HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on if he sees some positives they can build off of in the future) * *
"I do think we have some things that we will be able to build from in the future, and it's kind of almost been ever-changing with the amount of injuries and guys that we have lost and through time and the opportunity to look at a lot of different players and kind of evaluate things. And also I think it makes you take a deeper look at some of the things and making sure you have the proper depth. When you feel you have this and you have that, and you don't, just because sometimes guys haven't been put into the test and the fire and so forth. So it makes you take a little deeper look as you go forward into the future."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on if he uses being a spoiler as motivation)
"Guys want to win the football game. I don't know what comes after that, within that or with that. The thing is you're playing to win football games and the outcome, and regardless of what happens to somebody else's season, that's all we worry about. Your approach to the game is to win every week. I can't sit there and say, 'We're just playing to be the spoiler.' That doesn't make much sense when you're trying to go win the football game and that's how you prepare. Our guys prepare every week that way. We have to do better things and make more plays in order for us to win the football game."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on what he sees from DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis and how they effect the game)
"They do such a great job of applying pressure to the quarterback, and I won't just say the quarterback, even the running game. I think they do some things with their penetration and their athleticism, movement and speed, that make you always conscious and aware of them. Sometimes the spins can be somewhat unorthodox and you have to be concerned and be ready for that. And hopefully when they're zigging, you're zagging, and you make some explosive things that way within that, particularly versus the run. So those are the things that you always have to be conscious of. They do such a great job with their four-man rush that you have seven guys in coverage a lot more. You don't see a lot of the pressures and the things that you see from a lot of teams because they do such a great job getting pressure with the four guys."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on not being surprised that when Mathis and Freeney are productive, the Colts often win)
"No, not at all, because if you can apply four-man pressure defensively, you're going to be good, and because their offense has done always such a great job of scoring points, it allows them to have a lead which really kind of plays to those guys' abilities."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on a rough time with luck with injuries, off-the-field problems, etc., and a lot being out of his control)
"Again, the first thing mentioned was two years ago and for a span within four or five months and within that, and other than that, that's the only time ever, have we ever had any instances with any players. So that's unfortunately a small thing, but it is something that matters, and some guys made some very, very poor decisions that way. We've had some injuries to players, and unfortunately, all but one of our first-round draft picks has been injured in my time period here. So that's been unfortunate, obviously. That puts a big ding in what you're doing with those guys on the field for you because those are really the kingpins and the people you're building things around. So that's been unfortunate, but you have to do something to overcome that, and we really have to look harder and do a better job of trying to acquire some people to make up some of that time, because we've lost some time with these guys. So we need to do double-time in order to make that space up."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on always having expectations)
"The expectations of what we should be doing football-wise, wins-losses-wise, doesn't change. You play the game to be World Champions, you spend the time you do to be World Champions, and anything short of that, you don't feel very good about."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on WR-T.J. Houshmandzadeh being uncertain of his future)
"T.J.'s done a good job. T.J. did not play very much football until he came here, and frankly was very, very lazy. Been able to point those things out to T.J. at earlier times and get him going and doing the things he's doing now, because I think he was selling himself short. Then, he's been able to turn that corner and it's been good. He obviously is not signed to a contract for next year and that's part of the NFL system. It's really a great system because you go play your tail off and if we can't get it worked on with you there, maybe somebody else will, and I think that's a good thing. Sometimes, too, it's good for guys to have to go and do that. I think as T.J. knows, as he talks to people on the other teams, the grass is not generally, not necessarily always greener either. But it's a really tough decision to make. He has a very young family, and whatever decision he makes he'll make a good one. Hopefully he'll be back with us, but if not we'll wish him luck and we'll plug the next guy in and go forward."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on WR-Chad Johnson)
" Chad has not had the season that we know we expected that he would have. I think getting injured really set him back. Obviously his offseason didn't help him move forward with production this year. Hopefully he can really finish the season strong the last four weeks and we can provide and find a way to get him the ball, he can find a way to get to the right spots and be where he needs to be, and then those things will connect."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on the Colts' two-minute offense)
"I think obviously their two-minute offense and one-minute is very good because they play a lot of their game without huddling up, so they're very comfortable. Obviously Peyton (Manning) is very comfortable in that fashion. He doesn't get rattled at all, he understands the clock and the time. Their players are very good at that. They don't change much. Some teams have to go to a completely different offense in that situation where they're already in that kind of mode. So it's really very comfortable for them and they can go and do the things that they normally do."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on the Colts two-minute defense)
"When you have the lead, with being able to rush the passer and being able to play zone defense and everything and make it difficult for people to get in those lanes, it makes you a very effective group when you get in one-minute on defense."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on if he emphasizes the end of the half as well)
"We always try to emphasize the end of the game and the end of the half and I think it's important defensively to work hard at getting the football back for your offense and good field position. This season, we've done a nice job of ending the first half on offense in our situations. So I think that's been big. Ryan (Fitzpatrick) has done a nice job of that."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on QB-Carson Palmer)
"Carson's been doing things every week, and he's progressed with more throws this week. He'll continue on the rehab schedule and as things continue to go and he feels pain-free and so forth and the healing process continues, we'll evaluate where he is week to week."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on TE-Ben Utecht)
"Ben we thought was a good addition to us. Unfortunately he's been nicked up and had some injuries. He had some in Indy, he's had some now with us, things where really it's been until this last one, it's really been some contact things. So we don't know if we'll have his services this week or not, but I think all in all as we go forward, Ben will continue to be a good addition for our offense and for our football team."
HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS (on what has happened to the offense over the past couple of years or if it is the injury of Carson Palmer)
"I think some of it is Carson. I think some of it is our inability to continue on the process up front. I think we've taken a step back up front through injury, through attrition. I think the other thing is to make sure that you have to be on point. The guys that we had playing on the outside work very, very hard. Sometimes guys get a little full of themselves and figure they were the reason why, and they forget that work ethic a little bit. And I think a little bit of that played into a little bit of it. And if they're trying to come back, the quarterback's injured and so we've been really off sync totally on offense this season."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on how he is doing)
"I'm doing alright. I'm a little crushed mentally, but I have gotten over that, a while ago. So I just have fun now, have fun."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on his putting up good numbers despite the team's lack of success)
"I take pride in that I try to play well, of course. That's what you play for, when you're at this point in the season, you play because it's fun and you play for pride. Basically, that's it. And we play to try to spoil teams like Indianapolis' chances for the playoffs. And that's what you play for. When you're having a bad season, anybody, if they tell you any differently, they're lying to you because it's the right thing to say. When you're playing bad, you try to just play very well as an individual when you're playing bad as a team."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on he and DB-Keiwan Ratliff looking forward to this game)
"Rat's my guy. Since Rat got here, I thought he was a really good player. While he's in Indy, I like to see him do well because I think Rat can play, he just needs to get an opportunity and he has to know that if he does make a mistake, the coach is not going to pull him. I mean, he's had rough times in Indy by being released so many times, but the chances he's gotten to play, he's played well."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on if it has been tough weathering the storms, from the team's off-the-field problems to now struggling on the field)
"You can always handle things off the field. I don't know if that sounds right, but you can handle those things, you can deal with those things. I would rather have things off the field than be losing on the field, I can tell you that for sure. When you're losing on the field, it's just a terrible feeling. Your intensity level is not where it should be, and that shouldn't be the case, but that's what it is. When guys get in trouble, it's hard to get in trouble, it's easy to do the right thing. So I would prefer to have those things and be winning on the field. Obviously you would prefer to have both, but if you can take one or the other, I would prefer to win on the field and have the problems and just deal with the distractions."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on WR-Chad Johnson's numbers being down and if this will be his last season with Johnson)
"One way or the other it will be, I think, whether it's him or me. Chad, it's just been a rough year for everybody. My numbers are down, his numbers are down. Mine are not as down as his are, but it's because I'm able to move from different spots on the field and Chad just doesn't do that. I can play the 'X', the 'Z', the 'Y', I can play every position on the field and Chad just doesn't do that, and so that's why it's different. I don't know what's going to happen, Chad doesn't know what's going to happen, none of us can control it. But if we continue to play again, I promise you when they say who the best receivers are on one team, we will be mentioned again if we are playing together next year."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on his future with Cincinnati and not thinking he will be back)
"If you work at the Indianapolis Star and you had a three-year contract and your contract was up at the end of December, and you didn't get another contract, what would you think prior to that? So you put yourself in my position, I just automatically assume that I'm not going to be here. It is what it is. I'm not bitter. I got the opportunity to play in Cincinnati. It's the team that drafted me and the only team to give me an opportunity, and if I stay here, great, we'll make it happen, and if I don't, I look forward to make it happen somewhere else. But it's so far away."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on the motivation and finding positives, and if spoiling the Colts' season is the motivation)
"Yes. They're playing for the wild card right now. Baltimore, Indy, New England, there's a lot of teams fighting for that wild card spot, and if we can affect that, it makes it feel like we've done something. Our season has not gone the way we would have liked, but we can try to throw a monkey wrench in somebody else's plans. It's happened to us, and so why not do it to somebody else?"
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on finding positives and motivation where you can)
"Indy's a good team. The defense, all those boys can just flat-out move around, they fly, they can run. I think psycho-Bob (Sanders) will be back and it should be fun."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on if he will be looking around for Sanders)
"No, I'm not worried about that. If he hits me, he hits me. I can take it. Just the way he plays, kamikaze style, like he has two bodies. He can hurt one and go get another one."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on what has happened to the offense)
"Obviously, Carson (Palmer) is a big deal. If (Indianapolis) lost Peyton (Manning), I'm sure it would be similar. You might have a few more wins, but it would be something similar. Carson is a big deal, the fact that we're not running the ball very effectively is a big deal, the fact that I think we've given up more sacks this year than the last two years combined is a big deal. And so when you have all those things, you just can't effectively play good football when you're making a lot of mistakes. You can't do it."
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (on he and Chad Johnson playing together in college and having a good run together)
"Me and Chad have been playing football together for nine, 10 years, and I don't know how many guys can say that, that they played together in college and then they get to the NFL and they play together. And we've played well, and we play the same position. I'm sure there's not too many guys throughout the history of the league that have done that. We just look forward to doing it more, and if not, I'm sure he'll watch me if I leave and I'll watch him, vice versa. Whoever leaves, if it does happen, we'll always watch each other because I want him to do well and I'm sure he would like me to do well also."