Manning: On To The Next Opponent

Peyton Manning huddled with the media Wednesday to discuss the season so far and the Colts opponent this weekend, the San Deigo Chargers. See what Manning had to say about his offense, San Diego's defense, the increased efficiency of the Colts' offensive line, his arm strength, and more!

On if the offense is clicking now:

"It was really a big win this past Sunday (vs. Houston). We've always talked about trying to get on some kind of streak. We put ourselves in a hole early in the season, and we're truly taking it one week at a time. We are playing a really good team this Sunday. Their record is not indicative of the kind of team they are if you watch the films of the games. Carolina beats them on the last play of the game, and Denver beats them on the last play of the game. They easily could be 8-2 or 7-3 right now. They are a very talented team and always tough when you play them out there."

On if San Diego's defense has changed without LB-Shawne Merriman and with new Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera:

"When you watch the film, you still notice the players that are making plays for them. (LB-Shaun) Phillips and (LB-Stephen) Cooper gets them organized in there, and they're very talented in the secondary. Teams that have moved the ball and scored some points on them have made plays, made tight throws, made some catches and made some runs after the catch. It's going to be that way. It's going to be a dogfight. It's going to be tough to move the ball against them, and we just have to find a way to execute. The things we've been doing a job of will be important again, protecting the ball, being pretty good on first and second down, which gives you a better chance to convert some third downs, but it'll be a challenge this week."

On if it was a bizarre game last season at San Diego:

"Yes, it was. You never know quite what's going to happen here late in the season, but it's an important game for both teams. Both teams are fighting and hanging in there in the AFC, and that's why I think it'll be a good ballgame."

On the progress of the offense:

"(Assessing the progress) is really not for me to do. We're on a one-week-at-a-time type of situation. It was a good win for us this past Sunday, but it's a whole new challenge this Sunday. It's a whole different style of defense, different players, and we need to try to get better this next week than we were this past week. We need to build on some of the things we're doing well, but we need to do a better job in the red zone this Sunday than last Sunday. The field goals were nice, and (K) Adam (Vinatieri) made some great kicks, but we'd like to score more touchdowns when we get down there. Those are things we can build on, and hopefully we will."

On playing from behind vs. San Diego:

"I don't know if it's necessarily a common trend with them. That's always something that you try not to do. You always want to get the lead on a team if you can, but when a team wins the coin toss and goes out and scores on the first drive, obviously you're going to be behind after the first series. That's what happened last week. It's a four-quarter game. All of our games have come down to the fourth quarter, and you certainly expect this one to, as well. Hopefully, we can come out on top. That's what you're working for and hoping for. Trying to make those plays in the first, second, third, fourth quarter that are going to give you a chance to win in the fourth is important as well."

On if the OL is a work in progress:

"(C) Jeff (Saturday) can give you a better answer for that. He's more qualified to speak on what's going on with those guys day in and day out and at the line of scrimmage. Those guys are fighting hard, working hard, and I certainly appreciate that."

On if different OL combinations affects him:

"Sure. I think the one thing that has been nice the past few weeks, we have had more continuity. I think you want that at any position, whether it's a receiving corps position or your secondary, which has been different for us, so it's been nice to have a little more continuity (on the OL) the past few weeks."

On plugging guys into a position when someone goes down:

"That's something that has been going on around here for a while. Coach (Tony) Dungy always talks about that everybody's one play away and it's their job as a professional athlete to be ready to play and go in there and know what to do. That's your job as a professional athlete."

On if he knows how OT works in the NFL:

"I know the rules, yes. I probably agree that a lot of people who wouldn't admit that whether they knew or not, but I did know the rule."

On how many people have lied about knowing the rule:

"I don't know. I think it's certainly come to light these past few days. I think more players are aware of it now, but the rookies did admit that some of them didn't know, because, obviously, in college it's a different set of rules."

On if he likes the current OT system:

"I'm trying to think of the overtime games we've had. We've lost the toss before. The last overtime game I can recall would have been against San Diego (in 2004), and we won the toss and went and scored. Against Tampa the year before, we lost the toss. We had that great comeback (from down 35-14 with four minutes left), lost the toss, stopped them, they punted, (RB) Dominic Rhodes roughed the punter – which we never have let him forget about – yet we still won the game. I don't know. Maybe I haven't played enough to have a complete answer. It doesn't seem quite right when you lose the toss and never get a chance to get on the field. I've never liked that part about it."

On if he would like to see an OT style similar to the NCAA:

"Possibly. If you ask me personally, I'd like to at least see both offenses get a chance to get on the field."

On if it feels different after winning three straight games:

"There's no time. It's just on to the next opponent. We're still beat up, still have some key players that have been injured and haven't been playing. When that's the case, you're always going to be fighting and grinding and having to step up in certain spots. That's going to be the case from here on out, it seems like. We're still just trying to fight and scratch our way and hopefully can find a way to get a win this week, but it'll be tough."

On if he thinks about past meetings with teams that have strung together wins against the Colts:

"Not really. You just can't afford to right here in the middle of the season. Certainly, you study old games from a critical standpoint and an Xs-and-Os standpoint. Here we are in the middle of the season. You look and see what they're doing on defense this year and get ready for the 2008 game."

On playing San Diego recently:

"Like New England, it's a team not in our division that we have played at least once for the past couple of years, so there certainly is some familiarity with the personnel. They're a pretty diverse defense, giving you different looks each week, so you have to prepare for one thing and be ready to adjust to whatever they have for that particular game."

On not turning the ball over:

"It's always an emphasis. It's something we've done a better job of the past few weeks, and that will be critical versus these guys. These guys are always capable of creating a lot of those. A lot of the basic, fundamental things will be important. (Not committing turnovers), trying to score touchdowns in the red zone, trying to avoid the negative plays, those are things you always want to build on. We've been better with the turnover ratio. We still need to improve on our penalty discipline, and obviously would like to create some more big plays if possible."

On the team having only one lost fumble this season:

"I don't know if I really feel comfortable talking about it. We just try to emphasize ball security. The guys have been doing a good job of it the past few weeks."

On if he tries to watch how much he throws:

"I don't know. I really haven't thought too much about it. We go out there and practice and just run whatever plays that are called. You kind of have the same practice routine each day you kind of know about. I really haven't thought about it too much in season, I just go out there and work on whatever we need to work on."

On if his arm feels fresh:

"Yes, it feels pretty good right now. It's nice when you win in November, you get Mondays off. That certainly probably doesn't hurt things to have two days off going into Wednesday, but yes, it feels pretty good."

On if he feels like he's throwing more than normal in games:

"Early in the season it probably did. In the opening game (vs. Chicago), we came out and threw it almost 50 times. That was probably more than we expected to that game. It's kind of what we've been having to do to move the ball, up until this past Sunday when we did get our running game back on track to our expectations, to where (C) Jeff Saturday and (RB) Joe (Addai) and (RB) Dominic (Rhodes) expect to run it and the way we've run the ball in years past. You have to be prepared each game for however it's going to unfold, with a lot of runs or a lot of passes or, ideally, hopefully, a pretty good balance."

On running so many plays vs. Houston:

"That was our most plays, by far, which is what you want. Eighty plays, that's what you want. You want an opportunity with the ball to be able to run whatever you want to run. That's what you're shooting for."

On averaging almost 50 passes in games against San Diego:

"You just don't know how the game is going to unfold. You don't know what the score is going to be, if you're going to be in catch-up mode or how they are playing it. Every game just presents a new challenge, and you just see how the gameplan unfolds."


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