INDIANAPOLIS --Head Coach John Fox met the media Thursday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium and broached a number of topics, including his thoughts on three of the team's receivers, two running backs and the recovery of a trio of players.
Below are some highlights from Fox's press conference.
On whether Peyton Manning has an offseason program
"Peyton has a program for everything (laughing). He's in his program right now and one guy I don't worry about in the offseason is him. He'll be just fine."
On how much longer he thinks Manning will play"I don't know. That something you would have to ask him. I think he had a very, very productive—maybe the most productive—season in history a year ago. I would say it looks pretty good for him moving forward."
On unrestricted free agents WRs Eric Decker and Andre Caldwell
"They were both big production guys in our offense this year. Like the 31 other teams, everyone has free agents. We're still very early in the process. I can talk about my two guys buy we can't talk about [other] people at this point because they are under contract with other teams. It's like going shopping without price tags. You need to get price tags before you start buying stuff. That takes time and that's the process we're in."
On whether Wes Welker can be a No. 2 wide receiver
"I always tell guys, 'Don't let anybody define you,' and that includes me. Wes, I think, has proven to be a very productive receiver in this league—whether that's a one, two or a three—I've never really totally understood that. I understand the phrases, but we just let them compete and he's never been short on that."
On Montee Ball"Obviously we think very highly of him. I thought he had tremendous growth as a rookie running back in this league. He got better with every week. We look for a big improvement next year and think he's very, very capable."
On Ronnie Hillman
"He's a tremendous talent. I think, obviously, everyone has their own style of offense. Ours is a little bit of communication at the line so it changes. So I think that slows down, in my opinion, a running back's development. He has no issues running the ball; he put it on the ground a couple of times like they all do early in the season. He was in the mix but we had some other guys—[RB] C.J. Anderson and [RB] Montee Ball and [RB] Knowshon [Moreno]—and the way it kind of works out sometimes is only so many can get in uniform on gameday. He's in that mix. I think he's a tremendous talent. He does give us great explosion as a runner, in particular when he gets to the perimeter. I know he will work very hard this offseason and try to develop and get better for next year."
On the running game
"I think, offensively, you do strive for balance. You'd like to have that attitude, that mindset to be able to run the football. It is something that I think every year when you look back at your season and evaluate schematically or even physically where you go, that's an area we want to improve in."
On Quanterus Smith"He rehabbed his knee. He came in off an offseason rehab. He's a guy that we saw early that we liked against [playing against] some top talent. He's had a great offseason as far as being in the weight room with [Strength & Conditioning Coach] Luke Richesson so I'm real curious to see him. I like what I saw on tape a year ago and we'll see where he is in that process in the offseason."
On if there is any medical uncertainty with Rahim Moore and Derek Wolfe given their unique injuries/illnesses
"Both are completely different. Like any injury or illness, you give medical attention and you work through it. We have a full offseason to do that and I feel very comfortable with where the two guys are that you just mentioned. It's a process and it takes time but we have time."