Manning: We Have A Tough Challenge Monday

Peyton Manning huddled with the media Thursday for his weekly press conference. With the team getting ready to take on the 6-0 Tennessee Titans, Manning talked about Tennessee's personnel, what the offense will need to do to be effective, the strong play of Titans QB Kerry Collins, playing against former teammates, what it means to play on "Monday Night Football" and more!

On Tennessee LB-Keith Bulluck:

"Keith's a great player. He's been doing it for a long time. He has pretty rare speed and size combined. He's 6-4 and he still runs well. I guess he's in his ninth year now and he still runs extremely well. There's nothing he hasn't seen before, and he gives them a lot of flexibility with what they can do. They'll pass rush him some. They'll drop him and he can run with tight ends, so he's a great player."

On what has made Tennessee a better football team this year:

"I've always thought their defense has been excellent, and that's all I've been noticing this week. They play hard, they surround the football, they're excellent up front, good against the run, good pass rush, linebackers all run well and the secondary is very active. They are creating a lot of turnovers and getting their offense good field position. They've only given up one touchdown pass, so it tells you they're not giving up a lot of big plays through the air. I think their offense and defense are working well together."

On if he can help the young OL going up against Tennessee's DL:

"That's not something that I really get involved in. I know (OL Coach) Howard (Mudd) and those guys meet at the beginning of every week and talk about who we are playing and the scouting report. I think our young guys are smart enough to look on film and tell when they're playing against a really good player. There's no question it'll be a challenge up front this week because these guys are extremely tough in the defensive line. But, I know our guys will certainly be ready to play."

On WR-Reggie Wayne's versatility:

"He has the speed and the quickness to play in the slot and go across the middle. He's strong and physical and has zero fear as a receiver. Of course, he has the speed to get by guys on the outside and can get off versus bump-and-run coverage. It's just a credit to him being able to play both inside and outside."

On if Wayne is moved around to try and find matchups:

"We just try to put him in good spots to try to get the ball. That's the main reason."

On WR-Anthony Gonzalez:

"Gonzo's been outside and Reggie's been inside pretty much the majority of the season. That's the way it's been. That's just the rotation we've picked this year."

On how difficult it is to pass without effective play action:

"It's still game to game, I think. I wouldn't say that's the case for us all season. When you get into a game — I've always said this — you'd like the defense to feel threatened three different ways, drop-back pass, run and play action. That's when we're at our best, when we have all three of those phases working. That's certainly your goal every week, to get those three things established where you can have a defense off balance. That's what you try to establish every week if you can."

On if the offense has to make the most of each possession Monday against Tennessee:

"Yes, absolutely. They run the ball extremely well. (QB) Kerry (Collins) is protecting the ball real well, so we know our defense will have a challenge. When you get the ball it's your job to do something with it, no matter how many times it is or for how many minutes, is to try to get into the end zone. That's what we're aware of going into the game, and that's your job no matter who you're playing and when you're playing them."

On Tennessee QB-Kerry Collins:

"I like Kerry. He and I have known each other through the years. He's always been a guy that can really throw the football. Now that he's got an opportunity to play again, you're seeing what he's capable of doing. I haven't seen much of their offense, but he's doing a good job putting that offense in the right position. So, yes, I am happy for him."

On people saying Collins is having a great year and Manning is not even though Manning has better numbers:

"I don't really know. They are 6-0, that's definitely the truth. Things are usually a little rosier and easier when you're winning. When you're 3-3 you have to kind of grind it out. That's what we're going with right now. We have a tough challenge on Monday, going down there to play on the road against probably the hottest team in the league. That's where my focus is and what's on my plate."

On what it's like seeing former Colts play well for Tennessee:

"You hate to lose good players, you really do. (OG) Jake Scott seems to be paying well for them. A lot of our good players we've lost through the years have gone to different places, but a number of them have gone to the Titans. You hate to lose them, but I value the time when they were here. All those guys made huge contributions to our team. (CB-Nick) Harper and Jake were here on the team that won the championship. (LB-David) Thornton was here for a lot of big wins. You're indebted to them for the time they were here and happy that they're doing well other places. That's just the way the business works."

On if this game is a must win:

"I've never played a game where that wasn't the goal and it's what you didn't talk about, ‘We need to win this game, we want to win this game.' I don't really know what the specific label to this game is, but I know we need to have a good week of practice. It's certainly an important game because it's a division game and they are the leaders in the division. You certainly don't want to get too far behind in the division. Like I said, I don't really use those terms, but I know it's important. It's a game we need to play well in if we're going to have a chance."

On the penalties this season:

"You'd probably have to ask Coach (Tony) Dungy overall. I usually concern myself with the offensive penalties, but we have had some on special teams and on defense. You'd probably have to ask him for the reason. Penalties usually come down just to discipline or a lack of focus or concentration. We talk about there's concentration penalties like false starts and offsides, and then there's physical penalties like pass interference. Sometimes, those are close calls, but the concentration penalties are the ones that we just have to eliminate. It's too hard to win games and overcome those 15-yard penalties or a five-yard penalty that negates, potentially, a big play. Those are very correctable and ones we definitely need to correct in order to play better football."

On if teams are playing base defenses against the Colts this year:

"It depends. We started out the game with two tight ends last week and Green Bay came out in nickel against that. That tells you how they approach (TE) Dallas (Clark). With the respect they have for him, they're going to match up a DB on him or a linebacker. Then, of course, when you go three wide, teams are going to go nickel. Tennessee plays a lot of their base people. It depends on are you going to be dictated to or are you going to do what you want to do? I think it says a lot about their athletic linebackers that they keep (David) Thornton and keep (Keith) Bulluck in, because those guys can run with tight ends or backs, whatever it may be. You never know how teams are going to practice and how to approach it. We're always looking for substitutions. We got Green Bay with 12 men on the field the other day. It was a touchdown, so it negated the penalty. I kind of wanted to take the penalty because I like it when they have 12 or 13 on the field, but I thought it was fair to (RB) Dominic (Rhodes) to get the touchdown."

On if Monday Night Football still has luster:

"It'll be our first time playing on it this year. I still think when you're playing the only game being played at the time — the older I get the more I realize how players are excited for other players to watch them play, an old college teammate or a guy that they're good friends with on the Broncos or the Chiefs, whoever it may be. I definitely think, especially with all of our young guys, how excited they get to play and being the only game, and the fact that this week's down in Nashville, that place will be jumping. I know it'll be a great atmosphere. So, yes, it's exciting to be the only game being played at the time."


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