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Quotes: Wednesday practice

Posted Dec 26, 2012

Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
WR Andre Johnson
QB Matt Schaub
DE Antonio Smith
DE J.J. Watt

Indianapolis Head Coach Chuck Pagano Conference Call
Indianapolis WR Reggie Wayne Conference Call

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team’s health) “From a physical standpoint, the only guy that did not practice was (CB) Alan Ball. (OLB) Brooks (Reed) is back at practice today and (RB) Arian (Foster) is back at practice today. That was it. So kind of the same way we started last week.”

(on this week’s practice and the health of RB Arian Foster) “Obviously tomorrow is a big work day. But I would say we’re kind of starting in the same boat we did last week. (RB) Arian (Foster) is fine, he’s been cleared, he’s fine. He took all his normal reps he would take on a Wednesday.”

(on miscues, mental preparation and third downs) “I think those things all go together. I don’t know how to answer that one easy way. I think that mental preparations never change. It’s the same all the time. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, how you put in a game plan, how you go about what you do, transferring that to game day is essential. And we haven’t done that in some situations. We’re missing things physically, we’re missing calls. It’s a lot of things. The only thing that stands out, like I said, offensively, that stands out consistently is the fact of the long-yardage situations. You just can’t get in them. You’re setting yourself up for failure, so it’s a big point of emphasis as we go into this game, trying to keep ourselves on schedule.”

(on being disappointed after a loss like that) “I hope so. I know coaches do, I’m sure players do; anybody who is worth their salt from a standpoint of competing. When you don’t succeed or you don’t play it the way you expect yourself to play or compete the way you expect yourself to compete, it should bother you. We worked hard last week, we had a good week of practice, but obviously we didn’t take it to the game field and get it done. We’ve had 12 times this year where we’ve got it done and three times that we haven’t. So it’s very disappointing, but you have to come right back the next week. It’s not going to change what we do, but we need to definitely change how we did it, I know that. So that’s what we’re working on today.”  

(on how the players approach the game this week) “No, I think they’re the same. They’re consistent. I think the week is kind of a buildup thing all the time. You start Wednesday, you have a lot on your plate mentally, which they do today form a game plan standpoint. Their work picks up on Thursday. So the routine stays the same, they’ve been good all year. They’ve been very consistent in what they do. Like I said, we just need to do some things better.”  

(on resting players toward the end of the season) “Obviously you’re trying to play your best football. The rest idea, it gets overblown a little bit. You only have so many players. And obviously, if you have some guys that have been hurt or something and you’re in situations, you may think about it. But you only have 53 guys, 46 guys that have to go play and compete, so it’s really, really difficult to rest guys, per se, unless there’s really a reason to back them off or not suit them. There’s just a limited amount of players in the league.”

(on the Indianapolis Colts and the game plan) “First off, I think they’re a hell of a team. We’ve known that all year long. They’re sitting there and they know their plan a week from now in a big playoff game and we’re playing, too. We just don’t know when we’re playing. You have two good football teams going at it. It’s a tough place to play historically, not just for this organization, but for a lot of people. So we’re going to have to be able to handle noise, we’re going to have to be able to handle all those things. But a fine football team that we could very well see again, you never know. Like I said, we just know that we have to play better than we did last week.”

(on the different ways of going into the playoffs) “I’ve been in both ways. I’ve been in with everything going for you and been beat with a 13-3 team against an 8-8 team at home. Went that route. Been in after being beaten a couple times and won a championship. So it’s about how you play when you get there, how you line up, how you play during that month. If you can find the magic and play good football and we’ve played a lot of tough places this year, so it shouldn’t bother us where we have to play. But we have to know how we have to play, and that’s better than we played last week.”

(on if there is any way to put his finger on what happened last week) “No, I mean, the only finger I worry about is mine, to be honest with you. What position I put them in to be successful. I didn’t like a lot of the things I did. So that’s my focus. And they have to go focus, look at the film, and focus on what they could have done better. But everybody has a responsibility, and like I said, I start with mine all the time.”

