's not something we're used to. But, we are overcoming that with consistent 3rd-down conversions and hitting some deep plays. We would like to establish some kind of consistency throughout the entire game. Certainly, Sunday was a step in the right direction as far as the offense and defense feeding off one another. The defense was creating turnovers, and we protected the ball and kept them out of bad situations. Those are the kinds of things we have won with in the past and hopefully we can keep that going throughout the rest of the year."

On keeping the consistency:

"We're in the quick summary type of world now, so we try to summarize what's going to happen based on one game or one play. As we all know (the season) is 16 games, so the idea is to try to find some consistency. Every game presents its own challenge. Green Bay is a team that may not give you the chances to throw deep. You may have to throw a lot of short passes or run the ball a lot more. You never know what kind of identity the game is going to take on. Ultimately, it's about winning the game whether it's a high-scoring affair or low scoring. That's the best thing about these past two weeks is that we've ultimately won the game. We have a whole new challenge this week."

On the team running off long win streaks in past seasons:

"We have and it'd be nice, but it's never come easy. We've never taken it for granted. With our schedule, we have a tough second quarter (of the season), starting against Baltimore, and it's extremely tough going to Green Bay. Like we've always done, we'll take them one week at a time and hopefully we can play well."

On if it will be weird not seeing QB-Brett Favre in Green Bay:

"Yes, it probably will be a little bit in person. I've only played against him twice. I haven't seen much of their offense, just their defense, but I'm sure it will be a little bit. (QB-Aaron) Rodgers, from what I hear, it sounds like he's playing well. They still have lots of good players around him, but, yes, it will be a little bit different."


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