Peyton Manning Lisa Salters transcript from ESPN Interview

So tell me, Peyton, what was your reaction to the Al Jazeera report that you had human growth hormone mailed to your home while you were recovering from neck surgery?
“I think I rotate, Lisa, between being angry, furious, on and on, but disgusted is really how I feel—sickened by it. I’m not sure I understand how someone can make something up about somebody, admit that he made it up and yet somehow it gets published in a story.

“I don’t understand that. Maybe you can explain it me or somebody else can. It’s completely fabricated. Complete trash, garbage. There are some more adjectives I’d like to be able to use, but it really makes me sick. It makes me sick that it brings Ashley (his wife) into it, her medical history, her medical privacy being violated. That makes me sick. I don’t understand that.

"I’m in the middle of my throwing workout—which I enjoy doing that—and I’ve got to interrupt this workout to come and talk about this. It’s not right. I don’t understand it.”

Have you ever used HGH or any performance-enhancing drug?

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not. What hurts me the most about this is that whoever this guy is, this slapstick trying to insinuate that in 2011 when I more or less had a broken neck—I don’t know, four neck surgeries, a broken neck, I’m sure there is a difference in there, but I had a bad neck—I busted my butt to get healthy.

"I did a lot of hard work. I saw a lot of doctors. I went to the Guyer clinic. He had a hyperbaric chamber that the Colts trainers and doctors thought might be good for me. They went with me and thought it might help. I don’t know if it helped. It didn’t hurt. The time ended up being probably my best medicine, along with a lot of hard work, and that really stings me that whoever this guy is insinuated I cut corners, I broke NFL rules, in order to get healthy.

"It’s a joke. It’s a freaking joke.”

You mentioned your wife. Their source for this report is a guy, Charlie Sly—used to work at the Guyer Institute. He says that they actually mailed medications to your home under your wife’s name.

“I don’t know this guy. I’ve never heard of this guy up until this report. I’ve never met this guy.

"Any medical treatments that my wife received, that’s her business. That has nothing to do with me. Nothing that’s ever been sent to her or my wife has used have I ever taken. Absolutely not. I have my treatments that I do. She may have hers, and that’s her business.

"There is no connection between the two. I would love to understand why this guy is saying this, why he’s making it up and then he admits that he makes it up, yet it still becomes a story. I’d like to be told and explained that.”

You went to the Guyer Institute …?

And you’ve had treatments and you’ve had medications from there before?


What kind of stuff did they do for you?
“Hyperbaric chamber. I went with the Colts trainers, Colts doctors. Hyperbaric chamber. Something called ECCP, which is supposed to create blood flow in your muscles. You’ve got to do 35 consecutive days of treatments. I did all 35 days for an hour of treatment, watched Hoda and Kathy Lee during my treatment because I was there during normal business hours at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

"I did that. I was a good patient.”

“Had some nutrient-IV therapies that I did that I thought may have helped me, as well. Everything was under Colts authorization. They knew about it. They went with me. Anything else this guy is insinuating is complete garbage.”

So in this age of PED use that we live in, we’ve seen all the athletes accused, we’ve seen many of the athletes deny, we’ve seen many of them eventually admit. So right or wrong, the cynicism is there for us. So what do you say to a little kid waking up hearing this about Peyton Manning?
“I can’t speak for any other athlete. I know what I’ve done. I know how hard I’ve worked during my 18 years of playing in the NFL. There are no shortcuts in the NFL.

"I’ve done it the long way. I’ve done it the hard way. Insinuating anything otherwise is a complete and total joke. It’s defamation, and it really ticks me off.”

Your initial reaction when you heard about this? Your initial reaction?

“Sick. Disgusted. It makes me want to, you know, just—can’t say it on TV, but it makes me sick. It makes me nauseous.”

How do you plan to fight it?

“I plan to go throw today a little bit harder. My ball has a little extra heat on it today. I’ve got some built up anger, as you might understand, and I’ll try to do what I can to help the Broncos get a win tomorrow night. I’m moving on. Not losing any sleep over this report, this slapstick’s lies. I keep my head above it, keep pressing on, trying to get healthy, try to get back out on the field next week and practice with the team and go from there.”


How’s the foot feeling?
“I had a good week, to tell you the truth. This is my fourth day throwing, and I haven’t had any setbacks, which is encouraging.

"I had some soreness last week toward the end of the week and I haven’t had that this week. I’ve been in communication with coach Kubiak. He watches all my throws and gives me feedback.

"This will be my last day throwing of the week, and I’ll be there to help the team tomorrow night, and then sit down with coach Kubiak Tuesday and make a plan for next week.”

Coach told us that that is what you guys were looking for—a full week with no setbacks—and you had that this week. So how close are you to being able to play in a game?
“Obviously this is not ideal. It’s not a game out here. My equipment manager, he snaps the ball to me and he’s my quarterback coach.

Jordan Taylor is my wide receiver. He’s on the practice squad. I think I will make him an active roster participant. I’ve got him honed in pretty good.

“Brooks is our groundskeeper. He’s catching routes pretty good. And then Josh is our operations manager. He is catching routes pretty good. These guys will be the MVP of their flag football team. I need to get back—I need to take the next step and be on the practice field, but I have pushed the limits, pushed the envelope this week with my throwing, with my drill work.

