Caldwell: They Are Playing As Well As Ever

AP/Charlie Riedel

Jim Caldwell spoke to the media Tuesday about the Colts' first-round playoff game with the New York Jets. See what he had to say about the Jets' running attack, their special teams, the personality of head coach Rex Ryan, and much more!

On the difference between the Jets this year compared to last year with the changes in personnel:

"There are still a lot of similarities obviously. They were a tough defensive team that played extremely hard and played well last year. They covered you well and with DB-(Antonio) Cromartie, it just gets a bit better obviously. (He is) a very talented guy whom we have had some experience with. We have seen him through the years. He can run, he can defend, and you know he is rangy. There are a lot of similarities. The same cast of characters is still back and they are playing as well as ever."

On QB Peyton Manning's turnaround from the three-game stretch where he ‘struggled':

"I think oftentimes what happens to quarterbacks obviously is just that old adage is ‘when you win you get too much credit and when you lose you get too much blame,' and some of the interceptions were not necessarily his problem. I think where a lot of people looked at it and thought he was playing poorly, it wasn't a function of him and him alone. There are a lot of things that go into it. In our eyes he wasn't playing as poorly as I think you all surmise. So he did not have a whole lot of correcting to do from that standpoint except from the fact that he has always been good, he has always been productive. I think his numbers indicate that he is still as productive as anyone else, and what he did was what he always does. He focused in on what he is doing, he took his time and if there were things he needed to get corrected, he certainly is probably tougher on himself than anyone else and he was able to get that done. He did not have as far to come as I think some of you all would like to think."

On the new overtime rules for the playoffs and the impact it may have:

"Obviously, that remains to be seen, but it certainly does give a team an opportunity if a team goes down and kicks a field goal. You have an opportunity to get the ball back and go score one way or another. So that is going to change the dynamics a little bit. It will make you think about whether you will go for it on fourth down in some situations or try a long field goal. So some of those things will come up, but I think depending upon how the game has been going, how you feel about your team, what the situation may require, I think it will make it rather interesting."

On if he gets a kick out of Rex Ryan and if he agrees with Tony Dungy's position on Ryan:

"He is who he is. He is authentic, that's for sure, and I very rarely judge anybody. I learned that a long time ago. Everybody has their own personality and thus they have to live by it and that's what he does."

On if Ryan says things other coaches wish they could say: "I have never felt that way. If there is something I want to say, I'll say it. I've never had that inclination. I've had some of my favorite interviews though. Shaquille O'Neal is probably my favorite because he is entertaining, along with he pretty much says what he wants as well, but if a guy is authentic, he is who he is and everybody else just has to live with it."

On Jets RB Shonn Greene being like other backs the Colts have faced:

"Obviously he is highly productive like a lot of backs we've seen, but he is more of a powerful, brutish runner. He is one of those guys who runs extremely well behind his pads. He can wear you down. He is just as strong at the end of the game as he was at the beginning of the game and seems to be getting stronger. He is more of a power runner than what we've faced in recent times."

On if the Jets alternating of Greene and RB LaDainian Tomlinson is situational or based on series:

"I think they do a little bit of both. I'm sure it is just what they feel they can get done in a particular ballgame against a particular team and a defensive scheme, but you can see Tomlinson is having an extraordinary year. He has got new life. He is running very well. He is a huge, huge threat catching the ball out of the backfield. He is just so multi-faceted, and you couple that with his experience, he is really a tough, tough guy to handle.

On the challenges this season presented versus previous seasons:

"Every year is a little different and every year has its own set of challenges. There is no such thing as anything easy, and the NFL is not synonymous. It is very difficult even when things are going relatively well. When you look at it overall, even the teams that are winning and winning quite a bit and are in that 12-14 game sort of area, you have won a lot of close games to get there, very close games by a field goal here or there. That in and of itself presents some difficulty. This year for us was just the fact of the matter that we had a stretch or two where we were not able to string victories back-to-back. We were rather up and down and pretty inconsistent. So that is what we really had to fight, being more consistent, becoming more sound in what we did from a fundamental standpoint, and we had some young guys to work into some spots and get some production out of. We didn't always do as well as maybe we should have in some cases."

On simplification being all the more important now that the team has reached the playoffs:

"I think so because speed and simplicity has kind of been the thing that we have been preaching here maybe the last four to five weeks and really tried to make sure that we did not complicate things, because maybe one of the things I think is an asset of ours is the fact that we have a number of guys on our team that can run, and so we do not want to inhibit them in any way, shape or form. I think going into the playoffs, that is a very, very important ingredient. You have to be able to go and not think. You have to be able to play fast because you are going to be required to do so because you are facing guys that are the best at what they do. That's what makes the playoffs so interesting."

On how to game plan for the Jets return game:

"I think it boils down to us doing our job, doing what we are supposed to do. Every week here the last four weeks we've faced an outstanding return man. There is not a week that goes by that we are not going to see someone back there that is very, very capable of going the distance each and every time they catch the ball, be it punt returns or kickoff returns. This game is no different, but the way in which we approach those things is that we just make certain that we tell our guys; do your job, don't get knocked out of your lane, make certain you establish your position, make certain that you can make the tackle, you are in position to make the tackle and those are the things we do. They are very, very basic. We do not try to come up with any elaborate schemes or anything of that nature. Fundamentals kind of rule the day."

On if there is a chance to get LB Clint Session back this week:

"Not real sure. He is going to practice out there today a little bit and we'll see what happens."

On if the Colts plan to put starters out on special teams as they have done in years past:

"We are what we are in that sense. There may be a spot or two that we could do that in, but it's probably not going to be a prevailing sort of an attitude for us or a prevailing adjustment that we are going to consider strongly. We have been and always have, at least in my couple of years here, we've put a lot of guys who are starters in those positions doing different things for us, so that's not going to change, and I think that is not going to be a real big change for us in terms of going to the playoffs."

On DB Kelvin Hayden's and DL Dan Muir's status:

"Not real sure yet."

On if he has spoken to new Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier:

"I have. He's excited, to say the least. I had a chance, I spoke with him last night for a little bit and he's going to do a great job there. He is a sharp guy that I think does a tremendous job of communicating, and he's certainly looking forward to the great challenge ahead of him. He is working with a great organization with great people and he has been waiting for this opportunity for quite some time. So he is certainly quite happy the time has come."

On giving tips to Frazier:

"No, you know, I can't give him very many tips. He can ask me a question or two that I might be able to answer because he and I were in a similar situation. We were there. He was there four years, I was here eight years or so, and so that has its own advantages and its own disadvantages. So we talked about those things a little bit."

On if he has heard from Tony Dungy this week:

"Have not spoken with him yet. (I) Typically do about this time mid-week or so."

On if Dungy is going to pick the Colts to win:

"I'm not certain, but what he will do is answer the question honestly, that's for sure."


Talk about it in our Insider's Forum!

Follow ColtPower's updates on Twitter!

ColtsBlitz.com Recommended Stories