SITTING DOWN WITH CALDWELL

A question-answer session with Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell, who this week finished his first organized team activities session in his new position. Caldwell discussed several issues around the Colts and looked ahead to the regular season.

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Questions and Answers with Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell

Questions and answers with Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell . . .

Question: You've wrapped up organized team activities, which means the next major step is training camp. How much more prepared do you feel right now than maybe six weeks ago?

Answer: I think we've come a good distance. Often times, you kind of measure it by your young players that had not had any previous experience within the system. The older guys know it. They're adjusting to the new things we put in, the little wrinkles here and there. They've adjusted to those, but I really feel when you look at those younger players if you make a determination that they're making fewer mistakes than they were when they first walked in the door, that they do have a grasp and understanding of your system – if the schematics of your system are readily applied by them and not slowly but rapidly, then I think you've made some headway. And that's what I feel.

Q: The topic of the offseason is the defense – tweaks, changes, etc. From your perspective, how would you best explain where the defense stands?

A: Let me put it this way: there's not anything we're doing we haven't done previously. Everything within our arsenal always has been the same. We may be working on some little tweaks here and there, but we're still four down linemen, three linebackers, four deep. Our base is four-three with a Tampa 2 in terms of our coverage. We still are the same team in that sense. Don't expect to come out and see some brand-new scheme that's totally different than what we've done before.

Q: So, when you have two Pro Bowl ends you don't move them to cornerback?

A: Those guys (Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney), what they do best is they put their hand on the ground and rush the passer. They can stop the run and they hustle and those kinds of things, but those are two outstanding players at their position.

Q: But as you've mentioned, there will be an adjustment period with any new coordinator.

A: Much like me, he (new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer) has to get a sense of the things he's comfortable with within our system. Some, he may use a little less of and some he may use a little more of. It just depends on his comfort level.

Q: The other major offseason topic has been offensive line. The linemen have been vocal that they feel they have to improve from last season . . .

A: I think it's huge. It has to be solidified. It has to improve in terms of the running game. I think that's imperative. Obviously when you look at us and look at that area,that's one where we were lacking. It's not a situation where we're going to be able to go out and throw the ball every down. You can't do that in this league. You're not going to be able to survive without controlling the line of scrimmage and that's what the run game does. So, yes, that's imant, but we have some guys who are hopefully getting a little healthier. The other part of it that can't be discounted is we did have some younger players playing in that line last year. Often times, if you go through hardships all of a sudden the next year you say, 'We were much better because of that.' We have more depth. We've developed more depth. No one's timid about putting a young guy in the game who has had an immense amount of experience. It's two-fold. You might suffer a bit when you're going through it, but in the long run, you come out. You get (offensive guard Ryan) Lilja back – now all of a sudden you have some experience and some depth and we think we can develop into a real formidable front.

Q: You can't go a day it seems without someone asking about running back Joseph Addai. Assess him, if you will. What do you see from him?

A: I think you'll see him come along and develop. He's going through a process right now of getting things back to where he feels good and comfortable. He had a few things clinged up here and there, but overall, you're going to see: Joe's going to have a fine year.

Q: You're putting a bow on the offseason. Anything surprise you the last couple of months and how do you feel moving forward?

A: It's about what I expected. I can tell you this: last year, when I had the opportunity to move into a position as an associate head coach, what (former Colts Head Coach) Tony (Dungy) would do every once in a while is he would walk into my office and bring something in. Maybe it would be a letter from a fan, or maybe a request for a speaking engagement. On some of them, he'd ask me, 'Hey, do you want to do this one?' I did a few for him here and there, but the others may have been something else. He'd say, 'Take a look at this. This is what you're going to have to get ready for.' He gave me a little taste of a number of things that I'm facing right now. At least I had a chance to think and say, 'What would I do? How would I handle this situation?' Sometimes I'd go back to him and say, 'OK, I've got it. This is how I would handle it. What do you think about that?' Or I'd ask him, 'How did you handle that? Why did you handle it that way?' So, that certainly helped, and there's nothing that really jumped out me.

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