"I’m a pretty good quarterback coach. I know how to put myself through trials, and so I’ve had a good week. I hope to get back on the practice field next week and then hopefully, possibly get on the field.”

And once you are ready to play in a game, possibly next week, possibly the week after if that’s the situation, should you be the starter?
“I’ve got to do whatever Coach [Kubiak] feels is best for the team. It’s been an interesting year about that, I’m not going to lie. I’ve had a good attitude about it. I think I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve been a good teammate, I’ve tried to help Brock in any way I can.

"It’s new to me. I’ll do whatever is best for the team come next week. If they need me to play and be in there, then I’ll be ready. But if they don’t feel that’s the best for the team, then I’ll respect that decision and do what I can to help the team.”

Note: The words above don’t do the interview justice. You can’t feel the venom in his voice. You can’t hear him catching himself from basically saying he wants to beat the guys ass. You can’t see the daggers in his eyes.  Worth a watch.


On how he feels
“I feel good. I’ve got to get a little treatment—that’s the day-to-day. It’s kind of that time of year where you have different things, like all players. I made some progress today and it’ll hopefully get a little better tomorrow.”

On if his sore foot is an ongoing injury or a new injury
“Who’s not sore during—what week is this? Nine, 10? You have natural soreness, but [I will] get some treatment on it and it’ll hopefully get a little better tomorrow.”

On if he is concerned about his foot injury
“You got some action on this game? I don’t think we’re allowed to answer questions like that, are we? That’s kind of what the NFL tells us—be careful of answering questions like that. There might be some hidden agendas behind the question. Everybody is trying to get better, trying to get healthy.”

On his thoughts on Colts QB Andrew Luck’s injuries
“I don’t have a whole lot of thoughts on that. I don’t know all the details certainly.”

On if the Colts game is the most physical game he’s played in this season
“I can’t necessarily say that. I think every game we play—we’ve had a number of physical games. We didn’t have quite as many plays on offense. I think probably a more physical game would be one of those games when you have 70, 80 plays. I think we only had 52 on offense. Just try to play better, try to execute better next time.”

On the last time the Broncos played the Chiefs and what the teams wants to do differently this week
“We got behind. We got down early. I guess we weren’t quite as consistent. We were really good late in the first half. We had a couple of touchdowns and then obviously really good on that last drive in order to tie the game. That can be tough to win a game, especially on the road. We were able to and our defense, obviously, created a lot of turnovers to keep us in it. We’re looking to be a little more consistent, playing more consistent football all four quarters of the game. The same as last week—we were good in the second half, not quite as good in the first half. We did some things that kept us from having a chance to have some drives in the first half—just couldn’t quite sustain them. [They are] things that we definitely can fix.”

On if he thinks about playoff seeding at this point in the season
“I do not. There’s plenty on our plate right now. We’re trying to win every game. That’s your job is to try to win every game that you play. We’re disappointed about Sunday, but we have to move on, have to learn from it and hopefully it can make us better. That’s what we’re trying to do this week is to correct some of those mistakes and try to be better the next time.”

On if he looks at the standings
“Like I said, it’s not something that we discuss. [Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak doesn’t discuss it. Like I said, if you won every single game that you play, a lot of those things take care of themselves. We know how important this division game is. We’re playing a team that’s much different than we played them the first time. We played them on a short week—two days of preparation. They’re coming off a bye week, coming off a couple of good wins and the second time around you play these division teams, it’s always different. We’re trying to win every single game that we play. It’s always been the goal from the very beginning.”

On if he has spoken with WR Demaryius Thomas about the situation with his mother
“I can’t speak for him. I know he certainly can speak more to that. Yeah, I’ve had discussions with D.T. about that going back to when it was announced earlier this summer, I believe. Demaryius, like a lot of guys, he’s a great teammate. He’s a great friend to all of us. I can’t speak for it, but I have to imagine that it would be [an emotional week for him].”

On why he was moved to support the Chattanooga shooting victims and their families
“My wife’s family is from Chattanooga. We spend a decent amount of time there in the summer in Chattanooga. We were kind of in town around that time when that occurred. I think when things like that happen—kind of like [Hurricane] Katrina, when you’re from New Orleans, when it happens to a place that you know a lot of people in that town and you have a connection to that town, it strikes more of a chord. Then I guess just the fact that when you play in the NFL, there’s a natural connection to the military. I’ve always had a great appreciation for that, even more so even after that USO Tour that I took a couple years ago—really changed everybody that’s ever been on one of those. That’s why we tried to do something to try to help. That’s kind of probably where that came from.”

On the fund raising more than $1 million
“[It means] that a lot of people cared about these families. It’s like Mrs. Wells, who stated in the video that, ‘I’m sure when your child goes off to Iraq or Afghanistan you certainly know the risk, but that it happened here on American soil it’s just hard to comprehend that.’ A lot of people wanted to help these families and it says a lot about a lot of caring people out there that wanted to help these families. I think that it will for a long time.”

