Caldwell: This Week is a Big Game

Colts' head coach Jim Caldwell addressed the media Monday and talked about the team's win over Cincinnati and looked ahead to the upcoming game with bitter rival New England ...

On what was the most satisfying thing about Sunday's win:

"I think anytime that you have to deal with a bit of adversity, due to setbacks, injuries, things of that nature, see the guys come together and overcome those things is always a good feeling. I think that happened yesterday. You saw a number of new faces, guys that hadn't played a whole lot, most notably on defense with the linebacker corps that played, played extremely well, I think. We had (LB-Pat) Angerer in there, a young guy, who is just feeling his way through, missing (LB-Gary) Brackett and missing (LB-Clint) Session in there, but yet, the guys ran around. I thought they played extremely hard. I thought also that you saw a number of the veterans on defense step up. (DE-Dwight) Freeney and (DE-Robert) Mathis had some huge plays when they counted. Freeney, not only the sack, but also he caused that fumble towards the end of the game that (DB-Mike) Newton was able to recover. The interceptions, obviously, were huge. You get five turnovers in a ballgame, that's a big day, plus three sacks. I think those are the things that certainly give you a cause to pause and say, ‘Hey, these guys really stepped up.' Offensively, I think you can say the same thing even though we sputtered quite a bit, didn't get as many big plays as we like to have, but there were some young guys that stepped in and filled in their role. They might not have had dynamic games, but they still got the job done."

On if the expectation level for the younger players changes with the upcoming game against New England:

"It doesn't. It doesn't change at all. We take each opponent as they come. I haven't had a chance to talk to them as of yet because we won't see them until Wednesday, but when we do sit down and begin to talk we'll talk about them just like we talk about anybody else. They are a good team, arguably playing better than anybody else in the league at this point. We know we have to get ready and go play. It's a tough place to play, and it will be a challenge."

On if it is different playing New England:

"It's always been a huge rivalry because both teams, historically, have been playing extremely well whenever we met, so there was always a lot at stake. When you couple that with the fact that you have talented players on both sides and maybe one of the best coaches to ever coach the game, it serves to be a real challenge."

On if he has to guard the young players who have never been a part of a Colts-Patriots game before:

"I think a lot of them have grown to understand, and I think they will. Every week is a big game. This past game was huge for us. It was a big game. This week is a big game. Every week it looms a little larger."

On the decision to start LB Kavell Conner at weakside linebacker:

"It just depends on what personnel grouping might have been in and what we were looking at. It just depends on how they react. If they came out with nickel, you might get one group. If they came in base, you'd get another group. That's kind of how it worked."

On DB Kelvin Hayden playing better as the season goes on:

"He's doing what we anticipate happening during the course of the season. He just keeps getting better and better and better. Every week his comfort level seems to increase, and he's always around the ball making plays for us. I do see that. I do see the confidence level continuing to grow. His assertiveness, he's always been a tough, reckless guy, but I think you can start to see even his ball skills come into play as well. He used to be a receiver at one point in time. I think you can certainly see that when he gets an opportunity to get his hands on it, he usually completes the task."

On cornerbacks needing to have short memories and if it is tough to have one:

"For some people, I think it is. But you play that position at this level, you better get over it pretty quickly because you're going to face some good ones. You have to be a little bit of a riverboat gambler with a short memory. That's the saying I like to use. I think he (DB-Kelvin Hayden) does indeed show those characteristics."

On what happened on the 4th-and-2 play in the fourth quarter when the team got called for a false start:

"It was a false start. That's what happened. We actually wanted to run the clock down. We attempted to run the clock down and call a timeout with about a second left on the play clock. It didn't work out that way. We had a false start. I was in conversation and had my head turned a little bit talking to the official, telling the official, ‘Hey listen, when the clock gets down to one second, I want a timeout.' And he in turn, when I said to him, ‘Hey, I want a timeout when,' he heard, ‘I want a timeout,' and called timeout. It was kind of a strange little situation there that occurred."

On if when QB Peyton Manning gets under center he cannot back out:

"It depends on how you back out. You know he can back out because we go from gun to underneath all the time. I think it just depends on how and that's what they determined."

On if they stopped the clock before the penalty:

"It was almost one right after the other. I can't remember if the flag hit the ground before the timeout was called or not. Actually, the timeout was called just before because initially they asked me if I wanted a timeout. If I wanted a timeout, fine, then there is no penalty. That was the explanation. So, obviously the timeout must have come just before. It did (stop the clock) because they gave me a choice, but either one of them you have the same result (stopped clock), which you didn't want."

On parity in the NFL this season:

"Anything can happen. That is what it tells you. Everybody has a shot. I think whoever can get hot here and get on a roll obviously is going to be the team that get themselves in somewhat control. But the way this thing is going back and forth each and every week, it could go all the way up to week 14, 15, 16 before everything has been solidified in terms of the playoff race. What we have to do is take them one at a time, look at our next opponent and play and play well."

On if after looking at film of the game did it change his opinion of whether WR-Pierre Garcon had control of the ball on the onside kick:

"It didn't change my opinion, in terms of what I saw on the field. I had a real good look at it. I won't deviate from that. He had position of the ball, went down to the knee, I thought, and after the scramble and scrum inside there, he didn't come out with the ball. That's the way it is."

