WEEK 5: COLTS CONFERENCE CALL
**Head Coach Chuck Pagano
On John Harbaugh's joke about the crowd noise at Indianapolis: "I heard about it. They informed me. We get so submerged in preparation for this huge challenge that we have ahead of us. Somebody asked me at my presser here. I think it's more of a challenge to our 12th man – maybe calling out our 12th man and our fans that they aren't loud enough or something. I hope our fans take it that way."
On if the Colts' fans will be pretty loud on Sunday:"Well, they've been challenged, so I hope so. They always are [loud]."
On how C A.Q. Shipley has been doing for Indianapolis:"He's doing great. When we had a couple guys get injured, [we were very fortunate] that he was available. And obviously, we knew him and knew what we were getting, so he's doing well."
On if the Ravens' defense looks similar to how it did when he was in Baltimore:"When you look at it, it looks like a scary movie – 'Scary Movie 8, 9, 10, 11, 12' – whatever you want to call it. All I know is they're extremely well-coached, they're tough as damn nails [and] you can't run the flippin' ball on them. Front to back, they have playmakers everywhere. They run to the ball, tackle well [and] cover well. Front to back, again, they have a bunch of game wreckers over there and a bunch of guys that we have a tremendous amount of respect for. We'll prepare accordingly."
On if WR/RS Jacoby Jones is a player that opposing teams should be concerned about:"If you know anything about him, you're not going to let your guard down, and we certainly cannot do that. He's a great returner. Not a good one; he's a great one. At any point in any game, he can take one to the house and break your back, and that's a game changer that can cost you a football game. Just like we're going to prepare for a great defense, we're going to prepare accordingly for a great returner in Jacoby."
On what he's seen from Gary Kubiak's methodical offense:"Any time you implement a new system, whether they go no-huddle or not, it's really not a concern. All I know is they're really efficient. They do a great job with that scheme. It's tough to defend. They're running the ball extremely well. Those two runners [Lorenzo Taliaferro and Justin Forsett] filled in for Bernard [Pierce] – one's averaging over 5, and one's averaging 4 [yards] a carry. I think they're 4, 4.5 as a team. They run the ball extremely well, and [with] moving the quarterback around. They have playmakers on the outside. Just like when we faced [Kubiak] when he was at Houston, they're doing a great job on that side of the football. We have our hands full defensively."
On how much the West Coast system has helped QB Joe Flacco:"Joe is a great player. I was fortunate to be on the same side with him for four years and watched him win a bunch of football games [playing] at a high, high level. I watched him take that team to a Super Bowl win from afar, and [he] continues to play at a high level. No matter the system, you have a great player there. [He has] all the arm talent in the world [and] makes great decisions. They're doing a great job with him. They obviously have got him comfortable in a hurry in that system."
On the way that WR Steve Smith Sr. has been playing:"We have a guy [Reggie Wayne] over here, too. [The media] all want to write these guys off at a certain age, and we have living proof on both sidelines this weekend that [you can] throw out age. They must have both visited the fountain of youth down in Ponce de Leon, or whatever you want to call it. (laughter) They're both playing at a high level, and Steve is a game wrecker. He's a competitive, competitive guy, and he's playing at a high level. He loves to play the game. That's why he has an organization or team and everybody that's going to face him [showing] such great respect for him, because he plays the game the way it's supposed to be played."
On if DT Arthur Jones is starting to get healthier:"He's getting better every day and trending in the right direction. Obviously, when [players] have an opportunity to go up against their old team and all that stuff, [they want to] mostly just to get a win for their own team. But hopefully, maybe he makes it back for the game."
On what's allowed WRs like Steve Smith Sr. and Reggie Wayne to play as long as they have:"Well, those guys are consummate pros. He's a pro's pro. They don't take a lot of time off. They know as you get up there in years, when the season is over, you can't take the time that maybe you took as a 23-, 24-, 25-year-old. They stay working at their craft year-round. They don't ever get away from it from a physical standpoint, from a mental standpoint. Here's a guy [Reggie Wayne] who's coming off a total knee reconstruction, and basically everybody said he was done. Four weeks into the season with Week 5 coming up, he had his best game to date last week and broke a bunch of records. He's playing at a high level, and that's because [of] his love and passion for the game, but [also] the way that those guys take care of themselves and take care of their bodies. They're just great pros."
On the Ravens using OLB Pernell McPhee in many different ways:"Big time. It's hard enough taking care of the guys that start the game. And then they bring in guys like Pernell, who is fresh and is a buzz saw, and he's like a rolling ball of butcher knives whether he's coming off the edge [or] setting the edge in the run game. They move him around in their third-down package running pick games on centers and guards and tackles. The guy is relentless. He's relentless. He's a load. You see him on special teams; you see him all over the place. He's a great player and a great person [who] loves to play the game. We're fully going to make sure our guys are aware of where he's at at all times when he's on the football field."
