THURSDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Colts – WEEK 5
**Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
When you're dealing with the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month in Pat McAfee, what has made his technique among one of the best? *(Joe Platania) *"We have seen [Pat McAfee] over the years continually improve his game. The thing he's doing now – that he didn't do when he first came into the league – is he has been, for the last few years, in a directional punt system, and he's punting the ball wide and long, rather than just long. It has helped [the Indianapolis Colts] with their net, their coverage. And so, you're not just seeing gross punt, you also see the net punt. And in my view, that has been a big factor. And the obvious benefit that he also gives for that club is that they have a great field goal kicker, one of the best ever in Adam Vinatieri. And, because their punter kicks off for them, it allows [Vinatieri] to keep kicking field goals year after year and after year. That's a great benefit. So, he's doing a good job for them."
You also have a lot of touchbacks, how much do you have to … Because it seems like [with] WR/RS Jacoby [Jones] that everybody is trying to do everything to not kick the ball to him, how much do you have to kind of stress patience for him, because you're obviously reaping some benefit from it, but he's not getting what he wants to do? (Jamison Hensley) "You must have been in our meeting room. That's an operative word right now. We have to be patient and persistent. We can't jump on a ball that's not a good ball to return. And at the same time, we have to block every play like it's the ball that's going to come out. So, it's something that we've been preaching, and at some point in time when we get one, we want to be ready."
Does it surprise you, the different kicks though? WR/RS Jacoby [Jones] said he hasn't seen anything like it. Is it different angles, different styles? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Some of the different kicks that you've seen have not necessarily been on purpose. When you're facing a kicker like Graham [Gano] and Billy [Cundiff] – because we know them so well – the way they try to kick off and they try to kick the ball and drive the ball deep, sometimes you see them come over the top of a ball, and they hit it like a line drive ball, which is also a very effective kick, as you know, because it's a hard ball to return, because it messes up the timing. So, to answer your question, yes, you're seeing a lot of these kicks, but some of them, in this time of the year, are not necessarily designed to do that. You just have to deal with it. You saw us last week try to get those balls and go with them, but the football is an oddly shaped object. It's hard to predict where it's going to bounce."
Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak
**Gary, you guys have done both no-huddle and huddle, but what do you think are some of the advantages of huddling up and making that your normal M.O.? *(Aaron Wilson) *"Well, if you're holding on to the football and moving the ball, obviously, it keeps your defense off the field, so that's one thing. If you're pressing the issue on offense, time of possession may get skewed one way or another. But [a no-huddle offense is] something we work on all the time. If we have to do it, we know we can go to it if we're sluggish for some reason, want to pick up the tempo of the game. So, I think we have the ability to do all those things, but [we] would really like to help our defense and hold on to the football a little bit."
Just in terms of style with QB Joe [Flacco], do you think the methodical approach seems to fit his personality? (Aaron Wilson) "I know [Joe Flacco] likes the [no-huddle offense]. I know that he likes doing that, too. So, what we try to do is always have the capability. Whether you're not in a rhythm or something is going on, or you're trying to create speed or tempo or those type of things, you can do it that way. You can also do it with a lot of quick count and various things that we like to do offensively. But I think Joe has handled, pretty much, what we're doing pretty well, and we're growing as he grows, and he has done a heck of a job."
How pleased are you, you guys haven't had many penalties at all, you've had three sacks – how much will that be a challenge in Indianapolis? (Clifton Brown) "You're right. It's a real positive we've had going on. We haven't hurt ourselves. [We] haven't had a lot of negative football plays, and our third downs have been manageable. And if you're going to win in [Indianapolis], it better take place. So, it's a big point of emphasis this week. We're going to have to be positive, especially on first down and what we're doing. If you're sitting there on third-and-long in [Lucas Oil Stadium], eight, 10 times, you're in for a long day. So, it will be a big point of emphasis as we get ready to play."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Is S Terrence Brooks ready to build on the momentum from last week? (Joe Platania) "He did a good job. We needed to give him a look. We tried to put him in a position when we thought he was getting ready, and last week we thought he was ready to do some things for us. He played 30 snaps or something like that, which was a good amount of time for a guy really getting in his first game."
