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Saturday, January 29, 2011
Manning, Belichick together again

By Jason Kaneshiro

HONOLULU -- In gauging Pro Bowl coaching staffs, Peyton Manning probably has more insight than most.

In his previous 10 appearances, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback said he’s worked with 10 different coaching staffs. Having the New England staff here this year, as in 2007, marks the first time he’s seeing a coach for the second time.

“Over here, with a short week, I’m not sure you can learn everything about a coaching staff, but I do think you can see why coaches are successful,” Manning said in the AFC locker room at Aloha Stadium.

Manning described the task of bringing in players from around the conference and putting together a game plan in four relatively light practices as a “rush job” for the New England Patriots' staff.

“But you see why they’re efficient coaches and excellent coaches,” Manning said. “And they can make do with the time they’re allotted and, of course, when you have great players, it helps.

"I feel like we’ll be ready to play tomorrow. Everybody knows what to do; we’re all on the same page.”

Manning was largely responsible for Bill Belichick and crew coming to Hawaii in 2007, when he led the Colts to a win over the Patriots in the AFC championship game following the 2006 regular season.

That was part of a series of high-stakes duels between the teams in recent years. But in the relaxed setting of the Pro Bowl, Manning and Belichick chatted on their way to the practice field during the week and will work to try to tip the all-time series, now tied 20-20, in the AFC’s favor on Sunday.

“Like last time, he makes it an enjoyable week for the players at the same time, getting us ready for the game,” Manning said.

While Belichick has worked against Manning far more often than with him, he certainly has some familiarity with the trio of quarterbacks in the Pro Bowl game. Former Patriot and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was added to the roster in place of an injured Tom Brady. San Diego’s Philip Rivers will get the start.

“Coach Belichick said he’s 2-0 in this game and wants to be 3-0,” Manning said. “He wants to win. I think all the players want to win.”

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Jason Kaneshiro is covering the Pro Bowl for ESPNBoston.com all week.