On when he woke up and saw snow
“I guess I’m a snow guy. I wasn’t born a snow guy. We didn’t see it much in New Orleans growing up. I guess you see it occasionally in Knoxville, (Tenn.). Indianapolis certainly had its share and here you have to be on your toes every single morning. Am I a snow guy? It’d be hard to call me that, but I can adjust.”



On the addition of TE Vernon Davis
“Obviously, Vernon has been a great player. We’re hoping he can come in here and help our whole football team. His head is probably swirling a little bit trying to kind of figure out where his locker is and where the meeting rooms are, but he’s been around. He’s a veteran. We’re going to try to catch him up to speed in as short an amount of time as possible and put in him in a position to help us win some football games.”

On how quickly he thinks Vernon Davis will become acclimated
“I can’t speak for that, but we’re going to do the best we can. I know he’s excited about being here.”

On if he goes out of his way to help a player the caliber of Vernon Davis
“Anybody that’s going to be playing potentially on Sunday, I think you do that no matter what the position is. I feel like they probably brought him in here to play I would be safe to say. You spend whatever time you can communicating with them and trying to get on the same page with them.”

On the differences in returning to Indianapolis this week in comparison to a few years ago
“I can’t really speak a whole lot to that beforehand, but I think the fact that we have been there and played them—obviously, we’re focused on this game. We’re playing in an extremely loud place. We’ve got a lot on our plate each week trying to kind of figure out what we’re doing and trying to get everybody here on the same page. That’s plenty to focus on. Between that and getting ready to play a team in a loud environment, it’s kind of easy just to focus on that.”

On if it would be special to set the record for most wins by a starting quarterback in Indianapolis
“I haven’t thought about that.”

On if the flurry of activity around the trade deadline was a new experience for him
“I don’t know. I hadn’t really considered that. I’m sure I’ve been a part of some trades before [with] other teams that I’ve played on. Obviously, we’re happy to have Vernon. I’ve enjoyed watching him play, playing against him, seeing him play. I’ve seen him make a lot of plays. [I am] excited about the opportunity he can [have] to help us.”

On what was different about his connection with WR Demaryius Thomas against the Packers
“DT and I, we continue to work just like all the receivers and quarterbacks do. You’re always working on your timing, throwing the ball where he’s going to be and him being in the position where the ball is going to be. It was good to hit that big one down the sideline to him. We’ve been pretty good on those back shoulder throws the majority of the season. Then [I was] able to hit him on a couple of in-breaking routes where, as he’s done throughout his career, break a tackle and take a 20-yard completion into a 35-yard completion. Give him a lot of credit. He was running some good routes. He was motivated going into that game. He admitted he had a couple of missed opportunities against Cleveland, and so I know he was motivated. I thought he really came out and played well.”

On if he feels like the offense has found cohesion with the running backs and offensive line
“Yeah, I guess so. [That is] probably a better question for [RB] C.J. [Anderson] and [RB] Ronnie [Hillman] and the guys up front. The guys up front have done a heck of a job. There are a lot of guys up there that we’re playing. They’ve created some really good holes. Tight ends, receivers all play a part on that. I think our effort on our run blocking from everybody is a big part of it. Of course, a lot of people are playing me on the bootleg, so they’re not pursuing as far backside. I’ll take a small role in that. I think C.J. and Ronnie have made some special individual plays. Ronnie’s run after that touchdown where we called it back for a penalty—that’s the worst scenario you can have. First-and-goal from the 20 and Ronnie fixes that right away with a great individual effort. C.J., he’s on a third-and-2 where you’re trying to get the first down. For him to finish that touchdown—two really special individual plays. Everybody deserves a lot of credit for that.”

On how Quarterbacks Coach Greg Knapp has helped him transition to this offense
“Obviously, Coach Knapp was familiar with both systems having been here and having worked with [Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak and [Offensive Coordinator] Coach [Rick] Dennison before. He could translate a lot of things and was a great kind of bridge and still continues to be. We’ve been together three years. You spend a ton of time with your position coach, so we spend a lot of time together. He’s really helped me a lot the past three years.”

On how he feels about Colts QB Andrew Luck’s season
“I haven’t, to tell you the truth, kept up a whole lot. I’ve been pretty focused on the Broncos’ offense and kind of trying to get the Broncos quarterback comfortable in the Broncos’ offense. As I’ve always believed, it’s a marathon and not a sprint out there. It’s a 16-game season and a four-quarter game. You’re just trying to keep getting better. That’s what I try to do. It’s the toughest position out there. That’s my opinion. I’m sure [CB Aqib] Talib and [CB] Chris Harris [Jr.] would argue with me, but it’s a tough position. It’s not for everybody, I can tell you that.”

On the impact he had on the city of Indianapolis off the field
“It’s hard for me to speak to that. It’s a great city, great people, just like here in Denver—great community. They love their sports and the sports teams are a big part of the community. I’ve been real fortunate to play for two football teams and two cities in communities that are very connected. The Colts always did a great job serving the community there when I was there. They encouraged that. They emphasized that—[former Colts Head Coach] Tony Dungy down the line. It’s the same way here in Denver. We’ve got a lot of guys doing a lot of great things in the community, as well. I’ve been real fortunate from that standpoint.”

