Player Notes and Quotes: Sept. 16

Peyton Manning entered the history books (again) this week, tying John Unitas for regular-season victories. See what Manning thought about that milestone, hear from rookies Donald Brown, Austin Collie, Jerraud Powers and Pat McAfee, and get up-to-date on all your favorite Colts inside!

— QB Peyton Manning doesn't like comparisons to former Colts quarterback John Unitas. Manning tied Unitas with 118 regular season victories after leading Indianapolis past the Jaguars on Sunday. That's the most in franchise history.

"I try not to look at that stuff too much," Manning said. "John Unitas was one of my dad's favorite players, someone that my dad really looked up to. So I kind of look at (Unitas) at being at a different level. I know people want to make comparisons and everything. But it's hard for me to do that."

— Rookie RB Donald Brown got his NFL career off to a pretty good start against Jacksonville. Brown had 33 yards in 12 carries. But it was the one yard on a fourth-and-one situation late in the game that he didn't get that stuck with him afterwards.

"I take total blame for that. I should have got that fourth-and-one. It's my fault. The offensive line did a good job. I just didn't get it done. I was the one carrying the ball and I didn't get it done. End of story," Brown said.

— WR Reggie Wayne understands that the bull's eye on his back has gotten even bigger now that fellow WR Anthony Gonzalez is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury. Wayne, who earned a game ball for his performance against the Jaguars, knew that he would be the target of most defensive coordinators after the Colts released former Indianapolis WR Marvin Harrison in February.

"That (Gonzalez' injury)is not what you want to see, especially in the first week (of the season). Gonzo has worked so hard to get in this position he is in (as a starter). For (the knee injury) to happen, it's tough on everybody. Everybody has a little bit more pressure. Definitely a lot more pressure on me. Got to step it up," Wayne said.

— Rookie WR Austin Collie figured that he would be the Colts slot receiver, but with the injury to starter Anthony Gonzalez, he'll likely get extra work.

"I have no idea what's going to happen. I'm just concerned about getting better and continuing to work hard and continuing to maximize my potential," Collie said. "The loss of a teammate is huge, especially Anthony, who's a big-time contributor on this team and had a huge part in this offense."

— TE Dallas Clark, along with TE Jacob Tamme, could become more integral parts of the Colts' passing offense. Clark has played in the slot in the past. Tamme, meanwhile, was slated to see more playing time this season after battling injuries last year as a rookie.

"We have a number of tight ends that flex out and can play a hybrid type of position. Tamme does it and obviously Dallas can do it. We have some flexibility there. It just depends," said Colts coach Jim Caldwell.

— DT Antonio Johnson earned a game ball for his performance against the Jaguars. Johnson, who was picked up by the Colts last season from the Tennessee Titans' practice squad, started the Jacksonville game and responded with nine total tackles (five solo).

"(Johnson) played very, very well," Indianapolis team president Bill Polian said.

— DT Daniel Muir had his first extended playing time for the Colts in the win over the Jaguars. Muir had been signed last season after being released by the Green Bay Packers, but battled injuries during the year. That limited his playing time in 2008.

With Ed Johnson missing the Jacksonville game, Muir had one tackle in the game as he rotated with Antonio Johnson and Eric Foster.

— Rookie CB Jerraud Powers continues to impress. Powers started at right cornerback against the Jaguars as regular starter Marlin Jackson got work at the nickel spot.

"He came up big (against Jacksonville in his first NFL start)," Polian said. Powers was officially credited with four tackles and two passes broken up as he lined up against NFL veteran Torry Holt for most of the game.

Power was the first rookie to start a franchise season-opener at cornerback since Ashley Ambrose in 1992.

"Coming through the tunnel (before the game), I had a lot of jitters, a lot of excitement," Powers said. "I had to calm down after kickoff and make sure I played smooth."

— RB Chad Simpson got a game ball for special teams due to his work as the Colts' primary kickoff returner. Simpson had three kickoff returns, including one for 39 yards. He averaged 27.3 yards per kickoff return against the Jaguars on Sunday.

— The Colts' inability to come up with plays on several short-yardage situations against the Jaguars was a continuance of one of the team's greatest shortcomings last season.

"You have to be able to close teams out in the NFL, when you have that type of situation and we didn't get it done," said C Jeff Saturday. "We have to be better if we want to put teams away."

— PK Adam Vinatieri has been selected to be one of the Colts' two special teams captains for the 2009 season. Vinatieri, who underwent knee and hip surgery during the offseason, also will continue to split the team's placement duties with backup Shane Andrus. S Melvin Bullitt was picked in a team vote to be Indianapolis' second special teams captain. Bullitt is also the Colts' starting strong safety until former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders is able to return from offseason knee surgery.

— Rookie P Pat McAfee had both of his punts downed inside the Jacksonville 20-yard line Sunday (including one at the half yard line late in the fourth quarter). He also averaged 44 yards on the two kicks.

"Anytime we can get it down in that area, that's important. But in that particular situation, obviously, the half-yard line, it really puts [opposing teams] in a bind," Caldwell said.

That's the good news. The bad news is that he blames himself for Vinatieri's missed 52-yard field goal attempt.

"I was pretty happy with my punts, but I could have done a lot better on my holding. I didn't give (Vinatieri) a good enough chance to make it. I feel terrible for it. But I'm going to have to work on it and get better for next week," he said.

— DE Dwight Freeney's performance against Jacksonville impressed Colts owner Jim Irsay. Freeney was credited with just one sack against the Jaguars, but he added two quarterback hurries and was a force all day for the Indianapolis defense.

"He's one of the pillars you have in your franchise. You look back and say, 'Hey, this guy is building a Hall of Fame resume and is going to have a chance to be with (quarterback) Peyton (Manning), (former Colts running back) Edgerrin (James), and (former Colts wide receiver) Marvin (Harrison) in there," Irsay said.

— LB Gary Brackett was involved in two blitzes Sunday against Jacksonville. As a team, the Colts blitzed approximately 10 times in the Jaguars game.

"That's about 10 more times than we blitzed last year," he joked afterward.



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