When you're facing a guy like QB Andrew Luck as a [defensive] coordinator, how difficult of a task is that? (Garrett Downing)"It's always a challenge, really, with all the quarterbacks. But there are a few that'd be elite, and he's one of them. It's really sometimes not so much about stopping him – it's stopping the whole system. You can get too caught up in just stopping a quarterback, and then they just beat you some other way. We just have to stop their whole system. We have to do a great job across the board on defense. He is a great quarterback, but they also have great receivers – they have a Hall of Fame receiver [in Reggie Wayne] – they have two good running backs [in Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson], and they just have good talent. Everybody looks at their passing yardage – 320 [yards per game] – but they're running for 120, which is not shabby. It's just a really good offense with a great quarterback."
Dean, what makes OLB Pernell McPhee so adaptable to playing different positions? (Ryan Mink) "[He is] smart. We're blessed with a bunch of intelligent football players – he being one of them – and so you can do some things with guys when they know how to play football. They don't memorize what you tell them to do. They understand what you're trying to do. When you tell them, 'Here's how you want to attack these guys, and here's what we want,' rather than, 'OK, I have to be in the A gap on this call,' he understands why he has to be in the A [gap]. It's just an understanding. Not only McPhee, but we have a bunch of smart, smart football players."
When it's the case of having OLB Elvis Dumervil or OLB Terrell Suggs, are you just looking for ways to get OLB Pernell McPhee on the field? (Ryan Mink) "[Ravens linebackers coach] Ted Monachino did a great job last week. Almost all four of those guys – McPhee, [Courtney] Upshaw, Suggs and Dumervil – average about 40 snaps. They were all within a couple snaps of each other, which is great, because then you're keeping guys fresh. It helps when our offense controls the ball, too, [and the offense plays] 60-something snaps. When you have depth like that, it's nice to roll everybody in."
Four games in, what have you seen from LB C.J. Mosley? Where is he still making progress? (Aaron Wilson) "He is going to make progress every week. He's just a very instinctive, intelligent football player. [He doesn't rely on] memorization. There are just things that happen to you in a football game that you can't practice every situation out here. You try to practice as many as you can, [because] somebody is going to give you a different scheme. When you have smart football players, they can adapt to that real quick. C.J. is one of those [players]. [He] came from a great system at Alabama. He is a very intelligent guy, but he just understands football. He still has to get bigger and stronger as he keeps going to take on blockers, but there are just some things that you can't coach and teach, and he has some of that."
Dean, S Matt Elam and S Darian Stewart have been getting a little bit of criticism. How are they progressing in your mind, and is the criticism fair? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Well, I think they're doing real well. I'll admit, I don't think we played real well in the back end in the Cleveland game, and that was a lot of guys. It's never one guy. There are a lot of things that happened there, and it wasn't just Matt, and it wasn't just 'Stew.' Last week, I thought Matt Elam played really well. We put him in the slot at nickel with very few reps against a good quarterback. And I don't know if [the media] has seen the film I saw, but there were two passes – I don't know who would've defended them – and [Cam Newton] just put it on the money. Sometimes you just have to say, 'That's the way it was.' We do a lot of stuff, and to throw a guy in a new position and learn it overnight is tough to do. My hat's off to Matt. He came back real well last week and played well in the slot for us. And we're trying to roll guys in there like Terrence and some other guys, and it gave a lot of guys a look and let them all do what they do." How big is it to have a guy like CB Asa Jackson that can run with Colts WR T.Y. Hilton? (Aaron Wilson) "[T.Y. Hilton] could end up on any of our corners. We just can't let him take the top off the defense. That's been the one thing this year that we just have to keep improving on. Last week we played so well, and we gave up just one easy touchdown. To me, they shouldn't have scored any. We gave up just an easy one – a gift – and we have to quit doing that. If we can quit doing that, we could really be a top defense. Like I said, those two [passes Carolina] threw on Matt [Elam], hey, [Cam Newton] threw the ball on the money. He's a pro; he's a good quarterback with good receivers – they do that. But we just can't let that stuff happen. We did it in Cleveland. We got it down to one play last week – we just have to get it down to zero."