INDIANAPOLIS - Colts Coach Jim Caldwell spoke with reporters Monday following the team's announcement that quarterback Peyton Manning is doubtful for the season opener against Houston Sunday.
The coach did not offer any further details on Peyton's status. He is recovering from neck surgery in the off-season, but has now been told not to practice after experiencing back problems.
"We do put out a release that can answer as many questions as we can answer about certain subjects, and that's one of them. I think it states it pretty clearly all the things that we know. When we do have further details, we'll announce it at that time," said the coach.
It's a difficult spot for Manning, who is second only to Brett Favre for consecutive starts (Manning is at 208; Favre has 297).
"Obviously he loves to play, loves to compete, loves to practice and anytime he's out of that loop obviously that's gonna be tough for him," said Caldwell.
On Manning's streak, "Obviously when you look at it, it's certainly been an incredible feat. He's been an iron man. There's no other way to put it. He's been there every single step of the way. It's doubtful that he'll play this weekend. But nevertheless, it takes a very unusual individual to put that kind of string together," said the coach.
"He's always been a hard working guy with great zeal and zest for what he does in his profession. He doesn't miss days, off-season, in season, you name it, he's always there. Certainly that's a commitment he's probably made to the sport from the time he was a very little guy and he's still carrying that on today."
On back-up QB Kerry Collins, Caldwell said, "He's making good progress and he's working extremely hard at it. He's been working overtime at it. That's what this week is for when we can really focus in on what he's gonna have to do during the course of the game. He'll be fine. It's not as if we're dealing with someone who hasn't been in a lot of games. He understands concepts and systems. He'll be able to function, I think, very well. We don't expect him to be perfect. We expect other guys to step up and give him some assistance here and there. We have a lot of guys that can do that. I think he'll be fine."
The coach said the team has been working with Collins "since the day he walked in the door. It's been nonstop with him just in terms the amount of time he spent in preparation, extra meetings, walking out there on the field, going through the plays, et cetera. He's putting in a lot of extra hours."
"We're gonna do everything we possibly can just to try to make sure we cover as many bases as possible. You can't get it all. It's not an easy offense to come in and function in. So we have to make a few adjustments and changes to suit him as well," said Caldwell.
Caldwell didn't want to share what he's telling the other players in light of the QB changes. "But what I'll do is I'll tell them the facts and tell them exactly what the situation is and then we'll move forward."
Next man up
"You approach each season a little differently because so many different things happen," said Caldwell, answering a question about his confidence level. "What I focus on mainly is our objective. What do we have to do. My job is to get our team ready to function and play regardless of the circumstances. And not only just to function and play, but to win. If we don't win, there's a problem. That's the thing; we talk about it. It's a function of our team that we've always talked about it. The next man is up. Whomever is gonna be called upon, whomever that might be, has to be able to step up and play and play well enough for us to get a victory. We expect that and anticipate that and that's how we typically address issues where we may be missing a player or two."
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