On what he remembers about former NFL QB Brett Farve
“I probably talked a little bit about this before. Like I know I’ve said previous times, what a great player. You mentioned that gun-slinger type, incredible durability—he played at such a high level for such a long time. Just a lot of respect for the way he played. I have a lot of respect for a lot of quarterbacks. Brett is definitely one of those. It was always fun to watch. [He was] always a fun guy when he was playing. You always seemed to watch to kind of see what he was going to do out there.”



On his teammates having good things to say about him
“Yeah. I feel honored to play with the guys that I’m playing with. I think that teammates are supposed to support each other. That’s how I feel. I don’t think that you’ve heard me say a negative word about any of my teammates. I’d like to think that’s the norm for good teams. I wouldn’t say that’s something that’s really surprising, in my opinion.”

On if the atmosphere in the locker room is good this season
“I would definitely agree with that. We have good guys in there. Guys get along, we do stuff together away from here and laugh a lot in there, on the plane and in the locker room. I think that helps. It helps you win some football games, in my opinion.”

On if the approach to Sunday is the same as other games
“Obviously, we know what a challenge we have in playing the Green Bay Packers. We have to get ready for them. I think for us to say that we’re getting ready for them differently than other teams, it wouldn’t be true. Obviously, you weren’t preparing the right way for the teams that we played the past six weeks. Your job in the NFL is to get ready to play every single week. That’s your job. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You have to prepare hard every single week. That’s what we’ll do this week.”

On his relationship with Owner Pat Bowlen
“As I was sharing earlier with Dave [Logan] on the radio interview, I can’t speak about Mr. Bowlen like players that played here for a long period of time or when he had a more active role as an owner, but I got to meet Mr. Bowlen a couple of times when I played for Indianapolis. I don’t think that he liked me all that much, to tell you the truth. That’s who he was. He was a competitive guy and he liked the Denver Broncos. I get it and I respect that. He flew back from Hawaii when I signed here with Denver. I had a good conversation with him, which I enjoyed, and I still get a chance to visit with him. [Head Athletic Trainer Steve] Greek [Antonopulos] and I have a chance to go see him and obviously my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family in all that he’s going through. When you go into the Ring of [Fame], you have a chance to read about all that he’s accomplished as an owner. I can’t do it justice in this short press conference, but what he’s done for Denver, for this community, for the Broncos and for the NFL, it’s as impressive as it gets. I think that I speak for any player just to say that it’s an honor to play for a team owned by Pat Bowlen. It’s a special weekend. I’m sorry that he won’t be there to truly participate, but I know that for his family, it’s special for them and it’s special for a lot of people.”

On if a bad game performance influences how he feels during the week
“That is a philosophical question. I mean, obviously, we’ve had some good Mondays and Tuesdays around here. I had an old coach who used to say that you’re allowed until Wednesday to get out of the tank. You had Monday and Tuesday to be in the tank and then Wednesday of the next week, you have to move on. Look, I think if you don’t win a game in any week, if it doesn’t bother you, then something is probably not right. It probably means you don’t care maybe as much as you should. It’s supposed to matter to you. It’s supposed to mean something to you. When you win, you’re supposed to be excited. When you lose, it’s supposed to bother you. We had a quote up in the team meeting room today saying when you truly invest in something, you care about your investment, you’re concerned about your investment. When you put a lot of work into the team, yeah, you want to win. As the great Ebby Calvin Nook LaLoosh said in Bull Durham, ‘I sure like winning. It’s, like, better than losing.’“

On if he think he needs to improve his play
“I want to play better every single week. I promise, like all my teammates, we’re out here working hard, we’re trying to get better and we want to do our part. We need to play better, especially starting this week against Green Bay. Our defense has their hands full. Green Bay is going to make some plays offensively. We have to be able to do our part to score some points. We’ve got our hands full going against their defense. They are No. 1 in points. It doesn’t come easy, but we’re continuing to work hard to try to improve. I certainly want to do my part better, as well.”

On if he compares himself to the opposing quarterback
“Like I’ve said, our priority is with their defense, and that’s plenty. I mean, you have to deal with [Packers LB Julius] Peppers, [Packers LB Clay] Matthews and all of the guys that they have on defense, but you also, as you listen to the head coach, talk about what the key is for us to win this game. Knowing our defense and what their challenges are, we know that their offense is playing at a high level. [Packers QB] Aaron’s [Rodgers] is playing great and making a lot of plays. Like I said, we just want to do our part. We want to score more points than them, however many that is, I couldn’t tell you, but that’s what we want to do.”

On what stands out about Green Bay’s defense
“They have a lot of talented players over there, a lot of high draft choices and you can see why. They have a lot of talent over there. [Packers Defensive Coordinator] Dom Capers has been around for a long time. He does it all. I’ve always thought one thing that he does a great job of is using the players that he has to their strengths. He moves Matthews all around, which plays to his strengths. He gets Peppers in a lot of one-on-one match ups and he has great cover guys. He’s not afraid to put them out there one-on-one, bump-and-run and let them play a lot of tight coverage, which they do a good job of. I think that it plays to their strengths and they’re playing really well together right now.”

