Colts Conference Calls

Transcripts of conference calls by Peyton Manning and Jim Caldwell with reporters at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Tuesday morning:

COLTS QB PEYTON MANNING

On Rex Ryan's comments about this game being personal…

I haven't been aware of it. It's obviously has been a short week and we just finished playing Sunday and yesterday. It's a short week so you have a short time to prepare. I wasn't aware of it. I don't really have a response for you.

On why he has had success against the Jets defense…

Those are your words as far as saying success. It's really about the Jets. The Ravens have different players and are a different team. I played them twice last year and they are as good as they advertise. They are excellent from a scheme standpoint, and I think playerwise they are better than they were last year. They've added some really good players and from the film I've seen so far, we are cramming to get caught up since it's a Saturday night game. They are playing really well on defense, statistically they are ranked high in all the categories, so it's going to be a tough challenge.

On looking at Ryan's defensive tendencies while he was at Baltimore…

I don't know about tendencies. When you play a coach in his first year at a ballclub, it's worthwhile to look back at where he has been, especially when you play against them. It's a part of the normal routine from a studying standpoint. There are plenty of films from this year to look at and they continue to give you a lot of different looks, they have played lots of different people, but I still think offensively or defensively it's still about the players that you have. They have good players and that's what allows their defense to do some of the things that they do because they have so much confidence in the abilities of their players, and they should.

On the difference between the Jets defense this year and last year…

I'm still making those determinations. There's still plenty to study. They are an aggressive defense and they create a lot of plays. They allow negative plays for the offense. They can get you in a lot of bad downs and distances, a lot of second-and-longs and third-and-longs, and those are just hard to overcome. Like I said, the addition of some new players has made them even better, I think.

On his offense's success over the past month…

It's hard to pinpoint one particular thing. I think we have played better on offense. We have a little bit more consistency with our running game. Dominic Rhodes has been a nice addition. Donald Brown has been better through the season. We've had Joseph Addai back the past two weeks so that certainly helps. As you think it would be, young players, guys like Blair White and Jacob Tamme, have continued to improve.

Experience, I think, is still your best teacher. Those guys have been thrown into the fire and it's Tamme's first year of playing even though it's his third year and White is a rookie. Those guys had to play some games to see how fast defenses are and how complex they can be. Those guys have improved throughout the season. I would say it's a combination of things.

On if he has made any adjustments to help out young players…

I'm always working to get on the same page as the receivers you are throwing to, whether it's Reggie Wayne, who I've been with for 10 years and we're always working a lot, or Pierre [Garcon], Cornelius [Brown], who is still very much a young player. It's his second year as a starter and he's been injured some this year. He and I continue to work.

When you add new guys like Tamme and Blair White, it's a cram session to try and get on the same page as them and work with them during practice and after practice. You have to gain repetition together in order to grow together and to improve the timing. We've had some games that have helped us improve, but we are still continuing to learn together and grow together. It just takes time.

On how much pride he takes in being able to read defenses…

I think that's part of a quarterback's responsibility is to be able to read defenses. Certainly, that's part of your job and your job is to try and get the ball into those guys' hands in order for them to make plays, like you said. It might be a short pass to Joseph Addai or a medium pass to Reggie Wayne and let those guys go on and break tackles and make the plays. It's the ultimate team game and the quarterback has to do his part, and certainly reading defenses is part of that.

On if he finds it strange that Coach Ryan would come out and say playing Peyton Manning is personal…

I don't know. Like I said, it's really hard for me to answer. I guess. I don't really find anything really strange anymore. I guess when you play long enough, you sort of have to be ready for anything. Everybody is going to be excited for this game. We feel very fortunate to be playing this week. There are teams that are not playing and we feel lucky and fortunate to be in the playoffs, especially considering the season that we've had, a kind of up-and-down season and some of the injuries that we've had.

