CONFERENCE CALL WITH: Peyton Manning

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning can sympathize with Redskins rookie Patrick Ramsey, having endured the growing pains of starting as a rookie. Manning started all 16 games. And Manning is also familiar with Redskins coach Steve Spurrier, who was a thorn in his side when both competed in college.

Q: What advice would you have for Patrick Ramsey?

A: He's a friend of mine, I've known him since high school. My dad and I have a camp in Louisiana and Patrick attended as a senior and worked as a counselor since he was in college at Tulane. I'm proud of him. He's a rookie quarterback, but it's a marathon, not a sprint. The main thing is to learn all you can. I got to play as a rookie and started every game and I feel like I learned a lot that season. We weren't a very good team, but I tried to take advantage of every game and every opportunity. As a result my second year I was ready to go and we turned it around. It's up to the individual quarterback, how he uses his time whether he's on the field or the sideline. I know Patrick will do a good job. He'll be fine, especially with Spurrier as the head coach.

Q: How long did it take you to feel comfortable and what was the hardest thing for you to get used to?

A: The most common answer is the speed of the game. The NFL is faster than the college game. The other thing is trying to adjust to the different defenses. And at the same time getting on the same page as the receivers, trying to get your timing down. At the same time you're learning brand new defenses and a new system. All that combines to make it tough. I felt most comfortable around the 12th or 13th game of my rookie season. I really felt then that I had a good grasp on things.

Q: What's it like facing a Spurrier team again? What memories does that bring back?

A: I'm more concerned with LaVar Arrington and Jeremiah Trotter and Fred Smoot and Champ Bailey and all those defensive guys. And facing a Marvin Lewis defense. I played against those defenses twice when he was in Baltimore. I feel like I'm playing against that coordinator, trying to guess what he'll do and the different blitzes I'll see. When I was at Tennessee, I always thought it was Tennessee against Florida. A lot of people said it was Spurrier against Peyton. Florida beat us three times when I started; they were a better team. Spurrier is an excellent coach and I know he'll do a great job again.

Q: But weren't some of the comments he made at the time aimed at you? Did they get under your skin?

A: I always saw it as a Tennessee-Florida rivalry. Coach Spurrier grew up in Tennessee and took pleasure in beating Tennessee as you would expect. It's one of the biggest rivalries going right now. But I've spent time with coach off the field at a couple of golf tournaments. He's always been nice and friendly to me. It's a challenge to play his teams.


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