On if the offense's continuity is being affected with so many guys in and out of the lineup:

"We have pretty high standards around here. I don't think you'll ever find us feeling satisfied or feeling comfortable about ineffectiveness or inconsistent play, let me put it that way. We've been getting some of that. We're not comfortable with that. Certainly, those are the things we have to improve. Now, we're not going to use any excuses. I mean there are no excuses. Whoever is in there has to be able to perform and do the job like we expect it to be done. When we fall short of it, we might be a slightly bit upset and concerned. We really want to focus in on getting ourselves back to where we normally are. There's no excuses on our part. Giving reasons is giving excuses. I'll recite my old saying to you: ‘Excuses are tools of incompetence. They are used by monuments of nothingness, and those who specialize in them are seldom good at anything else.' I think the minute you start making excuses and finding different rationale to explain poor play, you're going to have issues. We're trying to measure up to what we've always done. That is our task. That is our goal."

On if WR-Wes Welker is still dangerous as he's only averaging 8.5 yards per catch this season:

"Certainly. He can turn some of those short passes into long gains in a hurry. He's quick. He's very smart. He's tough against man-to-man situations, and he's also tough against zones, he can find the open areas. He's got enough to go deep on you, as well. He's a dangerous, dangerous guy. You can see what he does when he gets his hands on the ball in punt returns and things of that nature. When he gets space, he is tough to handle."

On where they like to line up WR-Wes Welker:

"They are very, very multiple. They can move him around to a number of different places. I haven't had the detailed study enough to tell you a percentage of where he's located, at this juncture."

On if he has started to look at New England yet:

"I watched the game last night. I've seen them play a couple of times this year on film. We'll start the heavy prep today."

On TE-Rob Gronkowski:

"He's certainly become a favorite target down there in the red zone. He and (TE-Aaron) Hernandez and the rest of that bunch, (WR-Brandon) Tate, all those guys are dangerous. We're going to have to take a look at them and see how we will prepare, in terms of our preparation and getting ready to handle them, but when you have as many weapons as they have, you better be sound in every area and do what you do and react and tackle well. That's the real key."

On if it was a confidence boost for the young defenders to limit QB-Carson Palmer and WRs-Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens:

"I think it was certainly a great showing. I think they felt good about their performance and it's something they probably enjoyed for all of 12 hours or so. But their performance was really good. They did a great job of limiting the number of big plays they had. I think they had one or two runs over 12 yards and maybe a couple of passes over 20 yards. All in all, I think our defense played extremely well. That's about all the time we have to celebrate it, maybe 10-12 hours. Now, we have to get on with the next task at hand. It's a very, very good football team that is as explosive as anybody that we will play. They put 39 points up on maybe one of the best defenses in all of the league, perennially. We better get our sights set on our next opponent in a hurry."

On getting ready for New England:

"Two or three weeks ago, they were on a streak where they won five in a row. They've been pretty well-oiled for quite some time. What we try and do is focus in on us. We know that they are going to be tough to handle. We know they are going to be excited about having an opportunity to play. We play them there. We know all those things, but we don't focus in on that. We focus in on us, more so than anything else. We try to make certain that we get ready. I think if you start looking at things outside of your control, outside of your sphere, you're going to find yourself really star-gazing a little bit, and that's when you get distracted. What we try and do is look at the things that we can control. I think our guys felt good about their performance last week, but now what we have to do is do it again. We have to go back and do it again against a team that is even better than the teams we've seen previously."

On what the offense needs to do get touchdowns in the red zone:

"We have to make a play. Sometimes, I think, it just depends on what they are giving us. Sometimes they spread out so we can run it a little more. We were able to punch one in down there. But we have to be able to do it in a number of different ways. Sometimes it's a one-on-one pass route depending on the coverage they are playing. The big thing is that you're efficient. There is no blueprint saying, ‘Hey, every time we're down there, we're going to run it in.' We don't do it that way. We kind of do what best suits us, in terms of what matchups we get. We just weren't quite where we should have been on a couple of situations, not quite as sharp as we'd like to be. We're usually pretty good in the red zone. We're usually pretty tough to stop. We just faltered a little bit yesterday."

On decision to start OT-Jeff Linkenbach at right guard:

"We looked at what he's been doing in terms of his practice, and he played pretty well for us early in the season. We're just trying to get a little more consistent play. So, we wanted to give him opportunity to get in and see what he can do. He went in, and I thought he played hard and played tough and didn't do everything exactly right, but I do think he held his own."

On progression of DE-Jerry Hughes:

"I think a lot of times when people look at a first-round draft pick they expect him to come out and play and play well right at the onset, but it takes a little time for them to get in the groove, to get a sense of who they are in this league, get a sense of what works. I think he has been doing that all along. He started really making good progress maybe about the fourth or fifth game, getting involved in special teams, starting to move up a little bit, making his presence known in practice and his preparation. Now, you're seeing him get a little bit more playing time and being a factor on the field where you're noticing he shows up. He's still a work in progress, but I think he's progressing nicely."

On any anticipation of getting some players back this week:

"There is, but I wish I could tell you who they are. They've been working hard and trying to get the guys ready. Guys have been rehabbing diligently, and we also can see they are getting better; some of it is incremental and some of it is very small steps. Hopefully, like last week, we get a couple of guys back. We got (DB-Jacob) Lacey back two weeks ago, we got (DB-Jerraud) Powers back this week. Hopefully, we'll get a couple more guys back this coming week."

On any injuries coming out of Sunday's game:

"Not that I know of."


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