On potentially tying Brett Favre for most wins in NFL history on Sunday
“Yeah, I don’t really get into the what-ifs and the hypotheticals. Obviously, with this week and this game, it’s the most important game because it’s the next one. I got asked about that by the Green Bay media. They were really searching for questions asking about that, asking who has better insurance commercials, me or [Packers QB] Aaron Rodgers. They were getting pretty philosophical, as well. I try to kind of stick in the now, in the current. We want to have a good week of practice, play well and try to get a win—try to get a win against a really good team and a hot team. That’s where my focus is, and I think that’s where the team’s focus is. That’s plenty to focus on.”

AUDIO from Packers Media:

On if it makes him more uneasy that Manning has not played to his full capability yet this season, given his past success:

“You see flashes of it on tape that you could make a cut-up where you could make the argument that he is [playing to his full capability]. I know statistically he hasn’t been, points wise he hasn’t been, but we are preparing to see the best. He has a great command of what they are doing and understands the intricate details of defensive football. We have to be real good at what we do and know that he has some playmakers that he has done a nice job getting the ball to.”

On explaining his comments that Manning has command over the offense:

“I think if you watch their film from the beginning up until now, I think you see it is progressing. I am not in that building. I don’t know what their discussions are, but anytime you install a new offense, right in the beginning there are going to be some hiccups, even with someone of his caliber. You can see it when you look at the amount of gun snaps, and when they are throwing the ball, that is when I see him, especially the third-down stuff, the two-minute when they have gone no-huddle is when you see the vintage Peyton. I know the numbers weren’t there. Like I said, if you watch the first game to the Oakland game, it is very different. You can see that they are feeling their way and still trying to figure out who they are, but that doesn’t diminish to me what he does as a quarterback and his ability to change a play and get the ball where he needs to get it.”

On why Manning is so difficult to defend and his memories playing Manning:

“You’re tearing some old wounds open there, Pat (laughter). To me, he’s the equivalent of having an offensive coordinator that can play out there against you and who’s also – we talk about quarterbacks and what makes them special. One of the biggest things for us is processing speed, the ability to take information and know very quickly ‘this is the play we want to be in.’ Then, they build their offenses around his ability to do that. Add on top of it, there are some quarterbacks that have that but aren’t as physically gifted. He’s a guy that’s the size that he is and has the quick release and the ability to be very accurate with the football and place it where he wants to place it on time. That’s the reason that he’s first-ballot, no-brainer in the Hall of Fame. It’s just such a chess game when you go against him. I always talk about when you go against quarterbacks and you let them know what you’re in before the snap, you’re in trouble. He and (Patriots QB Tom) Brady are right up there with the elite of they know where to go before the snap. You don’t have a chance that you have to be able to do some unconventional things and to make them think that you’re doing something different. You have to change that week and just understand that the last 10 times he’s played against our system, whether it’s looking at the Cleveland tape, whether it’s going back to Jets, I promise you he’s even going back to some of the Baltimore tape and looked at how we defended him. You have to almost try to use that against him say, ‘Listen, we have to be different from things that we’ve done because something we’ve lined up in maybe five years ago against him, he’ll recognize it and know what to do against it.’

“The tough memory for me was it ’06 when I was in Baltimore. We were pretty special defensively that year, and we held him to five field goals in a playoff game. They didn’t score a touchdown. It was a 30 rating and we got after him pretty good, but just the way the game went, we ended up losing 15-6, and it was a crusher. If I have to rank my toughest losses of all time – ones that people say, ‘You’ll get over it in time’ – I haven’t gotten over that one yet. I don’t think I ever will. Unfortunately, very not many positive memories. We did beat him in New York in a playoff game, which was significant, but he’s right up there. It’s a shame it’s potentially winding down for him, but he’s clearly in the discussion of the greatest of all time.”

-Cleveland Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine on Peyton Manning

He is just a mastermind. Just like I said, he is probably the greatest mastermind to play the game. When you have a guy like that behind center, it makes it tough for you. He is playing chess; a lot of people may be playing checkers, and he is playing chess. As a defense and as a team, we have to play chess, too.

Tramon Williams, Cleveland Browns Cornerback on Peyton Manning



On his confidence that the offense will start clicking
“We’re just continuing to work. We have a whole new opponent this week and it’s a new game. We’re just trying to continue to improve in a lot of aspects. We’re doing a good job of moving the ball at times. We’re not finishing drives quite like we wanted too, so the emphasis is there on being able to finish drives. There are some things that we’re doing well. We can build off of those and improve on some of the ones that we’re not doing as well.”

On if finishing more drives will help open the running game up
“Finishing drives just helps a lot. It’s a difference of scoring touchdowns as opposed to settling for field goals, or certainly when you turn it over down there, you get no points. It’s just kind of what we need to do a better job of. Like I said, it’d be one thing if we weren’t getting down there at all and had zero chance, but we are moving the ball down there and making some good plays. We’re having more explosive plays and some bigger pass plays to get down there in chunks. [WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] had a couple of long plays. The other day, [WR] Bennie [Fowler] had a nice one. You want to be able to capitalize on those big plays for touchdowns.”

