INDIANAPOLIS – Wide receiver Austin Collie played extensively in a vibrant Indianapolis offense at the outset of his career in 2009. Fourth-year tight end Jacob Tamme did not see the field consistently on offense until his third season, and now he is doing it again.
Both are key components for Indianapolis at this point of the 2011 season, and each wants to help the club finish the season strongly. Both are pointing toward Sunday against Carolina as the next chance to compete.
"Yeah, it was good," said Tamme about the bye week and a return to action this Sunday. "I think, as a team, it was good to get refreshed and refueled a little bit. It's hard because, obviously, we haven't done what we wanted to do so far this year, but it was good for us, hopefully, to get back and to get a fresh start.
"The resolve of this team is pretty strong. I know there are a lot of people out there that are saying a lot of different stuff. The guys in this locker room, they want to win. That's what we're here to do, and that's what we're going to keep working to do."
"I think we're well-rested," said Collie. "We've kind of got a second wind and hopefully things come together this weekend and we put it together."
Tamme has seen his role increase in the offense recently with injuries to Dallas Clark and Brody Eldridge. This is the second consecutive year he has played a larger role in the offense in the last half of a season. In 2010, Tamme caught 67 passes over the final 10 games when Clark was out of the lineup. Clark missed the Jacksonville game with a lower leg injury, and he will not play this week against Carolina. Eldridge also missed the last game with a hand injury and his availability for Sunday is to be determined.
Predominantly a special teamer through the first nine games, Tamme felt good about getting back on the field in an offensive role in the last outing. He is looking forward to Sunday, and the unselfish battler will do what is asked.
"It was good in that respect, but the bottom line (is that) it was not what we want," said Tamme of playing against the Jaguars. "It was good to have a week to kind of get away a little bit. We got some good work before we left. Now, we're back and getting ready for Carolina, and see if we can get this turned around.
"I've always tried not to get too consumed with what my role is each week. It's always kind of changing. You never know exactly how much offense it (his role) is going to be, exactly what it is on special teams. I've always been a guy who feels confident I can play every down on offense and do good things for us. It's kind of a goal of mine to get in there. When I do, I try to do my best to help us get in the end zone. We have to do a better job of that."
As far as slipping back into the lineup, Tamme is solid with his knowledge and comfort in what he must do. Like others, he wants to contribute to the team overcoming its struggles.
"Yes, I definitely am (personally more comfortable this year than last year)," said Tamme. "It's different this year as a team because we're not where we want to be. Offensively, we haven't played the way we need to play. No one is comfortable (with the team accomplishments). As far as me personally, I'm very confident and comfortable playing tight end like I have been my whole life. (I'm) pretty confident as a player. (I) just focus on what I can do better to help us get in the end zone."
The Indianapolis offense has labored with efficiency this season. Injuries across the board have contributed to the overall production, and the team hopes to achieve a higher level of performance in coming games. Tamme believes the offense can achieve what it wishes, and he sees no lack in confidence among his teammates.
"You kind of fight that a little bit when you lose a bunch of games in a row," said Tamme. "You have to fight that feeling of, 'Oh man, here we go again.' I don't think we have that here. I think we have a group of guys that does a good job of going out focused every week. That's what we have to do again.
"There are a lot of different factors (for past struggles). If you sum it up, we just have to make more plays. We have to have more blocks, throws, whatever. We all to do a better job of doing the little things that help us get that first down, once we get in the red zone go ahead and punch it in the end zone. There's a lot of different stuff (we have to do). The main thing is just making the play, doing your job to make the play."
Collie is certain that success lies in each team member executing jobs properly.
"I think we know what we have to do (to win)," said Collie. "I think we've known what we have had to do for the past 11 weeks. We just have to put that together and win ballgames.
"It's always as simple as that (execution), always. There are very few times where you are going to find something different than just executing. That's football. The essence is knowing the play and making sure you do your job, not turning the ball over, moving the ball down the field and converting third downs. It all comes down to execution."
With the nature of the attack changing a bit with the absence of Peyton Manning thus far in 2011, players on offense have known there would be a different style of operation and level of personal results. Collie says players want to do all they can to contribute to team accomplishments.
"I think everybody on this team thinks they can make a difference when the ball is in their hand," said Collie. "From a wide receiver standpoint, we've been real successful in the past throwing the ball. The guys we have in that wide receiver room, they are guys who want to win. We understand the situation, understand what our job is. We just make sure when the time comes, when the ball comes our way, that we make the most of it.
"I think ultimately the attitude of everybody in this locker room is we want to win ballgames. If the coaches feel we go in a different direction and have a different type of game plan that's going to win us ballgames, I think everybody agrees with that. Ultimately, everybody is going to do their best at whatever it is to make sure (we win)."
