*Colts Conference Call Transcript *
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL
(on being the quarterbacks coach with the Colts and what his role was)
I think every situation is different, let me put it that way. I don't think coaching that position is any different than coaching others. That was what we we're trying to do, get as much information as we can to the player so that he can synthesize it. Obviously, teaching the game plan but also trying to work on fundamentals and techniques which are extremely important. Other than that, the implementation of strategy as it goes along with the game. I'm not certain there's any real big difference between coaching quarterbacks and what's required of guys coaching the defensive line. I think we all approach it the same way.
(on if he's impressed with the improvement Vince Young has shown)
He's playing extremely well. He's playing great right now actually. Obviously, he had an opportunity to sit back and kind of observe and watch Kerry (Collins) for a while. He's taken full advantage of it. You can see by the way in which he plays. He's throwing the ball extremely well, making great decisions and obviously when nothing's there he's using his God-given ability to run as well. He's operating at an extremely high level right now.
(on Dwight Freeney and if he will practice today)
Not real sure. We'll put out an injury report after the practice is over with to see where we are. It's kind of day-to-day.
(on if Vince Young can be considered a pocket passer after his performance last Sunday)
That's probably a great question to ask Coach Fisher. I don't like to get in the business of assessing other players in terms of those kinds of things. I think I was pretty straight forward in terms of how I thought he was playing. He's playing great, but I think that assessment type of thing you might want to ask Coach Fisher that.
(on the impact Dwight Freeney has on the field)
Overall, he's a talented player, there's no question about that. He is indeed a force and certainly draws a bit of attention when he's in the ball game because of the fact he's been very, very effective in terms of rushing the passer. He's been playing the run extremely well.
(on hiring special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski and if they are better than last year)
You have to prove yourself every week, but when you look at us overall you'll see that what is different is the way in which we are covering. Our coverage teams have been doing a great job of getting down the field and certainly making some things happen. That's been key because drive-start average is extremely important. So, our return game is still a work in progress for us. Our punter and place kicker have been kicking the ball very well. So, those things we want to keep up, keep our coverage going the way it's going and keep working to improve our return game.
(on punter Pat McAfee)
I think when you look at that in terms of touchbacks, the further a team has to go in order to get in to scoring territory, the less their chances are of being successful. If we can make them start at the 20 or inside the 20, obviously that's a great benefit to our defense.
(on how different the Titans look on defense compared to the first meeting)
I think you may recall the last time I think we spoke that these guys are a talented group. I felt the same way when we played them the first time. They're an extremely talented group. Obviously, it's the same cast of characters that have been there for a number of years that have played extremely well, a lot of great football. They were missing, I think, ( Cortland) Finnegan didn't play when we played them and maybe Nick (Harper) was in there a short period of time or didn't play at all against us, I can't recall. But nevertheless, they have been playing really, really good football lately. They were playing tough even back then. I mean, when we were played them they were playing tough football. That was a tough game that we had against them. Every week we anticipate seeing one of the best defenses in our league.
(on if there is a secret formula to slow Chris Johnson down)
He's one of those guys that you are not going to stop. He's a talented guy and he's going to get his numbers. There's no question about that. Obviously, anybody who can churn out 800 yards in the month of November and the tear that he's been on, you're not going to stop him but you hope to be able to contain him.
(on how Chris Johnson is different from other backs)
His speed obviously. There are a lot of great backs in this league but he sets himself apart I think because of the fact that he's so fast. He can hit a seam on you, every time he touches the ball he's a threat to go the distance.
(on whether to try and stop Chris Johnson or Vince Young first)
Well, in this game you have to be able to take a look at all of the weapons. That's the thing about us from a defensive standpoint. We try and make certain that we cover our responsibilities in terms of just our area of the field etcetera, within the scheme of the defense. Your hope is that you'll be able to contain most things that are done by any one of them, but you've got to pay particular attention to Chris Johnson with the way he's running the ball and you've got to know were Vince is located. And not only that, they have wide receivers that can hurt you as well. (Kenny) Britt's playing well, Washington's playing well, the tight end corps is talented. So, what we have to do is make certain from a defensive standpoint that we're playing our techniques and fundamentals.