On if the offense is missing a good third-option receiver
“I don’t think so. I feel that D.T. [WR Demaryius Thomas] and Emmanuel are making a lot of plays. There’s no question that there are a lot of plays that are designed to get the ball to them. That’s no secret and it’s coming in from the coaches. Like I said, Bennie has made a lot of plays, [WR] Jordan [Norwood]—we didn’t convert a lot of third-downs the other day, but the couple that we converted, both went to Norwood on two blitzes where he and I were on the same page. With [TE] Owen [Daniels], I didn’t get him as involved. I didn’t get him involved last week, but he’s make big plays down in the red zone for us. Any game could be anybody’s day, but we’re certainly looking to spread the ball around and keep defenses from keying on any particular guys. I feel that we have good options.”

On his interceptions this season being correctable mistakes
“Yeah, I certainly believe that they are. Some have just been poor decisions and a couple have been bad luck, but regardless, I need to eliminate them. It would be a great week to do that this week.”

On the improvement of K Brandon McManus
“I don’t know. That’s a great question for him. He’s just kicking great. He’s doing well on kickoffs. He’s kicking with a lot of confidence. I’m not going to speak for him, I just know that he’s doing a heck of a job and I’m really glad that he’s on our team.”

On his reaction to the number of turnovers for offense
“We’re just trying to keep getting better. That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what you try to do every single week regardless of your record and that’s what we’ll continue to do. It starts with the practice field and taking things that you work on in practice and apply them to the game.”

On if Cooper Manning is the funniest of the Manning brothers
“Yeah, absolutely. Always has been. He’s always had that quick wit and humor. He’s getting a chance to do it. I know he’s enjoying it. I know he’s enjoying doing it, which I’m happy for him for that.”

On if Cooper Manning used to impersonate him when he was in college
“Sometimes when people would mistake us, they would think he was me, and he wouldn’t correct them. He’d use it a little bit. Yeah, out and about. Why not, you know? He sure did a long time ago.”

On the relationship he has with Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam
“Obviously, I’ve known the Haslam family for going on 20 years now. They’re great supporters of the University of Tennessee. That’s been where my connection and relationship was. I’m very close with Mr. [Jim] Haslam, kind of the patriarch of the family who played at Tennessee. We share a bond there—both former players there—and have great love and pride in the university. Of course, Jimmy Haslam, who owns the Browns, is a great Tennessee Volunteer, as well. There is a great connection there and we both have a real passion for the university and both have a real thirst to get University of Tennessee Football back going again. When we do talk, which is not very often, especially in season, it’s usually about Tennessee Football and kind of how we’re doing. I’ve enjoyed having that relationship with him because we have a lot of common about our love for the University of Tennessee.”

On South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier’s resignation
“What an unbelievable player, coach. There is nobody that has ever done it better, right? If there is ever going to be a college Hall of Famer to go in as a player and a coach—I don’t think there is one—Bobby Dobb, maybe? I mean my dad is very involved, but Steve Spurrier should be the first, right? He was every bit the great college quarterback and has been just an unbelievable college coach. I think that statement alone, if that could happen, speaks for it all and just how successful he’s been. It doesn’t always happen, right? Sometimes you’re maybe a so-so player and a great coach or a great player and a so-so coach. He was a great college player and a great coach. To do it at three different programs, to me that kind of speaks for it, as well. It wasn’t just the players at that school or whatnot. It was him at the three places: Duke, Florida and South Carolina. I’m glad to hear that he’s not retiring. I probably feel sorry—he said he might take a high school job for whoever he’s playing. I think he’d be hard to stop.”

On if Spurrier’s pokes at Tennessee ever bothered him
“Like I said, I have great respect for him as a coach for the job that he’s done. He’s a true legend.”

On if he ever looks back and questions if he’d prefer to lead an NFL team or the University of Tennessee to a championship if he could only do one
“Is this deep question Wednesday before the bye week? I mean I have led one team to a title. I don’t know. I don’t have a great answer. I guess most people would like to say they’d like to do it at all levels, every team they play for. I think you’d love to win four national championship in college and 18 Super Bowls if you could.”




On the
challenge of playing the Vikings

“They’re an excellent team from what you see on film.
Obviously, we haven’t played against them, but they jump out on film. I’ve been
studying their defense. They’re good at all three levels—right at the front,
the linebackers and the secondary. They’re playing well together, communicating
a lot and just complementing their team, as well. They’re not giving up many
points and just playing really good football.”

On figuring
out the offensive struggles

“It would undermine what we’ve done in the past. I’ll
correct you on that. It’s not easy. It never has been easy. Like I said, we’re
continuing to work. We’ve got a lot of changes, some new players and new guys
doing different things. We’re just trying to look for a little bit of
improvement each week. We all want to do our jobs to help our team win each
week. It doesn’t get any easier with the team that you’re playing against. We
continue to try to see what works best for the players that we have playing. If
we can keep improving and win games at the same time, that’s what we talked
about earlier. That’s a real positive.”

