During the Colts' conference call this week, safety Bob Sanders talked about the Patriots and their ongoing rivalry, the improvement in the Indy defense, playing the AFC Championship at home, and much more!
(on the difference with the defense in these last couple of games, especially
against the run)
"I think it's attitude, everyone being passionate about it, wanting to go
out and win and wanting to be the team where we don't have to really rely on our
offense. And I think everyone has done a great job. We know what type of
defense we are. We know we can play well. It's just when it was going to be the
week we'll step it up and actually just do the things we need to do. And I think
we just kind of picked it up postseason.
(on drawing motivation from all the talk of being bad against the run)
"...You just don't listen to it. You're going to get criticized if you are
the last team in the league rush defense wise. And we didn't really worry about
it. We knew that we just had to focus on getting better every week and
practicing well and keep on preparing like we have been all year and things will
turn around for us."
(on whether or not things are set up too perfectly now versus previous runs
at the Super Bowl or if it's still a battle)
"I think it's a battle. We definitely have some tough opponents, definitely
a tough opponent this week and we've just got to keep working and get better. As
long as we're in the details, everyone is doing their job. I definitely think
we'll be fine."
(on how the Colts defense got it's attitude back)
"I mean just knowing in the playoffs it's do or die. If you lose you go
home. You win, you keep going. And we know that. We came from last year like I
said everything was set up perfectly for us. Everyone was saying and you know it
just didn't work out. We know if we had ever gotten an opportunity again to say
we have to make sure we do everything we can to keep on winning, and we needed
our defense to step up and guys to make plays and I think we've been able to do
(on if this is a special rivalry for the Colts)
"It is. I think it's big for both sides. We're two competitive teams coming
in. We're back and forth on a win/lose streak. And it's exciting knowing that
they're going to come here, they're going to play tough. They're going to give
us their 'A game' and it will be a challenge for us. And we're looking forward
to it. We're excited about it and I'm pretty sure they are as well.
(on preparing for Patriots QB Tom Brady)
"He's a great quarterback. Real poised. He doesn't panic at all. He makes a
lot of plays down the field. He has good receivers to get the ball to him. He
spreads the ball around. So he's not a selfish guy. They're not a selfish team.
They all play together, and I think he's a great, great leader, and he takes his
team and they follow behind him and he keeps it moving."
(on whether the familiarity with New England helps with preparation)
"It's just like any other week. You can't really pinpoint anything to say
you know they're going to do this. You just have to game plan as much as you
can. Watch as much film as you can to get a good look at them. But you never
know. They could come in with a totally different game plan. So you just
have to prepare for the worst and you know hope for the best that things turn
out the way you planned it in the game plan is on point."
(on whether playing at home in a dome makes a difference for Indy)
"Playing at home is, I mean you couldn't ask for a better opportunity to
come back in and play at home with your fans, your crowd. That also helps. I
think everything plays a big part into it. I think we are a little bit better in
our record at home this year shows that we do play a little bit faster. We play
better and we play well together. It's just something that we won't worry about
it. We're at home. We won't take them lightly. We've just got to make sure we
continue to do the things we need to do."
(on facing New England RBs Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney)
They're both good runners. Maroney is a fast guy. Dillon has very deceptive
speed. They're very strong, they both have great balance ... they can run
downhill, sometimes when they get outside they can run to the corner and get
around you and break your leverage. We've just got to attack. We have to make
sure we swarm the ball, you know, just try to get them down when we can. If we
have opportunities to make great plays we've got to make those plays when they
give us the opportunity."
(on having Adam Vinatieri on the team)
"It's great. He's a guy who has been in this situation many times and has
won games for his team. It's nothing new to him. He's just a veteran. He's a
leader. He's just a great guy to be around in the locker room and it's just good
that we have him on our team now. And he's reliable. You can rely on him at any
(on Peyton Manning being ready after having two games where he hasn't
performed as well as usual)
"They'll be ready. I'm not sure exactly what the game plan will be. But
they're going to be ready. We have to. It's a must this week. And we are just
going to keep working. I'm pretty sure that they're excited about it on the
other side. And we're excited as well."
