Questions and Answers with Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell
Questions and answers with Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell . . .
Question: You're entering your second year as the head coach of the Colts. You were an assistant under Head Coach Tony Dungy for seven years before that, so there were similarities, but what about this season? Is there anything different as you enter Year 2?
Answer: No. It's challenging. It's as tasking as it was last year, and it's exciting as it was last year as well. There's not a whole lot different. I learned a lesson when I was at Wake Forest (as head coach from 1993-2000). I did an unbelievable amount of speaking engagements. It was an unusual number – in excess of 200, that I know for sure. Often times, you would do an afternoon, then an evening. You'd go to Atlanta and do the Atlanta Touchdown Club in the afternoon, then the Macon (Ga.) Touchdown Club at night, so there were a number of things like that. Well, I said, 'OK, because this is the first year,' well, the second year was about the same and the third year was exactly the same. I realized very quickly in positions like this it's the way it is. Consistently, it's demanding and people are always looking for your time and a lot of time-worthy causes – a lot of charities and things like that. Literally, I can fill my calendar with worthy events. Obviously, we also have to do our job as well.
Q: Around the Colts, a common off-season theme is how much players improve from Year One to Year Two in their careers. What about the head coach? Is the same true?
A: Obviously, experience kind of helps you just in terms of knowing what to expect, so that does give you a little bit. You can anticipate a little bit better. That doesn't mean things are going to go as smoothly, because obviously, there are so many unknowns. That's what you're trying to prepare to do, to be prepared for all situations.
Q: How big and exciting is this weekend for you? Obviously, there may be tweaks and alterations in the roster, but for the most part, the roster looks a lot like it will look come fall. Is that an exciting moment, that realization that, 'This is the team?'
A: It's an exciting time, but let me back up just a little bit. Our veteran players started their off-season program. I've been out watching them work on the field, in the weight room. The manner in which they go about conducting business – it's an unbelievable group of professionals that do just a great job of working extremely hard. They're very, very diligent about their work. They come in to improve every single day. We have some tremendous leaders who do a great job in setting a tone. I walked around and at one point, they were doing segment work by position. (Twelve-year veteran center) Jeff Saturday and (10-year veteran right tackle) Ryan Diem were leading the offensive linemen and (second-year veteran running back Donald Brown) was leading the backs because (fifth-year veteran) Joseph (Addai) wasn't out there at that time. (Thirteen-year veteran quarterback) Peyton (Manning) obviously had the quarterbacks and receivers, putting them through their paces. (Seventh-year veteran) Bob Sanders was obviously out there working. It's an unbelievable atmosphere. You can see very quickly why our guys have been so consistent over the years – because they work. When you couple that with the fact that we feel like we've had a very good draft and brought some more guys into the fold that are going to help us – they're our kind of people, that understand what winning is all about and they're guys who will learn and adapt to our culture – so it's an exciting time. And pretty soon here – May 16, or thereafter – we'll bring them all together. That's when it really gets rolling.
Q: You mentioned the approach to the off-season program: that's really the key to what has gone on around here, all the success, isn't it?
A: There's no question about it, the things guys work on in terms of the timing – particularly in our passing game. They're out there working on their accuracy, working on their timing, working on their route depth, working on their cuts and balance. Defensively, they're working on their strength, working on their speed, working on their angles, coverage responsibilities, things of that nature. All of those little things are the things that I think truly make a difference, because we hone our fundamentals and techniques. That's the basic rudiment of quality play. Our guys understand that, and they work at it every year.
Q: You would think logically that eventually some of these veteran guys would get tired of it, but you don't see that.
A: That's the amazing thing, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we have guys who are leaders, and they don't get bored with the routine. They enjoy it. You have to enjoy it to do it for as long as they have done it and to do it as often as they do it. They have a great love for it. They're passionate about it and it's a trickle-down effect. Young guys just fall in line.