Both players will a part of the process as the club seeks victory against Carolina. Attention to detail and executing jobs will be essential.
"We've got a good game plan, and we just need to go execute it," said Tamme. "That's what we have to do a better job of doing. Just focusing on the little things that we need to do better, and this is a team, obviously, that has a real explosive offense. They can move the ball to kind of dink and dunk it down the field, or they can make big plays through the air and on the ground. Offensively, we need to do a nice job of helping out our defense, and together get us a win."
COLTS FRIDAY NOTEBOOK (QUOTE-UNQUOTE): Jim Caldwell(on what he sees in QB-Curtis Painter than some may not) "I think he's developing. I think one of the things that I don't think there's any question about in this league (is) you rarely see a young quarterback, which he is, really flourish. It's rare that they really flourish in a system that's predominantly passing. Most young guys you see, some that are making progress in this league, are able to couple abilities with a real, strong running game. That's what I think certainly is the quarterback's best friend. Until we get to the point where we probably run the ball maybe a little bit more, I just don't think we've necessarily given him an opportunity to be at his best. I think there were a couple of games we did, a couple of things that happened during the course of some of the games where I think he was in pretty position. I thought he was developing and coming along, and we just hit a little bit of a tailspin. Like I said, that might not have always have been his fault. Sometimes things happen you cannot see, unless you slow it down, take a look at the film, know what the parameters are in terms of what's happening with calls made, where the mistakes were made besides that position. I'm not going into all those things, but there are some. There are enough of them that I don't think that he's gotten the opportunity that he should have. We're going to let him keep rolling. I think you'll see him continue to improve." Caldwell(on which aspects of a defense QB-Cam Newton stresses out the most) "How about all of the above? And that's a fact, because he uses every inch of the field. He's a guy that can certainly escape. He can get out and make plays outside of the pocket, and he's not just looking to run. He gets outside of the pocket and he's looking down the field to see if he can get (the ball) to the very capable guys down the field like (Steve) Smith, (Greg) Olsen, (Jeremy) Shockey, and some of those guys. He also gives you a problem because (the Panthers) run a semblance of what he ran at Auburn with a little bit of an option feel to it. He's reading the end, whether or not to hand it off or keep it. Also, running some true option and he runs a lot of quarterback draws which he's very, very good at because he can run those and he's got great vision. Particularly in the red zone, he knows how to get that ball in the end zone. He does put stress on not only your linebackers because of the run and pass problems that he creates, (but also) your secondary because of the fact that they have to stay in coverage for so long because he can scramble and get outside of the pocket and make plays. Not only that, but up front if you're going to rush him, you might want to think about staying in your rush lanes to try to contain him as much as you possibly can. You're not going to be able to contain him completely. He's just so athletic. Oftentimes, you'll see him even bounce backwards where he can get enough room where he can out run you around the edge. You're not going to contain him completely, but you'd better try to keep him under wraps as much as you can." Caldwell(on QB-Cam Newton) "A talented guy. You look at him in terms of what he (can do), he runs the ball well. He's carried the ball 77 times and leads his team in rushing touchdowns with nine. He's a talented guy that can do a number of different things. He can really put stress on a defense." Caldwell(on momentum at end of halves having effect on team struggles and if it creates momentum issue) "I think for the most part you could certainly state it that way. I think as we look at it, and I'm assuming that you're just talking about overall play, finishing games and things of that nature. (It is) an area where we have typically been pretty strong. You look at last year and I think we led the league in terms of points just before the half. This year, obviously, we have not been able to kind of close things out. Our drives at the end of the game, our drive at the end of the Cincinnati game, opportunities that you have to function well and get yourself in position to score, we haven't done a very good job of that at this stage. So it's something that we've got to continually work on. We worked on it a little bit last week during the bye week, just trying to finish and get ourselves in position to score. We'll continue to do so this week as well." Adam Vinatieri(on P-Pat McAfee) "He's having a great year. Statistically, he's punting the ball really well. He's kicking the ball off real well. He's a big factor why our special teams are where they're at. His ability to hit the ball down the field and making touchbacks on kickoffs, that helps our field position and our defense with drive starts. He's been a great teammate and great on the field as well. He's a highly-motivated guy all the way around. I don't think anything's changed from years past. I think he's always been a highly-motivated guy. This off-season, he really focused in on his craft. You can see that he's got a lot of control of the ball and where he wants to hit it. He's definitely helping us out." Vinatieri(on WR-Marvin Harrison) "Awesome, was one word for him. His statistics speak for themselves. You can't say enough about what he accomplished on the football field. I really got along with him pretty well. He's a quieter guy, but a very personable guy once you got to know him. He came to work every day ready to play and practiced. As far as skills, I didn't have the opportunity to be around Jerry Rice, but I'm going to throw Marvin up as a guy who's as good as any guy that's ever played at that position. I watched him make some amazing catches when I was on a different team watching him play. I've seen him play, just a gifted, hard-working, awesome athlete." David Caldwell(on QB-Cam Newton) "You just have to play your keys. It's going to be the type of game where Cam (Newton) can act like he's running and he has the arm where he can get the ball right over your head. Play your keys. Make sure if you're playing the run, you're playing the run. If you're supposed to be back in your pass assignment, play the pass assignment. It will really show up if you make a mistake. He's a beast at quarterback. He can throw the ball as well as run. It's like having a running back back there (at quarterback). It's almost like you're playing with 12 guys on the field. They have an extra blocker when they run him in some of those 'read' plays, or power or iso's (isolations). It's going to be more assignment football. We have to make sure we stay focused on our keys."