On where he's seen QB Andrew Luck make the biggest strides:"I think in every facet of the game. He does a great job of managing the game. We came out of 2013, and we had some areas offensively that we wanted to address. He had some areas from a technical standpoint that he wanted to address mental-wise and technique-wise, and he got those addressed. Third down was a point of emphasis; we're better there. The red zone, scoring touchdowns, [and] not settling for field goals was a point of emphasis; we're better there. He just does a great job of managing things at the line of scrimmage and managing bad plays and getting us into the right play."
QB Andrew Luck
On facing the Ravens' defense: "Yes, it's going to be tough. I do think, as an offense, we found a little bit of rhythm. It's obviously not perfect, but I think we're doing some good things. But you realize the Ravens' defense is a beast of its own with a great front seven, great guys that can cover in the secondary. And obviously, [they have] Terrell Suggs and [Elvis] Dumervil and [Courtney] Upshaw and [Pernell] McPhee and a bunch of guys that can rush the passer. Haloti Ngata is a game wrecker, so we know we're going to have our hands full. We know they're an incredibly well-coached, talented defense, and you earn everything you get versus them."
On how he has improved as a player since playing the Ravens in the 2012 playoffs: "I'd like to think I'm better. I hope I've progressed. I do feel like the experience definitely has helped. The experience of that game has helped me grow, I think, as a football player, and you keep working to get better."
On what he remembers from playing the Ravens in the 2012 playoffs: "[We] couldn't score in the red zone, I remember that. The Ravens did a great job of not giving up touchdowns when we were down there. And obviously, [they had] a great crowd, a great atmosphere for a playoff game – and then to stick to it, [a] solid, tough defense. I'm sure those words are used ad nauseam when talking about Baltimore, but it's true. They have an identity, and you can see it on film."
On if Colts head coach Chuck Pagano provides insight into the Ravens' defense: "Yes, absolutely he can. He is a great resource – not only this week, but every week for us as quarterbacks and offense – for what defenses are trying to do. And I know there [are] some similarities to the structure of our defense and the Ravens' defense. But that all being said, you get as much help as you want, but you have to go out there, and do it on the field. And that's what's tough."
On WR Reggie Wayne and WR Steve Smith Sr. performing at a high level for their age: "I think Reggie [Wayne] is a fairly understated guy. He's not going to talk too much. I do think what Steve Smith does is incredible. As a football fan, it's fun watching him. You can tell he's a competitor, and he's a big playmaker. But I know, being around Reggie, we'll joke about [his age] every now and then. I think what's great about Reggie is it's not his age that's making him try to prove it. He's a football player. He wants to go out there, and prove that he's a great football player every practice, every drill, every route, every game. I think he's a phenomenal professional, a phenomenal worker. I think it is neat to see two guys that came in the same year that are still performing at an incredibly high level."
On C A.Q. Shipley: "[A.Q. Shipley] has done a great job of coming in, being a pro. [He] came in, I think, a Monday, the Monday before we played our opener, and starts that opener. Heck of a job, and I'm glad that we had history beforehand from my rookie year where we played a bunch of games together. So, we had a history in a sense. But he's a consummate professional, and the type of teammate, the type of guy you want in a locker room."
On QB Joe Flacco: "Very big fan of Joe [Flacco]. I got to play college ball with his little brother, John, and I really like John. He's a great guy, and he talked about Joe, [saying] awesome things. But [I'm a] big fan of Joe."
On the importance of having a balanced offense: "I think balance is very important – run, pass and who is getting balls, because there are a lot of guys on our team that can make plays. [We have] a lot of playmakers, and we need to get the ball in their hands and let them do what they will with it, with the tight ends we have and the depth at wide receiver and running back."
On whether he thinks the Colts' and Ravens' offenses will put up a lot of numbers: "I don't think we ever – as an offense – approached a game worrying about the opposing offense. I think we realize we have our hands full with the defense, no matter who we're playing. And it is a team sport in that matter. We trust our defense to do what they need to do against the opposing offense and special teams, to do what they need to do. So, we definitely take the team approach, and I don't think we've ever been too worried about how well or poorly the opposing offense is playing. But I will say we go into each week saying, 'Let's try and put up as many points as we can. Let's keep it rolling.'" On preparing for the Ravens' defense: "It takes great practice. It takes some extra film, some extra work. I think the guys on scout team have done a heck of a job all year – and did today – [of] running around and taking their assignments seriously. And we know when you face a team like and a defense like Baltimore, you can't shoot yourself in the foot and expect to get away with it. You have to be on your P's and Q's and take advantage of any opportunities that come up."