On winning
games while continuing to figure out the offense

“It says we’re winning as a team. I think everybody is
doing something to help to wins. Some phases might be doing a little more than
others, but I don’t think you win many games if all three phases aren’t
contributing in some way. Offensively, we want to be able to contribute more
and be able to do our part. We know our defense is playing at a high level and
special teams are making a lot of plays. Like I said, we’ll have our hands full
against these guys on Sunday because their defense is playing at a real high

On his thoughts
on the Broncos defense

“I don’t think they want any three-game summaries and
any type of those things. The film speaks for how they’re playing. They’re
playing with a lot of confidence right now. They’re getting their hands on the
ball. I think at least three out of the four secondary guys got their hands on
the ball the other night— [CB Aqib] Talib, [CB Chris] Harris, [S David Bruton]
Bru— and they’re playing well together, at the same time. They’re communicating
and on the same page. There’s no question it’s fun to watch.”

On if moving
around against Detroit was easier because of the pistol formation or the line’s

“I don’t know. We had some third-and-long calls. At
times, we had some things that Detroit was doing up front that forced you maybe
to move to relocate in the pocket with some of their games in order to move to
find the throwing lane or whatnot. Obviously, when you have somebody open and
somebody in the front is keeping you from throwing it, it’s nice to be able to
get to a spot to be able to deliver the throw to get the ball to [WR Demaryius
Thomas] D.T., a couple throws to [WR Bennie] Fowler there over the middle where
we had to move over a guy. Like I said, Detroit had a good front. These guys
have a good front. You want to be able to throw it on time, but if you have to
move a little bit to get it there, I think I can do it.”

On moving in
the pocket on the touchdown play to TE Owen Daniels

“Yeah, they were in a blitz and kind of bringing the
house, if you will. I knew we had to get the ball off and just sort of moved in
order to buy myself a throw and give Owen a chance to run his route. He did a
great job. I kind of threw it on the back shoulder, if you will. He’s made that
catch a lot over his career. He and I haven’t thrown it a lot, but kind of
certain guys have the ability to make that catch. I just wanted to give him a
chance to make the play. He certainly did. Then [WR] Emmanuel’s [Sanders] catch
before that was really special to give us a chance to get down there.”

On Vikings
Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme

“Coach Zimmer, I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I
played against him a lot, had some good dog fights with him at different places
he’s been—Cincinnati, Detroit. He’s been doing it for a long time. You see he’s
a tough coach. Obviously, I never played for him or whatnot, but just from what
I know about him, I know he’s a tough guy. You see his imprint on this team.
They’ve got a tough football team. You hear about the different types of
offenses out there—the West Coast Offense, the Bill Walsh type of offense.
Zimmer, in my opinion, is a founder of kind of the type of defense that he
runs, that Cincinnati runs, that Miami runs, that different disciples [of
Zimmer run]. Now it may be somebody above him that was his founder or mentor,
but we kind of refer to is as ‘they’re running the Zimmer defense.’ When you’ve
got your own defense, you’re doing something good. That’s big. There are some
things they do. It’s unique, that style of defense. You’ve got to be on top of
it mentally and you’ve got to be able to execute mentally, as well.”

On connecting
on long throws against Detroit

“You guys are getting so desperate here. I had like
these big throws and it almost reminds me of the Bad News Bears when Buttermaker
was trying to encourage his team when they’re really bad. He asked whoever kept
the stats— I can’t remember if it was Rudi or whatever—he said, ‘Come on guys,
get me the stats. Look on the bright side. Two of our runners have almost
reached first base and we did hit 17 foul balls. That’s the spirit.’ Well, two
good throws in there. I’ll take it. Hey, I love it. I’m just going to keep
trying to hit foul balls and almost reach first base. Maybe we’ll get on base
on some point and get going. [WR] Jordan [Norwood] ended up being in a—at the
time, it fell short of a first down, but it ended up being a good play because
it changed field position. [P Britton] Colquitt had a good punt. We ended up
holding them. Had we not completed that, you’re punting backed up and then what
was the other one? I can’t remember. Emmanuel. There are so few, it’s hard to
remember. I moved out. It was third-and-long and they made a little gain
inside, so I had to move around a little bit. I know, I had to move to get it
to him. Hey, I’ll take it. I was running well.”

On the play
of Fowler

“I was really happy for Bennie. I can’t speak for him,
but I know that he had to be pumped playing in his hometown and being a
Michigan State alum. I’m sure that he had a lot of tickets with people in the
stands. It speaks to him. Obviously, he put a big impression on the coaches
with training camp and limited reps for them to put him in there. Throwing to
him five times tells you the confidence that I have in him. It wasn’t like we
were throwing away from him, we were throwing to him. What’s unique about
Bennie is that he can catch the deep ball on the outside, he’s got the speed to
run it, but he’s fearless across the middle. That’s a pretty good combination,
so I think you’ll continue to see him to be involved in this offense.”

On how the
team has improved from Week 1

“I think we’re finding some things that maybe we do
better. We’re kind of repeating some of those things. I think the coaches are
just trying to put us in a better position to move the ball and execute. We’re
still learning every week because you’re getting a new challenge because you’re
playing a different type of defense. We’re playing another four-down defense
that has different types of blitz packages. Every week presents a new challenge,
but you’re just looking to improve in certain areas. There’s still plenty of
improvement to be made, but I thought we made some strides last week.”



