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Jim Caldwell Jan. 14 Quotes

  HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on his decision to hire Frank Reich as quarterbacks coach) “We had an opportunity to see Frank here on a couple of different occasions.

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on his decision to hire Frank Reich as quarterbacks coach)

"We had an opportunity to see Frank here on a couple of different occasions.  He came and worked during the fall, during our training camp, where we give some internships to guys who are interested in coaching, guys who are ex-players.  Also, he came back and worked with us during the spring, during our OTAs, etc. Obviously, I had a chance to watch him operate within the meeting room structure and also the duties he was responsible for out on the field. He handled them extremely well.  Very attentive, smart. All the things you would anticipate, the unique qualities, of the guys who played the quarterback position in this league and played for so long and so well.  He epitomized all of those things in terms of his body of work he put forth with us."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on the relationship between Peyton Manning and Reich)

"I think they have an unbelievable amount of respect for one another.  Both have spent a lot of time in this game, and I do think they find a lot more common ground than one might think. They understand, I think, the rigors of the position, the demands of the position. I think the two of them operate very well together. One of the things about this league that is important for everybody to understand, all across the board, not just at the quarterback position ... oftentimes you have to check your ego at the door when you're dealing (with players). Your job is to get the best out of them. Sometimes doing that is getting out of their way. I think there's a delicate balance there, always in coaching."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on how he has changed as the season has progressed)

"I'm not sure there were any huge shifts, certainly none in terms of personality, none in terms of the way in which I've worked my entire life. I don't think there was much of a shift there. Obviously, anytime you're involved in something so challenging, it does require maybe a bit more focus and energy just in terms of managing a team and personalities. It's been a lot of fun."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on the toughest thing he's had to do this season)

"Anytime that you're in a position where you are dealing with someone's future – anytime you have to release someone for whatever reason – that's probably the toughest thing. Obviously, when you look at that person, you're not just seeing the individual as an employee. You're looking at someone who has a family, someone who people depend on. Sometimes things happen where you have not a whole lot of control because circumstances just require you to take certain actions. That's probably the toughest thing. I'm not certain you'll ever get accustomed to that. I don't want to ever get used to it. I don't want to ever become insensitive.  I do have compassion; I do have empathy. But nevertheless I have a job to do and that's probably one of the tougher parts of my job."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on the biggest thing he learned from his predecessor, Tony Dungy)

"It's probably one thing that I think he did a tremendous job of throughout his coaching career.  When I first went to work for him at Tampa, they had fired us. I walked into his office and told him, hey, I was sorry about what happened. He apologized to me because I had just gotten there literally and he was kind of feeling sorry for me in that kind of situation.  But it was a great experience for me then. I told him that I used to think I had poise until I met him. I used to think I had a sense of self-control until I met him. I used to think I was somewhat unflappable until I met him. There a lot of things he does that there's no way I can emulate because it's just not my character. But there are some things that come very naturally to me. But the biggest thing, I think overall, that I probably learned from him is one thing he told me one day. In terms of making decisions, etc., he said, 'It's not about me.' Oftentimes, head coaches really try and draw a line in the sand sometimes and you pound on the podium and sort of demonstrate your control with certain actions. He never wanted to step out into the spotlight where it became about him. It was all about the team. And I think I've tried to keep that going. I think some of that is natural for me. I don't seek publicity or anything of that nature. Not that I'm not comfortable with it. I just think there are more important things going on around here than what I do. I think the guys who play this game are the ones who make the difference."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on whether the decision to rest some players in the final two weeks of the season was his toughest as a coach)

"I will answer this, and I want you to kind of see it in the spirit of what we're dealing with here.  My answer to that is no. The reason is because I think all decisions are not easy.  But it's not the toughest one I made throughout the year. I think, all in all, we have to do what we think is in the best interest of the football team. Most important are the guys who play this game and putting them in the best position to have an opportunity to win it all."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on his current relationship with Dungy)

