Conference call: Colts QB Peyton Manning


(On if Monday's game is a must-win)

It's certainly an important game. I guess you'd say it's unusual for us. I think we've kind of been through a lot these first six games. We've just had some injuries and some mistakes here and there and haven't played our best football at times and it's cost us some games. We'll certainly be coming into a hostile environment on Monday. We're well aware of the situation and the great record that the Titans have and the lead they have in the division. We always talk about division games and how important they are. You certainly don't want to get too far behind. Certainly just a huge game for both teams.

(On the toughest part of coming back from a knee injury)

I've really tried to put this whole thing to rest and really said all I wanted to say about it. Obviously, it's been an adjustment. All I've ever known is to take every repetition and to practice every practice. I missed training camp and it was the first practice I've ever missed. I've been real fortunate and have always had pretty good "want to" as far as being out there on the practice field. I think there's no substitution for being out there at practice and taking all the reps. Anytime you don't do that it's certainly going to have somewhat of an effect. But it's just something I've been working through all season.

(On if he feels like he's back in a groove and how frustrating the start hasbeen for him personally)

Like I said, nobody likes to lose games, ever. We're 3-3 and probably playing like a 3-3 team. In order to win games, you have to play better than a .500 team. I would like to think everybody on this team is disappointed and frustrated when you don't win a game, so it's no different than any other time you don't win a game around here. You're disappointed but you go back to work and you try to do something about it and try to be a better team the next week.

(On if this is the best Titans defense he's seen)

It's hard to say, I haven't played against them yet. But I've always thought they had an excellent defense. It's basically the same players and the same scheme and I've always thought they've been tough on defense. [They are] very sound in what they do, well-coached, they've always played hard and flown to the football. I've always had a lot of respect for this Titans' defense and it's always been a challenge and I know it will be a challenge on Monday night.

(On if he found any humor in the Fathead of him posted in the Titans' defensive line room)

First I've heard about that. I guess you have to give me a second to think about it. It's in the D-line room, huh? Yeah, well I guess that makes sense. I guess I don't have a whole lot of thought about it.

(On if the extra day will help rookies Mike Pollak and Jamey Richard settle in or if there might be changes)

Not that I know of. Certainly any time you have young guys in any position, experience is your best teacher. For any of our young players playing, obviously you teach them things in practice and you go through training camp and preseason, but there's nothing quite like playing in live games and you do have to kind of learn on the run. Those guys are working hard and those guys are getting better every week and that's all you can ask of them.

(On how big of a loss Jake Scott was on their offensive line)

Well, certainly we hate to lose starters on this team and we've lost a bunch of good players throughout the years, a number of them to the Titans. Nick Harper was an excellent starting player here for us, David Thornton was. Jake was an excellent player for us during his time here and you hate to see all those guys go. But that's sort of the give and the take. There's a reason other teams want them because they're good players. But it's probably the toughest part about it when you lose good players and I know he's playing real well for them.

(On combating cornerbacks who bump his receivers in efforts to get their timing off)

Obviously, it's something that you practice against. You practice all your throws versus a zone coverage, versus bump-and-run man coverage, versus off coverage. It's just the repetitions. Certainly there's a little different timing versus bump-and-run than it is versus off coverage. You sort of have your patterns that you think are better versus that type of coverage and it's also just knowing the receiver. The more you can throw your routes versus press coverage, or simulated press coverage, with each receiver the more you know when they're going to break and what angle they're coming out of. That's kind of part of playing quarterback and playing wide receiver.

(On what he sees out of the Titans cornerbacks and how they'll treat his receivers)

I certainly couldn't tell you how they're going to play us. But they're both physical corners. Of course Nick [Harper] is a physical guy, very good athlete. [Cortland] Finnegan is extremely quick and is a guy who's very confident in his abilities, as he should be, he makes a lot of plays for them. He's a physical guy. So two excellent cover corners, which gives them a lot of flexibility to the coverages that they want to play. It's nice to be able to play man-to-man knowing you have two excellent cover corners like they do.

(On if it's a challenge to face a Titans defense that has given up just one touchdown through the air and has 10 interceptions)

Well, it's certainly an impressive statistic. Certainly that means they're not giving up big plays and that they're creating turnovers for their offense, giving their offense good field position with the turnovers and like I said not giving up big, long touchdowns. It's any defenses goal and certainly something that they're doing a good job of. Like any week, but especially this week, it'll be important to try to protect the ball and obviously to find a way to get into the end zone somehow, someway through the air or on the ground. But the main thing is just trying to find a way to get in there.

(On if players get more pumped up to make a big play on Monday night)

I would probably have to say yes. Certainly it's very true that when you're playing on primetime television, there's no other competitive games on, it's obviously a chance for players to watch other players play. I think players like it when an old college teammate or a former teammate is getting a chance to watch them play or other coaches might be watching them play, whatever it might be. So sure, I think for all players both young players and veteran players, you always want to play well and put on a good performance and try to get a win when you're the only game on TV.

(On if he thinks that Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne are the best receivers in the league catching the ball out of frame)

Well by saying that I guess you're insinuating that they get a lot of bad throws (laughter). I tell you, those guys, I guess I would say that those guys do catch the ball well in different places. And they work at it. They do a lot of drills before practice. We have an excellent wide receivers coach in Clyde Christensen and he throws a lot of awkward balls or bad balls, whatever you want to call them and makes those guys work on catching them in different angles. Certainly, through the years they've made a lot of big plays and tough catches, acrobatic catches which, as a quarterback you certainly appreciate guys that are willing to make those type of catches.

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