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on improving on third downs) “Be a lot more effective on first and second down, especially the penalties have caused us some problems. Being effective, like I said, on first and second running the ball, we can all do better there. Coaches included.”

(on how important momentum is heading into the playoffs) “Very important, obviously, the point has been made year in and year out; the team with the most momentum going into the playoffs tends to win the entire thing. Certainly, you don’t want to be faltering into the playoffs. So we’re going to go back to the grindstone. We’re going to work hard this week and put our best efforts in this weekend and work for that momentum for us.”

(on momentum in the playoffs) “Well, just looking at the history of various things each year you have teams that are perhaps the sixth seed and I was on a team that was beaten by a sixth seed team that was playing extremely well. They did not do very well during the start of the year, but they found whatever they did, their momentum, were gaining and playing with a lot of confidence. I think that’s the biggest thing is to get the confidence. We have a very confident team when we get things going in the right way. I think we will. I think our guys will respond. They look at the same tape that we did and understand the problems that we had and certainly need to get those corrected and moving in the right direction.”

(on having explosive plays) “I think at times during the year we’ve had plenty. We got ourselves in a hole in a couple ball games, Detroit, Jacksonville here, and we’re able to win in overtime with some explosive plays. It’s not that I don’t want to disregard your comment, but I think there are plenty. We have guys that can make plays. We just have to continue to work at it and get it done.”

(on the importance of keeping drives alive) “The portions that get us in the mini-long third downs. Staying on the ball is, I think, for anybody is a key to winning in the NFL, just continuous drives, not only does it wear their defense down, it secures points. The longer you’re on the field the more points you’re going to get obviously. It helps your team, your defense get a chance to rest. It is a momentum and it is a confidence builder if you’re on the field for longer times.”

WR Andre Johnson
(on the importance of securing a bye and home field advantage this week) “It’s no secret. We need to win the game Sunday. It’s something we’ve been talking about since last week. None of that’s changed. We need to win the game.”

(on the importance of home field in the playoffs) “We know what we need to do. We know what’s at stake. We just need to go out and get it done. That’s pretty much it. Like I said, it’s something we needed to do last week. We just didn’t get it done. Normally you don’t get a second chance at it, but we do. We get a second chance at it and hopefully we get it done Sunday.”

(on if Sunday is the biggest game in team history) “I don’t know. Everybody has their own thoughts about it. It’s a big game for us. We know if we win this game, we get a chance to clinch home field advantage and get a first round bye. I think it just puts us in a better situation as far as the playoffs and things like that. It’s a very big game for us.”

(on having never won in Indianapolis) “We know we’ve never won there, so we know it’d be tough. To have Coach (Chuck) Pagano coming back, it’ll be a lot of emotion and stuff going on. They’ll be playing with a lot of emotion and stuff making sure they get the game won for him. It’ll be a challenge. It’s going to be loud, noisy. We know all that stuff. We just have to be ready to go.”

(on if it’s an advantage or disadvantage to play the Colts again so soon) “I don’t know. We just have to go out and play. They know what we’re going to do. We know what they’re going to do. They’re pretty sure they’ll change some things up as far as what they’ve been doing. They’ll throw some wrinkles at you. At the same time, it’s all about going out, executing plays. That’s all it comes down to.”

(on Colts WR Reggie Wayne saying they might communicate too much) “Yeah, we talk a lot. He’s older than me. I always tell him. I always look up to him like a big brother. Him and Santana (Moss) played big parts and I always tell them they played a big part for me to be where I am as a player. They were like my mentors in college. We talk a lot during the season. The crazy thing about it is that the only time we really talk about football is when we get mad. Like he gets mad at our coaches and I get mad at their coaches for not getting him the ball. That’s pretty much what our conversations will be about. We’re great friends off the field.”