On taking Wednesday as a rest day
“We’ve kind of covered that, I guess. I don’t have a whole lot for you. I’m out there and doing everything participating that I can—the walk-throughs and the blitzes. I feel like I was into it and trying to take advantage of it.”

On the impact Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell had on him in Indianapolis
“Coach Caldwell obviously was my position coach for a long time. Any player will tell you, you spend the most amount of time with your position coach on an NFL team. He and I just sort of developed a routine in meetings, in practice, pregame—we always kind of had a purpose to everything we were doing. He really helped me with that. I really felt like my game just sort of took another notch upward just because of that consistent routine and the attention to the fundamentals and the techniques, doing the little things right. That just had a huge impact on me. No surprise that he’s gotten Detroit back going again. They had such a great year last year and they’re really a great team. Their record obviously is not what they want it to be, but I don’t see them as an 0-2 team. He’s a great fundamental teacher, very patient coach, and I know that’s really helped Detroit kind of get it going.”

On if the Lions’ record will cause them to be more desperate in their home opener
“I’m sure on the outside, the world’s falling down for a team that’s 0-2. It seems like it’s falling down here, and we’re 2-0 (laughing). I can assure you that there’s no panic with him as their leader, just like there’s no panic here, either. Home opener, two home openers in a row that we’re playing. Everybody knows what we’re going into. They’ve lost two close games on the road. The NFL didn’t do them any scheduling favors having to go West Coast and then a division game on the road. We know that stadium will be rocking and they’ll be ready to go.”

On finding WR Emmanuel Sanders in key third-down situations
“[Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak and [Offensive Coordinator] Coach [Rick] Dennison really want to try to get Emmanuel the ball in different ways. You’ve seen we’ve moved him around a decent amount and we all know what he can do once he gets the ball in his hands. The more touches that he can get, the better chance you have of something good happening. The time that he missed in training camp, I don’t think that set him back by any means. It’s a credit to him staying into it, staying on top it mentally and physically, obviously, he feels good.”

On how a successful running game will help get tight ends get more involved in the passing game
“Everybody wants to do their job better this week in all phases. That’s been our goal since the offseason is to try to keep improving. It’s not one particular phase that we’re trying to improve any more than the other. Everybody wants to play better. Everybody wants to execute better and we’ve got a tough test. We’ve had two tough tests to start the season and I think it’s just as tough this week. This team was No. 2 ranked in the NFL last year [defensively]. I can see why from watching it on film. San Diego made some plays on them. Minnesota made some plays. Their defense has had some things happen to them that have been out of their control. I think you have to try to be good in all phases in order to have a chance to beat a team like Detroit on the road.”

On if missing a couple long of throws in the first two games was a timing issue
“I guess so. You overthrow them in Week 1. Maybe you take a little off and you underthrow them Week 2. I’d like to find that happy medium. We had one to Emmanuel on a post route that was a good one that the guy just seemed like he batted it out right at the right time. We were able to hit a couple back shoulders off the goal route against the Chiefs because they were sort of playing the deep ball and we were able to make that adjustment and hit a couple of them at some really good times on that last drive. That’s something that you’re always working and always working to and obviously throw that I’d like to be able to make and throws that we need to hit.”

On if players like Thomas and Lions WR Calvin Johnson change the definition of an open receiver
“I would say so. I know Demaryius was probably not open on that third-and-10 the other night in that two-minute drill. The guy had pretty good coverage on him. I would think that corner probably got a plus on his grade sheet for covering everything right, but when you have a big body and you can put the ball in a place where he can use his body to get in between the ball and defender, you can only do that with a certain type of guy. With his size, with his ability to elevate, don’t underestimate that. He is 6-4 but he can play match taller than that with his ability to jump. It’s hard to overthrow him on the back shoulder because he has so much range. Obviously, Johnson’s an outstanding player as well.”

On if he is motivated to quiet critics in this week’s game
“I’m not. Like I said, I’m motivated because I want to do my job to help my team win. That’s plenty for me. That’s what always keeps you going, keeps you driven to work in the offseason and prepare hard in season and to play as hard as you possibly can.”

On if he is surprised by the noise surrounding the team
“Not much surprises me anymore. I would say no.”

On if reading the defense is different from under center verses the shotgun
“That’s a little more specific than I usually like to get into on Wednesday interviews. You all have got plenty of guys there at the [NFL] Network. I’m sure [Kurt] Warner could give you some great insight. Who else have you got on there? I’m trying to think. Kurt, he could probably do a full segment on that. I’m sure he’d be very fascinating to all your listeners.”

On if the offensive adjustment is taking longer than he predicted
“I think it’s always going to be an adjustment. Every season going to be an adjustment. No matter what’s occurred in the offseason, you’re going to have new players and new positions and you’re always going to be trying some different things. There’s certainly going to be an adjustment. I think that’s fair. You’re trying to improve as you make the adjustments. You try to win games as you make the adjustments. As long as we continue to work and improve, I think that’s what we’ve said all along. That’s what we said we’re going to do and that’s what I think we will do and we’ll continue to work toward that.”