(on offensive guard Kyle DeVan)
It was more a thing of performance. There was a stretch during the season where we were just kind of interchanging them by series or every couple of series because they were both playing fairly evenly. Kyle just kept progressing. This is obviously a performance based league and that's what counts. He started to perform on a regular basis, consistent in terms of his strength and overall knowledge of the position continued to increase. He's a good and solid player. He's a guy that certainly gives you great effort as well.
(on how difficult it is to sacrifice roster spots to keep Adam Vinatieri and Anthony Gonzalez)
In this league, I think that's one of the things you just have to adjust to. We've been accustom to dealing with that around here because of the fact—or any place else I think—when you look at all the teams at this time of year you're going to have a few of those. Particularly when things start to get a little thin those spots are valuable. You hold them for a reason because you really believe you're going to be able to get them to pay dividends for you in the long run. So, that's how we feel about it. We just keep sawing wood.
(on getting a wide receiver to be productive his rookie year)
Well, you know we've had a little experience with that of late. I think it takes a pretty unusual guy to be able to come in and play consistently well like (Kenny) Britt is doing. He's doing similar to our guys, in particular Austin Collie. It takes a guy that certainly is willing to study and get well prepared just in terms of the day-to-day operations. A lot of times our guys are seeing coverage's maybe they haven't seen run with the same kind of speed that they see in this league. So, there are some adjustments they have to go through. But also the great offseason work is something that's also extremely important. You have to have a diligent individual who's able to adapt and adjust and continue to improve during the course of the year and it's a long year. Often times by now, you look at guys that ordinarily would have had their season over with and they may be preparing for a bowl game or something like that with a fairly decent break. So, this is really the real test for the guys down the stretch. It takes a very unusual guy to be successful and consistent throughout the year in his first year.
(on preparing for the Titans with Vince Young at quarterback compared to Kerry Collins)
I think they're equally tough. Kerry has his strengths and Vince has his strengths. You just have to look at those and adjust. Both of them will give you problems, both of them are very good at what they do. They're talented guys. So, we try to separate that and try to take a look at who we're going to face and work at it that way and not try and judge one against the other because both are very talented men that do a great job.
(on if it makes it easier to deal with the undefeated questions because of past success)
I think so. I think because of the fact this is not really new ground for us or new territory. We've seen this before so our guys look at it for what it is. That is that it's something we don't focus in on, it's a goal that's secondary in mind. We just try to focus in on one game at a time. That's an old cliché, but that's indeed what we do. We try and look at this situation as an opportunity for us to practice hard and try to get better in practice and go out and play a great game against a great team.
(on if he feels the pressure is off because the Colts have clinched the AFC South)
No sir, I don't. For us, every game is still just as important. We've still got a lot to fight for and this game for us will be no different than anyone we've played up until this time. We still are going at it the same way in terms of our preparation and we know that if we don't get better this week, we've got a problem on our hands. So, we've got to continue to get better.
(on if he senses a hungry Titans team coming to play)
I think that's the way they are all the time. There's not a time when you've faced them that you don't feel this team is eager, hungry, tough, physical team that's mentally tough and ready to get after you.
TIGHT END DALLAS CLARK
(on keeping the win streak alive week after week)
We try not to look at a streak or anything like that. We are just trying to focus each week at a time and breaking it down that way and just try to improve from week to week. Each week there just seems like there is always something else to work on and try to improve on. It is just kind of a constant battle to just try to keep improving each week. We have been fortunate enough to pull out some games here and having to rally to win. You know that is good.
(on whether their team references the game against the Titans earlier this year or if he looks at it as they are facing a different team)
You definitely look at it. You definitely don't sell out to one thing because with Tennessee they're a lot healthier this game than they were back then, defensively anyways. I don't know about the rest of the team. They have their corners back and things like that. They probably will be able to do a little bit more just personnel-wise having a few more guys that can play for them. We definitely have to prepare for things like that.
