Manning: It's a Great Rivalry

QB Peyton Manning (AP/Darron Cummings)

Peyton Manning talked to the media this week about the rivalry with the Patriots, the difficulty of playing in Foxboro, how he is coping with the grind of the NFL season, and more ...

On is it just the next game or is this game a little more special:

"It's a great rivalry, there is no question about it. It really has been like a division game. I think we have played them every year since 2003, a couple of times twice a year. There is no question it's a big game, but it's really big because it is the next one. The middle of this season, it's competitive within our division, and we're trying to compete with Tennessee and Houston and Jacksonville. You want to try to just keep winning game. The Patriots are playing really well on both sides of the ball, coming off a big win against Pittsburgh. It will be a great challenge."

On what grinding means:

"I think it just means trying to get a little bit better each week, understanding that things might not be picture perfect, that it might be a two-yard gain here or a five-yard completion there that you have to be happy about and be able to accept. It doesn't mean lowering your expectations. It just means that we are somewhat in a transition process with some of our new players. We're just really working hard trying to get on the same page as some of our new guys, so you can still have some offensive production. It does take a lot of work, a lot of preparation, a lot more than what you would normally have to do because you're spending extra time working with some of these new guys. It is kind of a grind, if you will, but it's certainly well worth it when you come out with a win or you get a guy like WR-Brandon James who in his first career game makes a couple of big third-down catches. It's worth the grind."

On how much of a grind has the last month been:

"It's definitely been a challenge from a preparation standpoint. We've certainly had some major injuries, guys like TE-Dallas (Clark), but even some of the replacements have been injured. The challenge is getting on the same page, not necessarily knowing who is going to be available to play that week. But you have to do it. Other guys are stepping up at different times. It's a great opportunity for guys like TE Jacob Tamme or RB Javarris James, some new guys. I think those guys are making the most out of the opportunity."

On if he needs to be more patient with a lot of new guys out on the field with him:

"I think so. I certainly try to remind myself of that. I don't always follow through. I think you have to, just knowing that we have some new guys. Like I said, TE-Jacob (Tamme) has been here three years, but he really hasn't played that much, and he's seeing three different types of defenses; you got the Eagles defense, Bengals defense, now the Patriots defense. Every week there is something new. You do have to be patient with that and understand that there is going to be some adjustments and some of what we call storms that you have to sort of work through. If you can work through, at the same time getting a win, and realize that we are making some improvement in certain areas, then that is a good thing."

On if he is hopeful that WR Austin Collie will be back this week:

"I'm hoping always that everybody is able to come back. Anybody that is not on injured reserved you're hopeful every single week, but you have to prepare with who is practicing. It kind of has become a day-to-day, week-to-week thing of who is going to be available, so we'll just have to wait and see. When you're playing the Patriots, sure, you'd like to be able to take as many good players with you as possible."

On if having the new players makes the Colts somewhat more difficult at times to prepare for:

"I guess you have to ask them if it makes it more difficult. I guess it's a little bit different. I'd rather them have to prepare for us with TE-Dallas Clark and (RB-Joseph) Addai and some of those guys. But I do think that there is some unknown there. Every time we've played the Patriots, you've always kind of seen them having something for Dallas Clark. Now, he's not in. What does that mean? Do they transfer that package to TE-Jacob Tamme? Do they take it to WR-Reggie Wayne? Do they take it to somebody else? Who knows. I think maybe they have some unknown, but we have some unknown also because we're not sure what it is they are going to do. There is a little bit of wait and see approach on Sunday, and it's been that way for the past couple of weeks because Dallas was such an ‘X' factor and teams had a Dallas package, and now that he's not in there I think it works both ways."

On Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell saying that this is more like what the NFL is all about, that it's not always going to be a 12-0 start:

"I certainly think it is. When you look around the league, you certainly see teams… That is why I kind of respond to questions about injuries, but you do get tired of talking about it because everybody is dealing with it. Ours have just come at not the best times, I guess. Like I said, when we have had some of the replacements getting injured, that's thrown a little bit of a wrinkle in it. But you have to find a way to deal with it. I think adjusting is the main thing. Certain guys, I think, are hard to replace, but you do have to adjust and just find a way to get a win, offense picking up the defense, defense picking the offense, like they did on Sunday against Cincinnati and making a play somewhere. (K-Adam) Vinatieri was solid against Cincinnati. It's going to take everybody doing their part to find a way to get a win, but to think that we're going to go and blow somebody out, I think may not be as realistic as much as, ‘Hey, find a way to hang in there and make a play in the fourth quarter to get a win.'"

On TE Jacob Tamme:

"Jacob has always been a very conscientious guy. Like I said, you never like to see somebody get injured to allow someone an opportunity, but I think we always thought that he had some playmaking abilities, it was just when and why would you ever take TE-Dallas (Clark) off the field? Now that Dallas is injured, Jacob has done a good job. He's really been studying a lot. I think he does admit that playing in the games does kind of bring a whole different part of football into play. There's practice and then there is games. He and I are getting game reps together. The one nice thing is that I think we can make improvement just throughout the season, but he has really done a good job for us."

On how much trust he has in TE Jacob Tamme:

"I think you have to trust him. There is no time to get out there and say, ‘Boy, I can't make this play because I'm not sure.' You have to go out there and go play. That's why practice reps, walk-throughs and meetings, we do a little extra meeting together with some of these young guys, we have a little school after Thursday's practice…I'm at least 14 years older than everybody in the room, I think. It may not be 14, but I feel really old. RB-Javarris James, WR-Blair White, WR-Brandon James and Tamme and (WR-Austin) Collie, it's a little Colts school after practice, but it's fun. We talk about kind of the basic fundamental things which you have to do, you can't take those things for granted with some of these new guys that just haven't been playing."

On the Colts and Patriots both claiming to have been the best team in the last decade and how he sees it:

"That is too hard to get into. Somebody was asking me earlier about previous games and what not, when you're in the middle of the 2010 season, when you're playing the Patriots this year and you're dealing with some of the things we're dealing with, it's hard to think of anything else besides our team and this game. That's really all I can say."

On what he thought of how animated QB Tom Brady was in their game last week against Pittsburgh:

"I did not watch the TV game. I watched the game film which is just the defense. I didn't see it."

On what he does in the moment when a receiver drops a pass or runs a bad route:

"Different things through the years, I guess. We don't huddle, so that's one thing, you have to move on to the next play right away and realize that there is going to be missed throws, poor passes on my part that you have put it out of your mind and get on to the next play. The key is to keep it from dragging you further down. That's the biggest key."

On DE Dwight Freeney saying that it is hard to put into perspective right now what the Colts-Patriots rivalry means, but in 10 or 20 years be able to look back and see how special the series has been:

"I do agree with that. I do think every year when you're playing against them that all you think about is this particular year, where we are in the season. It's always been around this time in November, both teams have had good records and playing with a lot at stake. I do think after all of us stop playing that you will be able to sit back and reflect on some of the great games and last-minute victories, one way or the other. But we are in the middle of it and it's really hard to think about anything besides the 2010 game for this year."

On if outside of the Super Bowl does Foxboro bring some of the biggest memories on both sides of his career:

"It would take me some time to think about that. It's a tough place to play. We haven't been up there in a couple of years, I think since 2006, but we've certainly been letting our young players know how loud it is, how difficult it is to communicate, and we know that will be the case this Sunday. I think this is the first time in awhile this game is going to be played in the day time. This has been a night time only game, so it will be the first time in awhile. It's a tough place to play."


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