(on if he’s happy for Colts WR Reggie Wayne to have success with the Colts this year after re-signing) “Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. Here was one of the places that he actually wanted to come. I was hoping that I would get a chance to be able to play with him again, but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. I think he made the right decision with staying in Indy. That’s where he started his career. He’s had a great career there. Then Coach (Chuck) Pagano I think that had a lot to do with it because we’re both familiar with Coach Pagano back at Miami. I think that played a big part in it. I’m just happy he’s out there playing at a high level even though he’s been in the league for 12 seasons. It’s good to see him out there doing what he’s doing.”

(on what he learned from Colts WR Reggie Wayne in college) “Every time you go up to another level, the game changes. The game gets faster. They’re new things that you have to learn. He was just a guy that took me under his wing. He just tried to help me anyway he can, any questions I had. He took me under his wing and taught me. That’s pretty much it.”

(on being familiar with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and seeing him back at work) “It’s great. It’s a great feeling seeing him. I watched the press conference. You can tell that was a tough time. I talked to (WR) Reggie (Wayne) a lot, just asking Reggie how he was doing and stuff like that because I spent a lot of time around him when I was in high school because he recruited me to the University of Miami. He was almost like he was a part of our family as much as he was around. It was great to see him back out. I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of emotion and stuff going on. It was hard for me to hear what he was going through, but I’m glad he was able to fight through it. Now he’s back on the sideline doing what he loves to do.”

(on the keys to getting the offense rolling again this week) “We just need to go out and get a fast start and getting into a rhythm. I think that’s the biggest thing just going out, making plays and that’s something we didn’t do last week. We didn’t make any plays and just keep our third downs manageable, not getting in third and longs and things like that. We do that I think we’ll go out and play well.”

(on if it was frustrating to know that the team didn’t use its weapons on Sunday) “When you go out there you try to perform at your best. Things just didn’t happen for us on Sunday. You can’t hang your head on that. You have another game you have to play. We just have to prepare this week, put the past behind us and move forward.”

(on preparing for this game like a playoff game) “I don’t know. Everybody approaches things different. I can’t say how all the other guys approach it. Some guys may approach it like a playoff game. Some guys may not. It’s a big game.”

(on how he approaches Sunday’s game) “I approach every game the same. I know what’s at stake. That’s what makes every game different. I know if we win this game, what position we can put ourselves in to accomplish our ultimate goal. I don’t know. I’m going to go out there and give it everything I’ve got, just like I do any other game.”

(on the team having many possible Pro Bowl selections) “It’s great. It’s a great thing to have because I can’t say in past years where we’ve had that many guys’ names mentioned. Pretty sure there will be a lot of guys mentioned, I think it’s tonight. I’m pretty sure tonight will probably be the most guys we’ve probably had. I’d be surprised if we didn’t.”

QB Matt Schaub
(on fixing the offense’s third-down struggles) “Well, we’ve got to execute better. First and second down, we have to be better. We have to eliminate some of the penalties we have going on and negative plays early in the down and distance so we don’t get in third and eight-, 10-, 12-yard to go distances. We’ve got to keep them more manageable.”

(on why the offense has struggled on third downs in the last few games) “Well, just what I said. We have problems on first and second down. Our penalties and they’re going to put us in those long yards situations. We’ve got to be better in those first and second down areas, which will lead to third and three-, four-, five-yard situations for us, which are obviously a lot easier to convert.”

(on the disappointment around the locker room ) “It definitely is, but we still have everything in front of us. We’ve got to remember that. We’ve got to understand we had a great opportunity in our own building over the past week to do a lot of good things and we went out and didn’t get any of that done. We’ve got to take it upon ourselves as players to correct that and going forward, our last game of the regular season coming up here against a divisional opponent on the road. It’s going to be a tough test for us, but we’re excited about the challenge.”

(on trying to earn a bye and home field advantage) “That all is very important. That’s right there in front of us. Most important thing for us is to play better football as a team, especially as an offense. What better way to do that than to go on the road against a team that we know real well. They know us real well and play well in their building. We’re looking forward to that.”

