INDIANAPOLIS – As has been seen elsewhere in the NFL – think Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson – players often call for the ball and get upset when it doesn’t come their way.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, however, expects there to be no complaining from his receivers when they do not get the ball.
“I think with everybody – this is the hope and I feel is the case – is to win,” Manning said. “Sometimes that means catching 10 balls and two touchdowns. Sometimes it’s going to mean blocking well downfield.”
There is so much star power among the Colts’ receiving corps, which includes Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Anthony Gonzalez and tight end Dallas Clark, one might think there would be griping if they all don’t get enough touches.
Manning said it hasn’t been a problem and hopes it continues Sunday, when the Colts (1-2) go on the road to play Houston (0-3) in the Texans’ home opener.
“Especially with the situation we’re in now, we’re fighting and scratching to get a win and that’s how it’s going to be from here on out,” said Manning, who has completed 71 of 120 passes for 784 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Colts’ sixth-ranked passing game has been less productive than usual this season, accounting for 249 yards per game. Last year, it averaged 252.1 yards, and in 2006, it averaged 269.2.
Wayne has 18 receptions for 253 yards and two touchdowns this season. Gonzalez has 16 catches for 222 yards. Harrison, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, has 13 receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown. And Clark, who missed one game this season with a knee injury, has five catches for 55 yards.
The Colts are off to their worst start since going 0-4 in 1998, but the players said they rallied during the bye week.
“The more we play together, the better we’ll get,” Clark said, adding that Manning’s job is somewhat unenviable because he must keep so many talented players happy.
“Right now, whoever is open, that’s who he’s throwing it to. We’ve got to get something going. People can worry about not getting the touches, but it’s about getting it to the open receiver and moving the chains, moving the ball, scoring points. That’s what this team needs.”
Manning tries to diversify the offense by throwing all around the field and getting the ball into the hands of running back Joseph Addai.
The Texans’ pass defense ranks ninth, allowing 181 yards per game.
“Spreading the ball around and keeping the defense off balance – it’d be nice to find that,” Manning said.