Florham Park, N.J.– The Colts Peyton Manning is about as physically gifted a quarterback this league has ever seen, but it’s hardly a secret that it’s his hard work in studying and game preparation that makes it look so easy for him at times.
For once though Manning’s opponents have a head start on him as far as preparation goes. With last week’s game being meaningless as far as seeding goes, the Jets were able to begin preparation for either the Colts or the Chiefs as early as last week and Manning and the Colts had to focus solely on the Titans as they needed a win to secure their playoff spot.
That doesn’t mean the Jets expect Manning to fail to catch up on his game planning for Saturday though. In fact on Monday the Jets Calvin Pace joked that Manning has probably been caught up on the Jets film all season.
Well today Manning said that simply wasn’t the case.
“It’s obviously has been a short week and we just finished playing Sunday and yesterday.” Manning said, “It’s a short week so you have a short time to prepare.”
Manning refused to put any weight into last season’s AFC Championship game and said he is still catching up on his studying trying to identify the differences between last year’s Jets defense and this year’s.
“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.” Manning said, “A lot 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.”
When Manning was asked about his own personal success against Ryan coached defenses, Manning shrugged it off and downplayed his record against Ryan. “Those are you’re words as far as saying success. It’s really about the Jets. The Ravens have different players and are a different team. I played (the Jets) twice last year and they are as good as they advertise. They are excellent from a scheme standpoint and I think player-wise, 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.”
When it was pointed out that he is 5-0 against Ryan coached defenses when he plays the entire game, Manning didn’t have an explanation as to why he has been able to win these games, but again stressed the past is the past and these are two completely different teams.
“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.” Manning said, “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.”
Part of what makes Manning’s preparation more difficult this week than in year’s past has nothing to do with the Jets. Sure Manning has to get caught up in the Jets schemes and tendencies, but since he is missing two of his favorite targets (Austin Collie and Dallas Clark), Manning has to spend extra time working on timing with his receivers.
“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 (together), 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 (together).” Manning said, “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. ”
So this week is all about cramming for Manning, he wants to know every detail of how this Jets defense operates. One thing he knows without having to study further is just how dangerous Darrelle Revis is.
“He (Revis) 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 (with) when you’re throwing the ball.” Manning said, “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 better be accurate with the football. It’ll be a challenge.”
There’s no doubt Manning and his teammates will be prepared and ready for this challenge on Saturday, but so will the Jets. Studying and being prepared can do wonders for a player or team, but it’s not like a test in school, there are no set answers.
The answers to success are ever changing, what is seen on film can be used as a guide, but ultimately you win the game by how you play on any given Sunday Saturday.
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