Dan Orlovsky(on if he is surprised or disappointed he is not starting at QB this week) "Nothing surprises me in this league. Am I disappointed? No, my mindset is to continue to handle it the way I've handled it, and unless something was told to me different than what's been the case over the past few months, then nothing was really going to change. I think I'm disappointed every Sunday, because I don't get the chance to go out and compete." Orlovsky(on wanting to start, but understanding role) "Like I said, I think I'm disappointed every Sunday, if you want to use that word, because you don't get a chance to go play. It's my role to be the backup, my role to do what the coaches ask me to do, and that's what they're asking me to do right now. Do I want to be out there? Of course, I've wanted to be out there for seven years now. I just have to continue to go and prepare, be ready, support Curtis (Painter) like I have and try to help him anyway that I can. Hopefully, we can go win." Curtis Painter(on what he must do better)
"Number one is to control turnovers. That's big. Control the ball and just be more consistent, try to keep us on the field longer. Third-down conversions have been a big emphasis for us, so just being better in that area, then just controlling the ball." Dwight Freeney(on if facing QB-Cam Newton alters the defensive game plan a bit) "Well, it does a little bit. I've always said that the animal you hunt, the quarterback is that animal. You have to know what kind of animal he is, and Cam is an athlete. He's a guy that they love to have him have the ball in his hands making plays. They're throwing the ball, running the ball (with) planned runs (and) non-planned runs and he's all over the place with it, which he should be. He's young, he's got all that energy and he's running around. Nothing hurts right now, it's all good. It's definitely going to be a challenge." Freeney(on QB-Cam Newton being dangerous when a play breaks down) "(The Panthers) do a lot of things with him. Some of them are planned rushes, like a QB draw, and then some of them are just him making a play with his feet. You have to treat him like a running back. You'd better have 11 guys (running) to the ball. A guy like that, he's throwing people off, he's spinning, he's hurdling. He's doing all types of stuff." Freeney(on being cognizant of fines about hitting QB-Cam Newton since he is a QB) "That's a good point. You can't treat him like a QB. He's going to run the ball like a running back. You have to be able to hit him like it. Whatever it is, fakes or whatever they do with the offense, we're not going to know if he has the ball or not sometimes. We have to play him and just hope the refs do the right thing. This is not a typical pocket-passer. I have a problem with those rules. Now, this is something completely different. If you lay up and don't hit him, guess what? He's throwing you off, and they're getting five, 10, 15 yards. I just hope the refs do the right thing." Antoine Bethea(on facing Carolina and dangerous QB-Cam Newton) "That's every week though. Every week you're going to face a good quarterback, good running back and good receivers. We've just got to keep doing what we've said we're trying to do. Stop the run game and limit the big plays, and if we can we'll be all right." Bethea(on facing QB-Cam Newton) "That's just a situation where you just have to be smart. (You) kind of game plan to really not let him beat you with his feet. Most definitely we want him to beat (us) with his arm, but that's a phase of the game, the quarterback running, that can really get tough throughout the game. Hopefully we'll dial some things up and limit that." Bethea(on WR-Steve Smith) "Steve Smith, he's a play-maker. Cam Newton has been getting him the ball this year. Once again, when he does catch the ball, we have to limit him with yards after the catch. (We have to) limit those down-the-field passing plays." Bethea(on if bye week benefited defensive players more than offensive players) "I think bye weeks are for everybody. If you're on the field, you're going to have some nicks and bruises. (It's) even for the coaches, too. Mentally you had a chance to get away from things. I think it helped everybody."