Manning: We Want to Win the Game

Peyton Manning talked with the media this week as the Colts prepared to take on Tennessee. See what Manning had to say about working with Dallas Clark, his own statistical goals, coming out of the game early and more!

On how important it is to have a versatile TE like Dallas Clark in the offense:

"(Offensive Coordinator) Tom (Moore) has always said that his offense is built around the players that we have. Dallas gives us great flexibility to run some different formations. He's caught a lot of his passes in the slot, but he can be at the tight end and we can put him in the backfield as well. It's a credit to him and his versatility and ability to run and get open on linebackers and safeties. He got open on a corner (Thursday) night (at Jacksonville). Credit to him and his versatility and the ability to move him around."

On if he has the same understanding with Clark that he does with the other receivers:

"I think so. Obviously he and I put a lot of time in, and he's been here since '03 so that's a number of repetitions that we've repeated over and over. We talk a lot, obviously, during the course of the week about different things we are going to try to do with him. Tom and (WR Coach) Clyde Christensen design our red-zone throwing packages. We do a lot of things trying to get him some matchups to put him in a tough position for the defense and make it tough for them to defend."

On Clark being 41 yards from breaking the club record for receiving yards by TE:

"Dallas has had a great season. I saw where he broke (former Colts TE-John) Mackey's reception record a few weeks ago. Like I said, we'll see what happens in this game. Regardless of what happens, he's had an outstanding season and been a huge part of us getting on this winning streak."

On if getting to 4,000 passing yards this season means anything:

"No. That's not something that we're talking about or thinking about. Really, we want to win this game. We would like to continue our winning streak and go into the first week of the playoffs coming off a win and try to keep the momentum going. So, we're going to do whatever it takes to keep that going."

On how much he wants to play Sunday vs. Tennessee:

"I want to play the whole game. We're practicing normal this week, taking all the reps, and we'll see what happens as the game goes on."

On needing to win the last eight games to guarantee a playoff spot:

"That's the thing. It's been a nice thing that we've done, but it's also been a necessity. We really had to considering the rest of the AFC. Here at the end, you knew San Diego would come around and be back in the mix, you knew New England would, Pittsburgh and Tennessee have been great all year long and you knew Baltimore would. It has a chance to be a pretty star-studded AFC six playoff teams. The six teams that you probably thought would have gone at the end have a chance to end up going. We started off slowly and found ourselves at 3-4. It was just a matter of getting back to playing better football. There wasn't a players-only meeting or some great speech that anybody gave, it was just a matter of us doing some of the things that we were used to doing in years past and that started helping us win more ballgames."

On reseeding the playoffs and letting the team with the better record host regardless of division:

"I really haven't thought about that. That's something we really haven't thought much about because we've been fortunate and have won the division in years past. So, I never thought much about that. We certainly knew what the rules were when the season started. We put ourselves in too big of a hole to start the season. That's why we are where we are, but fortunately we've won enough games to get ourselves in the mix. Hopefully we can try to just take it one game at a time, starting with this week, and try to keep it going."

On having the must-win mindset the previous eight games:

"That's really the same approach here. We want to win the game. We want to get better. That's really what we've talked about all season long, but we've really done a better job, we've practiced what we preached these last eight weeks. We have gotten better during the week, and I feel like we've gotten better somewhere out there on Sunday. Whether it's a third-down conversion or red zone, we feel like we've improved in some phase somewhere out there on the field. That's the same plan and approach this week, to get better during the week of practice and to go out there and play well on Sunday and try to get a win. That's really all we're talking about."

On the running game:

"That's been a point of emphasis all season. You're always trying to improve in all phases of it and all aspects of it, but I know that's certainly something we want to improve."

On if he is surprised at how well the OL has played with a lack of continuity this season:

"Aside from (C) Jeff (Saturday) missing Cleveland and Cincinnati, for the most part, since week five or six once Charlie (Johnson) went to left guard and Tony (Ugoh) went to left tackle and Mike (Pollak) at right guard, it's pretty much been that same unit. (C) Jamey (Richard) has filled in nicely a couple of times, but I think that's what we were looking for from the get-go was to have a consistent five and have some continuity. And we definitely did not have that in the beginning of the season. We were shuffling. Charlie was playing every position on the offensive line. You had to kind of look up to see where he was going to be. (OT) Ryan (Diem) has really had a great year. He's been that rock at right tackle, so I appreciate his efforts. I think that's what we finally found somewhere in there, I guess after the Tennessee game (on Oct. 27), we found that solid group of five and I think that's really made a difference these last eight weeks."

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