(on correcting mistakes from Sunday’s loss) “We definitely talk about everything. When you feel good about the week of preparation and what went on happens on Sunday, it is somewhat puzzling and everyone’s got to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror and figure out why things happened, how to correct them, take it upon yourself to correct what you personally did wrong and then move forward. If everyone does that together and is on the same page that’s a recipe to correct and a recipe for success moving forward, so we’re excited about putting everything behind us and moving forward and looking ahead.”

(on if the quarterback feels like it’s more his responsibility to fix errors) “Yeah, absolutely. You feel more responsibility as a quarterback because you’re the leader in the huddle. You make sure to put everyone in the right position and motivate everybody and to get everyone on the same page. First and foremost, you have to do your job and there is plenty of stuff in the game that I can correct from my own play. I’ve got to do that first and then look to other places and be able to help the group as a whole be better.”

(on if Sunday is a playoff atmosphere-type game) “Absolutely, this is like a playoff game for us. This is a team that is in the playoff themselves and we’re in their building. All that we can gain from playing well and getting a win on the road, it’s definitely a playoff-type game.”

(on if there is familiarity between the two teams) “I think both teams have those same types of feelings because they’ve seen us two weeks ago. We saw them. There is some familiarly. Also with players, they’ve got a lot of players they’ve had over the last few years, so we’re familiar with them as they are with our team and our offense. It’s always going to come down to who is most physical, who owns the line of scrimmage, and who ultimately executes.”

(on if emotions will be high for the Colts and Head Coach Chuck Pagano’s return on Sunday) “I definitely think so and rightfully so. I think they’ve played that way all year. I think everything they’ve been through as a team and as an organization they’ve been playing with a lot of emotion. That’s the type of team they are.”

(on improving in red zone chances after last Sunday’s game) “Given some of the situations we were in, we could’ve scored a lot more points than we did. We’ve got to be able to turn those possessions, especially early in the game, into touchdowns rather than settling for three. Obviously, there was one I think at the end of the game where we’re just trying to get it to be a two-touchdown game. We definitely as an offense, we want to be able to score sevens down there.”

(on having big plays) “It definitely lifts you. It definitely makes it easier to go down and score when you can get 40-yard chunks and move the ball that way. We feel like we can do both. We feel like we’re going to always try to get the big play if it’s there, but also there are other factors in that whether the coverage or the defense is being played, if they’re bringing pressure there is going to be things that ultimately tell you whether you can take a chance at those things. We always want to try to make those big plays and we have the type of players that can do that whether it be a deep throw or a catch and run and someone makes someone miss. You always like to have those and it makes it easier to score.”

(on if simply winning this game and playing better is most important on Sunday) “First and foremost, winning this game and playing a lot better. Anything else that happens after that, that’s all fine and well. What we have to do as a team is play better. We have to play better as a whole group, as an offense and be successful and win a game. That’s first and foremost.”

(on playing for home field advantage and having never won in Indianapolis) “All those things are great. They’re all challenges that we face, but like I said, our main focus is playing better football. No matter who we’re playing, where we’re playing, how we’ve been historically in that place, or whatever the scenarios, we just want to play better football. That’s all that we’re counting on.”

DE Antonio Smith
(on how the preparation is different this week) “It’s not different in the preparation because you do the same thing. It’s repetitive all year so you do the same things in preparation. The difference is, is just the focus level. Focus level and everybody trying to figure out what we need to do and how we’re going to get it down to get the team on the right track to winning every week because you can’t lose no more.”

(on if he’s concerned that the team isn’t peaking at this point) “I’m not concerned because we’re a team that responds well to adversity. We’re going to have to find that adversity. Every week we’re going to have to find that fire because these games are going to get harder each week. I think that this game is just as important as a playoff game, as far as getting back on track and getting home field advantage and things like that because once you do get in the playoffs it’s one-and-done. If you lose, it’s over. I’m not worried at any point. I just know it’s a job to be done for us veterans. It’s a job to be done for each and every person on this team towards doing what they need to do to make us winners each week.”

