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Playing without QB Manning an adjustment for Colts

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 12:48 AM

Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney admits life without quarterback Peyton Manning has been rough.

Manning has not played this season because of a neck injury and Indianapolis is 0-3 without him.

Backup Kerry Collins has struggled and, as he recovers from a concussion, Curtis Painter is expected to start against Tampa Bay on Monday.

"Obviously, when you take out a Hall of Fame quarterback, it's going to be a tough transition to get things going," Freeney said. "Obviously, we understand that, but we have confidence in the guys who we have that will come up with some type of solution here to start doing things like we've done before.

"We believe in the system, how we do things. Unfortunately, he's not here, but that's football."

Indianapolis will attempt to win its first game this season with an unproven quarterback under center.

Painter, a sixth-round draft pick in 2009, has appeared in only three NFL games with no starts, but Freeney is optimistic his team can rebound.

"For Painter being back there, or whoever being back there, it's a team deal," Freeney said. "That offensive line has to give him time. Those receivers have to run those great routes so Painter can get him the ball.

"A lot of times what people end up doing is giving the quarterback all the credit in the world and not any other offensive position credit. So, all of a sudden, it seems like it's just the quarterback. That's not the case, but I understand it, because the quarterback is the one who has the ball in his hands, therefore, the spotlight is on him."