(on how many times Keith Bulluck has had him in coverage and what it is like facing him)
Every now and then it will happen, but it is never something that they sell out to or anything like that, like a nickel back would or something like that. There are times that they will be in two-man and they will get him on the tight end. He is very good. He has been around a while and he is very smart and very savvy. He knows how to read things really well. It is a great challenge for any tight end to go against him because he has been around the block a few times and you are not going to fool him too easily.
(on who has covered him in recent meetings)
It has been a while. Every now and then the nickel back. They haven't gone to anything we have seen in the past few weeks, with like a New England or Baltimore where they just have a nickel guy over me. They don't really do that a whole lot. It is nothing where it is going to be a big matchup between me and one of their guys. They mix it up with down and distance and where the ball is at and all that stuff. They stick to their game plan. They don't make a lot of adjustments towards a player here or a player there.
(on if Joseph Addai is rated unfairly compared to other feature backs that are asked to do more)
He is a very good back and we have a type of offense that is kind of this whole scheme. When you kind of play in this system, you kind of know what is going to happen. Joe has been a great player for us and has just done really well with the ball and making a lot of plays. I think the last couple of weeks he has done really well just making plays for us and making first downs and definitely has helped our offense.
(on the offense succeeding with young receivers like Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon)
There are a lot of factors, I think Peyton (Manning) has a lot to do with it. I think that is a big factor just making sure everyone is on the same page and really working with them during practice and having great communication with them and getting them on the same page as him. Also, it is a credit to those guys, to Pierre and Austin. Pierre had the luxury of last year, playing as a practice squad type player and sitting back and kind of going out there practicing every day and getting better, but also sitting back on game day and watching Reggie (Wayne) and Marv (Marvin Harrison) do their thing. For a guy like Austin to come in as a rookie, he has done a fabulous job and has really taken it upon himself to make sure he knows what is going on. He has worked very hard. He has made mistakes that is for sure and that is expected from any rookie, but what is good to see is that he has been making some big plays for us as well. You are not going to be perfect, but as long as you just keep working hard and not getting too frustrated or get too discouraged, you will be just fine. He has done exactly that.
(on feedback he heard after Jeff Fisher put on the Peyton Manning jersey)
I saw that on the TV. That was hilarious. I hope he didn't get too ridiculed for it because he is a tremendous coach. I would hope that the Titans fans know exactly where his heart is and where his agenda is and all that. I think things like that when you talk about charities, I think it is great for players and coaches to kind of show their personality. I think it is a chance to really support causes as people and not as players or coaches. I think that lightened the atmosphere, especially with Coach (Tony) Dungy being there. I thought it was brilliant.
(on if he would see Jim Caldwell in a Vince Young jersey)
You never know if he is introducing Coach Fisher or something like that. You never know. I think some people have to look at that and bring it into their bags of tricks.
(on if the team gave Peyton Manning any grief regarding the incident)
Not too much. I think everyone here was kind of under the same impression and just thought it was a funny gesture. I don't think we took it too overboard with it.
(on the question he gets the most about Peyton Manning outside the complex)
Being around here for seven years, you have been asked pretty much every question. It is tough to really narrow them down. I don't know. They range from everything. Everyone wants to know more about him. It ranges from anything and everything. I think the most popular question is that they are always asking about him whether it is this or that. That is the number one question. It is not going to be about Reggie (Wayne). It is not going to be about the defense. It is going to be about Peyton. That is something you get used to.
(on the love/hate relationship fans in Tennessee have for Peyton Manning)
I think it is with all great respect on both levels. I think it is great for the game in college. I think it is great for the game in the NFL. When you are a college kid and you go to the next level, you have no say on where you are going and how that thing falls, you never know. For that to happen like that, to have the rival in the same state as your alma mater, that is the way it works. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that kind of have it the same way, but with Peyton it is on a different stage and different level obviously. People have to dig deep down in their roots and find out where they are loyal at. Is it the Volunteers or is it the Titans? That is their decision that they need to make.
(on winning the division with five weeks to play)
You never know how it is going to be. You obviously want to do it and once you do accomplish that goal you really don't care how it is done or when it is done. You are just happy that you are able to accomplish your first goal. It is one of those things where sometimes it is the last week, sometimes it is Week 13 or whenever. We are just happy that we were able to accomplish that goal and put ourselves in a good situation.