(on how important it would be to enter the playoffs on a good note) “Be very important, bringing the playoffs here at home. Nobody wants to go New England or Denver to play a playoff game at this time of year. It’s very important. I think it’s important if you do lock in that number one, it’s one game and then you’re in the AFC championship. That’s the easiest road to the goal that we want to achieve.”

(on if he’s seen the fire and intensity with the team) “That happens on game day. Right now, fire and intensity looks like focus. It just looks like focus. You can tell by the silence that everybody is focused and trying to figure out what they need to do on their behalf to make this a different outcome come next week. As far as when you talk about the fire you aren’t going to see that until Sunday.”

DE J.J. Watt
(on some players treating this like a playoff game) “Definitely, we’re treating it like a playoff game. If you think about it, we win this game; we get a first-round bye so you can essentially win a playoff game if we win this week. We’re very focused. We played bad this week and we want to come out and rectify that.”

(on facing the Colts again so soon) “Obviously, we have good film to watch from our game, but also you haven’t seen what they’ve changed too much since then. We only had one game in between, but I’m excited about the challenge. I know one thing; we’ve never won in Indianapolis if I’m correct. One of the themes this year is doing things that have never been done before so really looking forward to a chance to do something else that’s never been done before.”

(on possibly breaking the sack record this week) “It’s on my mind, but winning is number one by far. I had someone ask me yesterday, would you rather win the game or get the sack record. There is no debate whatsoever. I’d much rather win the game, but then I said I would love to win the game and get the sack record. Obviously, it’s a goal of mine. I said I think before the season you have to want to do things that have never been done before. That’s obviously a huge goal of mine. I’m fortunate to be so close. I’m fortunate to have great teammates and coaches who call great plays and the teammates make me look good and really hoping I can get it done and help the team win.”

(on what breaking the sack record would mean to him) “It’d mean a lot. It’d mean a lot, but we could talk about that when we get there.”

(on possibly being voted to the Pro Bowl) “I hope so. I understand the coaches, players, and fans vote on it so those are three groups of people that you’re trying to earn respect from. It would mean a lot to me, but like I’ve said all year, I hope to be busy during that week. That’s that.”

(on keys for the defense this week) “I think that we just need to be us. I think earlier in the year, we were scoring touchdowns on defense. We were making huge plays. We had big momentum plays. I’m not saying we’ve been playing bad by any means, but we need to go out there and establish ourselves and be who we are. I think we’re really looking forward to a chance to do that this week.”

(on why the defense has played differently in recent weeks) “I don’t know, really. I couldn’t tell you exactly. I think we played very good against the Colts. I think, obviously, we could’ve stepped up a little bit more here in the Vikings game. We need to go out there and we have a chance to clinch something big for us this weekend so there is a lot to play for.”

Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano Conference Call
(on how it felt to be back at work) “Awesome. I feel very blessed, very lucky to be back in the mix, if you will. It’s a great feeling.”

(on if he’s decided on if the Colts will rest their starters on Sunday) “It’s a 16-game season and this is the last game of the season. We set some goals for ourselves a long time ago and watching what this team has done in my absence for the last three months, at this point we owe it to ourselves, this community, our fans, and our city. It’s just not in our DNA and these kids’ DNA to go out and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to rest this guy or that guy.’ I know where we’re seeded and all that stuff, but we want to go in with some momentum. Like every game, it doesn’t matter who it is, we’re going to try to win the football game.”

(on what it’ll feel like for him on Sunday) “It’ll be probably like it was when I walked in the building Monday and then I walked in here today and had a chance to be back in the team meeting and go through a walkthrough. I know walking into that stadium, walking into Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday is going to be a tremendous feeling just to be back with this team and this coaching staff and to be a part of it again. Anytime you do something, I’ve been doing this for 28-29 years, whatever it is, and every fall you know exactly where you’re going to be and where you should be. Then all of a sudden you’re taken away from that for a certain amount of time and now you’re fortunate enough and lucky enough to have an opportunity to get back, time to get back on the sideline to do what you love to do. I think it’ll be exciting. It’ll be emotional.”

