Colts Conference Call Transcript
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL
(on whether Peyton Manning is playing even better than previous great starts)
I think just in terms of sheer numbers, we all understand that he has indeed set a record in terms of the number of 300-yard games that he has had in succession. That is unique and that's different, but the guy has been phenomenal for a long time obviously. He is playing extremely well. He has always been a very, very consistent performer and this is one of those years that he has gotten off to just a tremendous start. He has had some great starts. The year that he threw for 49 touchdowns he had a great year as well. Last year was a tremendous year, he started out a little slow, but helped us reel off nine straight and obviously won the MVP. The guy, he never ceases to amaze you. He just continues to get better.
(on what he attributes the great start to)
I would just simply say that he has always been very consistent in terms of his work habits and his preparation. He treats every practice likes it's the last play in the Super Bowl to win it all. That is how he functions in meetings. That is how he functions on the practice field. It is a very, very unique trait that a guy can focus and concentrate the way in which he does and believe what he does in terms of his preparation to the enth degree. Obviously, he is blessed with an inordinate amount of talent physically and intellectually and he works extremely hard including all of his gifts. He is a talented guy with an unusual work habit.
*(on his success despite defenses constantly trying to find ways to slow him down) *
I think he has been around a while to. Although there are always going to be things directed towards him and trying to get him to slow down or not be quite as productive, but he has seen quite a few things in his 12 years in the league. I'm sure they will continue to try and he'll continue to work extremely hard to counteract that.
(on the Colts winning 12 straight last year and what turned them around)
I don't remember a particular play or a particular game or anything in that nature that jumps out in my mind but I can just tell you this, one of the things that has always been the case is that we have always practiced well. We have always focused in on our preparation and always believe that our preparation will make a difference. I think oftentimes that is what we lean on, even when things weren't going so well and times were a little tough we have leaned on the things that we know are going to be successful and just hung in there. Even when a lot of folks said you need to change this or change that, we just continued to focus in on our fundamentals.
(on Marlin Jackson being the nickel)
I wouldn't say that. Obviously, that has been the way it has been the last couple weeks. It just depends on his activity level and where we feel he is from a physical standpoint, how much he will get. Every week is a little bit different. This week is no different in that regard, so we have to monitor how he is coming along. He has been making progress.
(on how good Jerraud Powers has played)
He has been solid for a young guy that just stepped into the league. He is a rookie so it's not like he is vying to enter the Hall of Fame at this point. You know how young guys are, they are going to have ups and downs in this league. He has had some throughout the game, but overall he has been real good and solid. He is mature beyond his years and has been playing reasonably well at this stage.
(on being Kerry Collins' quarterback coach and their relationship)
I was at Penn State during the time that Kerry was there. He and I got to know each other pretty well. He is a talented guy who I loved coaching. He is an excellent person and a great performer as well. We had some pretty good years at Penn State. It was a lot of fun coaching him.
(on staying in contact with Kerry Collins)
During this time of the year when we play one another I usually go out early and have an opportunity to talk with him a little bit. I look forward to that this week as well.
(on the criticism about Collins' play)
I can just tell you that he is a quality player and a great leader. He is a guy that can make some things happen on any given day. He is a guy that we are concerned about and we have to make certain that we are on our toes because he can burn you.
(on the biggest challenges taking over for Tony Dungy)
Obviously, I'm following a gentleman that first of all has won a lot of games in this league. I think he is a first ballot Hall of Famer, just exceptional in everything that he has done and a great role model for all of us. I learned a lot from him over the years. I worked with him obviously for eight years and enjoyed every minute of it. He made everything that would have ordinarily been very difficult, easy. One of the things, he made it easy for a guy like me, I'm not a guy that screams and yells and he showed everybody that you can win championships without being a guy that has to be the center of attention or a guy that has to rattle the saber. He is a guy that taught me a number of things in that regard, but also set a pretty easy path for me just in terms of being myself. That has been extremely helpful. So I would say the transition has been pretty smooth. The NFL and easy those are not terms that are synonymous. It is always difficult and tough just winning a game. Here in this organization I certainly don't have to do it alone. We have fine players, a great owner, a great team president and personnel office and great coaches as well.