"I do speak to him probably once a week, more often via text maybe, not necessarily direct conversation.  We certainly communicate, but he's also a friend, so a lot of our conversations may not have anything to do with football at all. Or it may be something about a broader issue that may not deal with the NFL. It may be a family issue that we're discussing. Also, I use him as a source of information. I've said this before, but I'll reiterate it. There are not many times in your life that you are going to take over a position that's been operating at a very, very high level and you're going to have direct access to the person who helped create it and knows your situation intimately. Not only that, he's probably been through everything that you're going through and can give you sound feedback. I use him as a sounding board. I think I would be maybe a bit arrogant if I didn't. I'm not certain I'd be very smart if I didn't."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on what he's most proud of as a team and individually this season)

"As a team, I think it's how our guys play.  They find ways to win. They're extremely resourceful. They fight to the bitter end. We've won some games through the year that are absolutely incredible, great comebacks. The fighting spirit of this team is one thing I'm very, very proud of. That would probably be the most important thing overall. "

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (answering a followup question about what he's proud of individually)

"I think the real key is what you do this time of year.  That's the difference. I think that's how everybody is judged in this league. I'd like to be judged that exact same way. Can you get your team to the biggest game and vie for the most coveted trophy there is in professional team sports? And can you win it – not just get there, but can you win it? But the road, obviously, to getting there is tough. First things first; we have a real tough challenge ahead of us this weekend."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on any concern he would have about receiver Pierre Garcon and his focus level for this game. Garcon has a number of relatives in earthquake-ravaged Haiti)

"It's very difficult. His situation, with so many family members there, not really knowing the exact situation, the health of  his uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc., it's difficult. Pierre is very, very mentally tough. But I think for the toughest guys mentally, that's going to be a real challenge. God willing, he's a guy with a strong constitution, and hopefully he'll get some good word and communication that would maybe relieve him of some of his fears."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on how he changed after moving up from assistant to head coach)

"As an assistant coach, it's a day-to-day thing.  You're constantly involved on one side of the ball. Your focus is very narrow, at least I've always kept a narrow focus. I've never been one of those guys where you coach a position and you try to coach everybody else's position and run the team as well. I've never been that guy. I've always focused in on: I have to do my job as well as I possibly can and give it all my energy. The difference is that you are a lot more focused on that particular area and getting your guys well prepared. As a head coach, it has to be a broader vision. I sit in on special teams meetings, I sit in on offensive meetings, I sit in on defensive meetings. All across the board, I have an opportunity to kind of lend whatever little advice from time to time. And I do stick my nose in there once in a while. But I let the coaches to their job. That's what they're here for. They're good at it. I trust them. That's where it has changed. You have a bit more of a broader scope, not necessarily tied into one area day to day; kind of scratch where it itches."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on his vibe heading into the game Saturday)

"Our three practices last week were as fine as I think we've had for this time of year.  The last two practices have been excellent. I think from a physical standpoint we're in great shape. I think from a mental standpoint our guys are well prepared. I think our guys will be ready to go. But we certainly have been pleased with our preparation."

HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on whether he thinks his team might be peaking at the right time)

"Yeah, I do. Here's the thing you have to understand. When Tony first came here, I remember him making this statement after we had practiced a few days. He told the squad, 'You guys practice so well.' He credited coach (Jim) Mora with the way he had established the work ethic, how things were in place (because of team president Bill Polian's influence). The ethos of this place is a work-related, blue-collar type of atmosphere with a bunch of elite athletes, which is highly uncommon. Through that entire time period, we've always been really good in terms of our practices, and I think that's why we've had some measure of success. Last week we had maybe the best three practices we've ever had. I think that's one thing that lets you know that there is still more there. This is a great time of year to pull all of that together, because you have to. Everything is accentuated. Everything is faster. Your mistakes become larger. You have to be at your best this time of year. So this is a great time for us to do what I see we're doing on the practice field. Now, we have to carry it to the game."

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