(on if he always expected to return this season) “Never a doubt. When I got diagnosed back on September 26 and told me exactly what I had and what I had to do to get better, it was just like getting a game plan for Sunday. Doctor gave me a game plan. We put it together. I followed orders best I could. There was never a doubt in my mind at all. No, it wouldn’t be easy, but again I’m very blessed that things worked out the way they worked out and lucky to be back.”

(on what his first day back at the office was like) “It was incredible. In a short period of time, just because of the type of guys that we have in this building and this organization and the support that you have, the character of our coaches and players and everybody. We became a close-knit family in a short period of time. Then just to be back again with the coaches and the players and everybody in this organization and back in the building and back in meetings and things like that, walking through that door Monday morning then having a chance to address the team for the first time in quite some time in a normal meeting fashion, it was incredible.”

(on how the team reacted when they saw him in the meeting) “They were very, very kind. It was a pretty special moment, pretty neat moment.”

(on how long his first day back was) “It was long because my PR director, Avis (Roper) wouldn’t cut me any slack. He just kept pulling me all over this building to do this one and do that, talk to this person, talk to that person. He tried to knock me out on the first day. You know I’m kidding. Again, doing the team meeting and going through the presser and doing some other things I felt good afterwards. I thought I feel good. I’ve got most of my weight back and getting stronger and healthier every day. It seemed, obviously, a little bit longer than what my previous days had been.”

(on if there was a decision-making process behind playing the starters on Sunday) “We knew exactly what we were going to do. It was a layup.”

(on if there was a ceremony when he turned off the light in his office for the first time) “No, it shouldn’t be an emotional moment, but gratifying and again blessed to be able to do it. It was one heck of a gesture on (Colts Offensive Coordinator) Bruce’s (Arians) part and everybody else’s. Just to be able to finish that first day up and turn the lights out and officially be back at work, it was awesome.”

(on if Colts Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians was with him when he turned the lights off) “By that time I was ready to go, and so I just shut her down and headed home.”

(on the advantages and disadvantages for QB Andrew Luck to go against the Texans defense again so soon) “Obviously, familiarity playing them this close, basically back-to-back, if you will. He’ll be able to from a game plan standpoint; he’ll tweak it some and do some things here and there. He can go back and look at the tape and it’ll be fresh in his mind where things that we need to clean up and corrections that we need to make and things like that. I think it’ll be an advantage for him again. It’s an outstanding, one of the best defenses in the league, obviously. They’ve got great players from front to back. That doesn’t change and that’ll still be the same for him but maybe from a recognition stand point and things like that it’ll be a benefit to him.”

(on why Colts QB Andrew Luck has thrown so many interceptions this season) “Well obviously we never pin them all on one guy. Collectively, you can look at each and every one of them. (QB) Andrew’s (Luck) great because he’s his own worst critic and he’d take full credit for every one of them because he is hard on himself and he’s that type of guy. He’s an accountable guy. There are things because of protection breakdowns and issues and route running, those types of things, tipped balls, batted balls, what have you. I just think along with just growing together with a young group of, you’ve got a wily old vet in (WR) Reggie Wayne, but then you’ve got a bunch of young guys around you. It’s a combination of things, but I know he’d be the first one to tell you he’d take credit for all of them, but they’re not all on him.”