(on the importance of brining in outside blood to his coaching staff)
I think you have to look at it more like this, obviously the two guys we had that were in those position prior to were great coaches and did a great job here for us and we won a lot of games with them as well. My coming in is kind of like the President of the United States when he comes in with new administration and that does not mean the Secretary of Defense wasn't very good at what he'd done, but he got things in line in a way in which he believes and people that maybe he has worked with before that he is comfortable with. So you make adjustments accordingly. That is what happened in our situation. Larry (Coyer) is a guy that I have known for a long time and I have certainly been a guy that respected his work and felt that he is what we needed. Thus we made a change and our defense is kind of like a work in progress. We think we need to get better every week and he is a great teacher and a great motivator and we think that we are moving in the right direction. Ray (Rychleski) on the other hand worked with me two years at Penn State and eight years at Wake Forest together. It has been a 10-year relationship with him, so I knew what I was getting, a guy that is extremely enthusiastic about his job. He loves it. He spends an inordinate amount of time in terms of preparation but he also has such a great passion for it that it is contagious. Those two guys bring a lot of energy, a lot of knowledge and expertise to those particular areas that they are responsible for.
(on the key to winning consistently in this league)
Every year is different, but we have I think a system in place in terms of the way in which we practice, but let's not discount the fact that this is a player's game and we have had good players. I think when you couple all of those things together with some continuity that has certainly given us the opportunity to be good each year.
(on Dwight Freeney's status)
He played well last week in a limited role, but he played well. We anticipate that he will ramp it up a little more this coming week, but we think he feels pretty good.
(on Tennessee on tape and whether it doesn't match their 0-4 start)
No question, when you look at them in terms of talent level and what they are able to do from a physical standpoint. They have a defense that can get after you. Their front four is tough. The linebacking core is one of the best around. They have a good solid secondary, (Nick) Harper and (Cortland) Finnegan on the corners and (Chris) Hope and (Michael) Griffin at the safeties. It is a hard-nosed group. If you look at them offensively, maybe the most electrifying back in all of the league in (Chris) Johnson that can run and get after you. A good change up in LenDale White and obviously a fine quarterback. I think they have some big receivers, 6-3, 6-4. (Kenny) Britt's a tall guy who can get going. (Justin) Gage is a big guy also. He's got some speed. Then you look at Nate Washington who can spread the field. Excellent tight ends in (Bo) Scaife and Crumpler who's been around this league for a long time is a quality player and a good offensive line. All the way across the board, all we see is a great team with talent, good offense and defense, and then also a real solid kicking game. We know as we look at them on film, that they're a team that you better get ready to play because they're tough and hardnosed, and can certainly create havoc.
(on how challenging it is to play a team that is 0-4 that had high expectations at the beginning of the season)
I think that every game we play is one that the team we're playing is going to be extremely fired-up and energetic and ready to go. That's what you have in this league. You have a bunch of competitive men that love to play the game. As soon as that whistle blows, you better be ready to get after it for 60 minutes. We're not approaching it any differently than that. This is a team we know, a division foe and it's a great rivalry. We know we've got to be ready to play.
(on if Peyton Manning already knows everything about football
I would say this, he does not approach it that way where he knows it all and he understands it and he's just status quo. No, he approaches it like he's trying to get better every single day, every single meeting, every single snap of the ball in practice. He strives to perfect it and he never grows tired of that. That's the thing that makes him so unusual where you'll find guys that have been around his length of time he's been in this league and say, 'Hey, I don't need this particular part of practice, or I don't need to work on fundamentals.' He is just the opposite. I'm telling you, he works as hard as anybody I've ever seen and that's the difference. He has talent, he has ability, he has the intellect and he has an extreme work ethic in terms of preparation. He doesn't grow tired of it, he's just constantly working to get better. That's why he such an unusual guy.
(on if he thinks Peyton Manning knows it all but he just doesn't act like it)
He knows a lot, but he doesn't act that way nor will you ever hear him make that comment, nor will I. That's just not the way he functions. He's a guy that although he may know a particular play that we have in terms of all the nuances, but he's going to take notes as if it's the first time he's ever heard it. That's how he lives. He's certainly been able to excel as a result of it.
(on if Tony Ugoh will end up in the lineup this year)
Yes, it certainly can happen. Last week he was slowed by a little bit of a knick and so that was really the only reason he didn't dress last week. This week we anticipate he's going to be an integral part of our preparation and he continues to get better. The thing he's done and he's accepted the challenge, kind of look at the situation he's in and try to find a way to get better. He's been doing that every week.
(on if Tony Ugoh's knick landed him on the injury report)
No, we decided to rest him a little bit. He didn't come back quite as much as we'd thought. We just decided not to dress him at that time.