Colts Wide Receiver Talks Playoffs
Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne recorded his sixth consecutive 1,000 -yard season in 2009, tied for the most among active NFL receivers. The Colts wideout quietly has taken his place as one of the premier receivers in the NFL, leading the league in receptions and receiving yards since 2004. The nine-year veteran has started 113 consecutive games and has teamed with QB-Peyton Manning for 61 touchdowns, most among active quarterback-receiver duos. This week, Wayne talked about preparing for Saturday's playoff encounter with the Baltimore Ravens.
Q: Why do you think this year will be different from 2005?
A: "Because it's a whole different year. It's a different feel. There's nothing we can do about that. All we can focus on is the Baltimore Ravens right now. We don't have a crystal ball, can't rewind time, don't have a time machine. The only thing we can do is focus on the task at hand, and that's get ready for this week against a good Ravens team."
Q: What needs to happen to have success against Baltimore's defense?
A: "Basically, the type of game like they had against New England, how they started off fast, that's kind of what we need to do. We need to play fast, play physical, because they are a physical bunch. We're going to have to match their intensity. They beat a good New England team, so they are going to have a little swagger to them. We're going to have to match their intensity, play the same way they play and may the best team win."
Q: You and tight end Dallas Clark seem to consistently play well in the playoffs, why is that?
A: "I think it's just that we're not ready to go home. We've been here long enough. We've had a lot of close games, a lot of playoff games. We just understand what a playoff game really is and what it really means, as well as a lot of guys on this team. So, we've got a lot of guys that have been through it before, and they can kind of relay that message to the younger guys and hopefully they can catch on like we did. It just goes with the territory. We're the old heads around here, so we just understand it differently than a lot of the younger guys do."
Q: Do you think the team has learned more from early playoff exits in 2005, 2007 and 2008 or from 2006 when the team won the Super Bowl?
A: "I think all of the above. I think every year has its own identity. Each year you learn stuff, and you want to bring things you learned that year with you to the next year. There (are) also things you want to leave (behind) that you don't want to carry on. I think you learn stuff from each year. I even learned stuff from 2001 when we didn't go to the playoffs. I think you take every year that you get that experience and use it to your advantage."
Q: What's the biggest thing you've learned from previous playoff experiences?
A: "Just make sure that you show up. That's the main thing. Don't go out there and look like you haven't played a game in six months. As long as you can just go out there and play football and play all four quarters, somewhere in there you'll have the opportunity to win the game. Obviously, turnovers will kill you, so if you can minimize that and keep it as close as possible, you'll have a shot at the end, and that's all you can ask for."
Q: How much confidence do you have in the Colts ability to come back from any deficit based on how many times the team has come from behind this season?
A: "You use all that stuff. We've won different ways my whole career. We've come from behind seven times this year. That's good experience. We look at it as, no matter how many points you're down, you're never out, just keep fighting. Do what you can to give yourself the opportunity to come back, and hopefully get the win. Being able to win in all ways of the game is key, and we've been saying that throughout the year. We can use those instances where we had to come from behind to our advantage. It just shows the toughness and resilience of the type of team we have. Hopefully, we won't need it, but you never know. If need be, we know how to use it and play along with it."
Q: What do you think the benefit of playing the starters getting against each other in practice is?
A: "Last week, it was one against ones, but one thing about it, it was fun. We had fun last week. Guys were flying around. We had three great practices. We got a nice sweat going. One thing about it was we practiced early and got out of the building early. We got some good quality work done. Guys that were kind of banged up from weeks prior, who hadn't been practicing, were out there practicing. So, it was good to see those guys out there. We felt like we wanted to work on some things we needed to work on that we weren't doing well throughout the year, and we were able to capitalize on those things. It kind of gave you the training camp mode going up against the ones, and whenever you're in training camp everybody is flying around and everybody is happy. I really felt like last week helped us out a lot. Hopefully, we can carry it over to the game this weekend and use it to our advantage."
Q: Is this a new philosophy or has the team practiced like this before?
A: "From what I can remember, we did, but not as much. I mean all three days it was ones-on-ones, twos-on-twos, so we went up against the best that we had, and that's always a good look. You really had to dial in and focus in on what was going on. I really felt like it helped us out. Everybody was fresh, everybody was eager to get out there. Hopefully, we can use it to our advantage."
Q: The Ravens have had some turnover in the defensive backfield this season. What are your thoughts on the Baltimore secondary?
A: "One thing about the Ravens secondary, they're not going to show you that they are weak in any form of the game. Whenever a guy goes down another guy goes in, and it's almost like they're on the same heartbeat. They aren't going to lack any confidence, I can tell you that. They are a good group. Obviously, Ed Reed is their captain back there, and he does a good job of getting those guys together and getting them playing together at the same pace. I don't think it matters who is out there. They are still going to go out there and play with a swagger, and they are going to go out there and play all four quarters and give you their best shot. We really have to have our best foot forward, and hopefully we can get some plays against them."
Q: You and Baltimore safety Ed Reed are close and talk often, correct?
A: "We probably talk about three times a week, which is probably too much time. I mean, we're brothers. We consider ourselves brothers. We're both from New Orleans, four years of seeing his face in college, roommates. We talk all the time, whether it's football or what's going on at home, his family, my family. We just talk about everything. We talk about three times a week, probably spend about 30 minutes on the phone each time. I'll be sure to not use my anytime minutes. I consider him family. We talk all the time, just talk about whatever. We talked this week. I have to take him out this week. Whenever we go to Baltimore he has to take me out, (and) whenever they come to Indianapolis I have to take him out."
Q: You and Ed had an incident with one of your pets.
A: "You want to bring that up? He killed my snake. He neglected my snake. My rookie year, I came here and I left my snake with him, and he was supposed to take care of him. I thought he was taking care of him. My off week I went home and my snake was a little sick. So, I had to nourish him and get him back going. I got him back going, came back to Indianapolis to finish the season off, right around the end of season, which was a long season already. I got a text message that said—my snake's name was Law—it said, 'Hey man, Law's dead.' So, that's pretty much how it went. That was a wrap. It was a Green Burmese Python. He was supposed to reimburse me with a new snake. I haven't received it yet. I'm glad you brought it up because I'll be sure to remind him when I see him."
Q: Why was Ed such a bad caretaker for the snake?
A: "I don't know. I mean I was feeding him every two or three days. He got spoiled. You get spoiled. That's like if I don't feed you after you've eaten everyday, you get weak. That's kind of how it was. He had his days when he would love to play with him, and he had his days when he was scared of him. I guess that's how it went. It didn't work out in Law's favor, I can tell you that."