It looked pretty bleak there for a while, so we really felt like these last four weeks have been playoff games. That's really how we've treated it, so in some ways we feel this is a continuation of sort of our playoff games because, really, if we would've lost any of the last four, we probably would've been out of it. At least we thought we would have, so it's really a continuation of that and both teams are going to be excited.

On being 5-0 against Ryan's defenses when he plays the entire game…

I don't have really a good explanation for it. I know that he is an excellent football coach. I'm not sure who the defensive coordinator is or what the title is, but like you said, it is his scheme and it is an extremely difficult scheme. Every time we played him, he's always had good players, but I'm not sure he's had players as good as he has now.

He has excellent corners when you talk about [Antonio] Cromartie and [Darrelle] Revis outside, those are two excellent cover corners that can play man-to-man and just make a lot of plays. They have experienced linebackers, so it's a combination. They have a great scheme and great players and that's why it will be tough. I really think last year, or years past, I don't think it carries a lot of weight when you're talking about this 2010 team. We're a different team. We have some new players, too, so there's plenty on our plate.

On Mark Sanchez…

I really have not seen a lot. We haven't had as much Jets offensive film in common opponents. They're a little bit different offense than we are, so we just haven't studied them a lot. Obviously, for any young player, I think playing is the best way to learn. Whether it was Eli [Manning] playing as a rookie or me playing as a rookie, you saw Sam Bradford this year playing as a rookie, and the fact that Mark got to play last year as a rookie, I know that was a huge benefit to him. I think you just use that to your advantage. I think just playing is the best way to learn.

On the matchup between Revis and Wayne…

He is an excellent cover corner. He has all the skills that you want, big, strong and fast. You can probably go on and on with the adjectives to describe him and he is a difference-maker. He's a guy that you have to be accurate when you're throwing the ball. A lot of guys have not thrown his way this year at all. You can see that on film, that they have not thrown his direction a lot because when you do, you'd better be accurate with the football. It'll be a challenge.

COLTS HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL

On how much of a guide last season's game against the Jets is since both teams have changed…

It obviously still serves as a reference point just in terms of how we played one another at that particular point in time. You can't glean a whole lot from it because of the fact that things have changed, personnel has changed. Therefore, you have to make adjustments. They're doing some things now that they like a little better than they did last year and we may have one or two things here or there. You can look at it from the standpoint of a good solid team but nothing else beyond that.

On Peyton Manning saying that it's felt like being in the playoffs for the past four weeks…

Obviously, we had to win. There's no question about that. I kind of likened it to a basketball game we played a youngster on the playground and you played Make It Take It. You had to keep winning to stay on the court. That's the way in which we were looking at things, in that regard. It took a great effort by our guys and they worked extremely hard and focused, and we were able to string a couple together.

On if he needed to rely on Manning's leadership…

One of the things around here is I value veteran leadership. I don't think there's any question about that. Last year we relied on Peyton, Jeff Saturday, Ryan Diem, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Gary Brackett, Antoine Bethea, guys that have been around, Justin Snow, Adam Vinatieri — the list goes on and on. I rely very heavily on those guys just in terms of helping to set the tone around here. I think that's something that they've been accustomed to doing, although the circumstances changed somewhat because we were in a situation where we had to win ballgames. They approached it the same way — true professionals, calm, steady and focused.

On why they have had success against Rex Ryan defenses…

I can't answer that question for you. I can say every year is different. I think this year is a completely different set of circumstances with two different teams and everyone has to go out and prove themselves. He's one of the great defensive minds in this business and we're going to be challenged and I know our guys are prepared for that.

On RB Donald Brown…

Donald has really come along. Earlier in the season he was really nursing a few injuries here and there. He wasn't quite himself. As the season went on, he just got healthier and healthier. Obviously, towards the end of the season, he's running with a lot of zest and he's doing a great job in terms of pass protection. He has a better understanding of what's required of him. He's becoming a more complete back in terms of pass protection while running and also, obviously, carrying his load when he's called upon to carry the ball. I think you see him developing a little bit more and he's showing a little more patience and I think that's reflected in certain increases in terms of his yardage.

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