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Manning expects new looks from Patriots

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  November 2, 2011 05:41 PM

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How has Victor Cruz helped your offense?
Victor’s done great. He’s made a lot of plays. He’s a young guy who each week is learning the ins-and-outs of this offense and he has a natural playmaking ability. He’s stepped up to make big plays in key situations.

I’m sure like everyone else, you’ve heard the term ‘Suck for Luck’ and seen pictures of Colts fans wearing Andrew Luck jerseys in the stands. Given the situation your brother, Peyton Manning, is in, what do you think when you hear people talk about that?
I’ve heard a little bit about it, I haven’t thought much about the circumstances, but I think obviously any person in the NFL, any player is competing each week to try to get a win – coaches, everybody, no matter what the circumstances or the record or whatnot. Each week, you have pride in your job and yourself to go out there and play your hardest and try to get wins.

How often do you stay in touch with Peyton?
He is my brother, so we are pretty tight. We talk pretty regularly throughout the season and he’s always checking up on us and how everything is going with our season and watching our games when he can, depending on their schedule. We’re very close and always trying to help each other out.

How is he doing throughout this whole situation?
I think his mindset is just trying to get back healthy and trying to rehab and stay positive and keep all his energy on trying to get healthy as soon as possible.

Has he told you that he would love to get back on the field this year? A lot of people are wondering why he hasn’t been put on Injured Reserve.
Yeah, I think that’s his goal is to get healthy, certainly to get well enough to come back and play. I don’t know what the circumstances are, he hasn’t mentioned anything on that, but I think that’s anyone’s objective when they’re injured – to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure you’re about to get back 100 percent.

Last year this Patriots defense did a remarkable job forcing turnovers, I think they finished plus 28. This year they’ve struggled, they’ve gotten some interceptions, but they’re just plus two. Is there anything for you as a quarterback that shows up on film, the ability to create turnovers or is that just a game-to-game situation?
You see which guys, you see their turnovers, you watch the games, if it’s certain guys, certain situations, what’s creating the turnovers. They’ve done a good job getting some. Obviously, with New England you just go to control the game. You see certain games where they get up on teams, so obviously the third and fourth quarters when they have leads, that always creates turnovers for defenses – opposing teams start forcing things. You always try to stay in manageable situations throughout the game and keep it close and try to win it in the end.

When you’re watching game film this week, does it help that the Patriots lost to the Steelers? Is that something that you can use as sort of a blueprint going into this week’s game?
No, I don’t think that it makes a difference whether they won or lost. You look at all their games and try to figure out what teams had success with, what type of schemes, see what New England, how their game plan or how their play calling changed by the circumstances of games and get a feel for how we’re going to run our offense and what plays will work and what my reads will be.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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