(on being patient and maintaining composure while working his way back from
his knee injury)
"Just never giving up, never losing faith. Knowing that things will get
better. It's kind of hard to start off. But after a few weeks I kind of realize
that it was going to be a thing that I was going to deal with all season. And I
just had to be patient. Patience is the main thing. And I think I was able to be
patient and now that I've worked myself back in, I'm comfortable. And I feel
(on being compared to Patriots safety Rodney Harrison as a player who sets
the tone for the defense)
| Colts safety Bob Sanders is congratulated after an interception (Andy Lyons/Getty Images) |
"...He's definitely a great player and has made a lot of plays in this
league and helped his team in many ways. So you know that's definitely a
compliment for people to compare us and say we play alike, that's a good thing.
He's a good player."
(on preparing for a Patriots team that mixes their game plan from week to
"You watch as much as film as you can. You hope your game plan works the
way you planned it out. But sometimes it's not that way. Sometimes they'll come
up with a totally different scheme and you've got to adjust. But I'm
pretty sure we'll have a great game plan. And the coaches have done a great job
this year making sure that we're ready and we know everything that's going on.
(on Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson accusing the Patriots of being classless
in their game last week)
"I think they're all well coached. They're not selfish. They play hard.
They know how to win. They have a lot of veteran guys who have been around a
while. And it's up to a team to win a lot of games and a lot of championships.
So I don't really have much to say about that. I think they are a good team and
they're well coached."
(on what it's going to take for the Colts to go to the Super Bowl)
"Just doing what we do. Playing hard. Playing fast. Playing smart. And
playing aggressive with a lot of passion.
(on if the team feels they have to beat the Patriots in the postseason to get
that monkey off their backs)
"Monkey on our back, we don't even worry about that. That's a lot of talk
from everyone else saying it's a monkey on your back, because you need to beat
them in the postseason, whatever. I mean it doesn't really matter. We don't
worry about that. This is a great opportunity for us and we're just going to
keep moving forward trying to get better and hopefully play well enough to win.
But we're not really worried about getting a monkey off our back. I mean every
week is a tough week. So we just need to keep doing the things that we do.
(on what he expects to see from Peyton Manning this week)
"I expect a lot of leadership. I know he's excited about it and he's been
in this situation before. So it's nothing new. You know it's making sure
everyone stays on the details. Everyone is doing their job and the leadership
that we have around here is excellent. I mean we've got a lot of guys here who
has been in the situation and know what it's like. So they're going to be, you
know, the energy is going to come from them. Those guys are going to be moving
around and making plays in practice and making sure everyone is doing what
they're supposed to do. So the younger guys just have to follow their lead and
keep moving forward."
(on if Manning is feeling pressure, but the defense's play is helping relieve
"He might be getting pressure. I'm pretty sure he is. But I don't think it
will bother him at all one bit. This is another game. This is another
opportunity. This is a great opportunity. So I'm not sure the pressure will
bother him at all. It's just, you know, how well you're playing and it starts with
practice and preparation."
(on the key to stopping New England's offense)
"Just being on the details. You know, they do a lot of things as far as if
... you give them opportunities or if you're not where you're supposed to be, if
one guy is not here and one guy is not doing their job, I mean Brady is the type
of guy where he can hurt you and he'll exposure weaknesses. So we just got to
make sure we're on the details and we focus in on what we need to get
(on trying to stop TE Ben Watson)
"It also depends on what you're in, what coverages you're in and how you
need to handle it. So I'm pretty sure our coaches will have a great game plan as
far as that. And we'll look into it and get things done this week to make sure
we know where we need to be.
(on rookie safety Antoine Bethea)
"I mean, all around he's just done a great job. He's handled the pressure
well. I know coming in as a rookie is tough going out there and playing like
right away and he came and ended up playing right away right after camp. So I'm
pretty sure it's been tough for him. But he's handled it as well as anybody that
I know who has done it. So he's done a great job, made a lot of plays. Helped us
out, made it a lot better this year."