(on how helpful it has been to have a guy like WR Reggie Wayne around) “It’s unbelievable. I’ve got to tell you the day that it worked out and he said, ‘We’ve got him signed back,’ was one of the better days since I had been hired as the head coach here, believe me. He’s just been tremendous in the locker room, in the development of all the young receivers and young players that we have on that side of the ball and for that matter, on both sides of the ball. With (QB) Andrew (Luck), he’s been a guy that Andrew trusts. They built a great relationship and a camaraderie in a short amount of time. It just kept getting better and better and better because Andrew, obviously, trusts him because (WR) Reggie’s (Wayne), he’s a great, great, great pro. He goes about his business exactly how you’re supposed to go about your business. That’s why he’ll be in the Hall of Fame someday and he’s having the type of year that he’s having.”

(on Texans DE J.J. Watt) “I’m like anybody else talking to you guys right now. For the last 12 weeks, I’ve been a fan and having to sit back and watch it just like everybody else. He’s had, obviously, a tremendous year. He’s got an opportunity to break a sack record out there. He’s been a disruptive force. He’s an explosive guy. He’s a playmaker. He’s solid in both areas. He’s excellent against the run. He does a great job against the pass obviously and putting pressure on the quarterback, quarterback hits, quarterback sacks, batted balls. You can go on and on and on. He’s a high-motor guy, high-energy guy. He’s relentless. His motor is always running hot.”

(on his thoughts about the different honors Texans DE J.J. Watt could receive) “You know what, just coming from Baltimore last year and being on the same field and watching (Terrell) Suggs have the year that he had a year ago, it’s very, very similar. There is no reason that he shouldn’t be in the conversation for that award just based on the numbers that he’s put up. He’s had a great year and he’ll continue to play well. It wouldn’t surprise me.”

(on being a spectator the past few months) “It was extremely frustrating and tough. Getting kind of removed from the sideline and doing what you’ve been doing for so many years and then all of a sudden you’re through what you’re going through and you’re away from the team and then you’re sitting there watching games on Sunday on the television and you’re seeing things happen, obviously being on the sideline and being right there with them through the course of the week you’re just handcuffed. You can’t do anything about it. (Colts Offensive Coordinator) Bruce (Arians) was unbelievable and did and unbelievable job with this team and this staff and leading this group to nine wins in the last 12 weeks. We stayed in constant communication. He was awesome about that. We talked every day. We text back and forth and thank God for modern technology and social media. I was able to stay as close as I possibly can with all the coaches and the players and go back and forth. I had access with an iPad where they would either bring me a hard drive up to the house. Once I got to go home from the hospital, I had film set up in my house and was able to watch practice every day and then communicate on the phone with the coaches and text message players and things like that. I wasn’t in a game plan mode or anything like that, but I think, without getting long winded, the hardest part was game day when you’re sitting there watching things unfold and you can’t do anything about it. You’ve just got to sit back and root for your team.”

(on what the fan and city support was like) “It was unbelievable, very humbling. Like I said in my press conference, if you’re going to have to go through something that me and my family had to go through, there is no better place than Indianapolis. If you’re going to get sick this is the place to get sick. What it revealed to me is what great people we have not only in this organization, the support that I got from the owner, Mr. Irsay, on down. Just the way this city supported me and my family was incredible for them to embrace somebody that they hardly know, it’s very, very humbling the way that they did. That just tells you the kind of people that there are in this great state and the city of Indianapolis. It’s unbelievable hard working men and women. I can’t thank them, obviously, enough for all that they did for me.”

(on Texans LT Duane Brown’s season and possibly making the Pro Bowl) “He’s an excellent football player. He’s very, very solid. He’s played at a high level for a long time. He doesn’t give up too many sacks and pressures and things like that. I don’t know what the numbers are off hand, off the top of my head, but I know the left side of that line is extremely good. I know if (T) Duane (Brown) makes it, it’ll be very deserving.”

(on how OLB Dwight Freeney has adjusted to the Colts defense) “You know what, he’s done a great job because when we were first got here and we made the switch he was here. He was here the whole offseason and he put the time in that he needed to put in. I know from a numbers standpoint that they’re not typical (OLB) Dwight Freeney numbers. I didn’t expect doing some of the things that we’re doing with him that they would be like some of the years past, just because of the newness and the mostly a lot of the things that we’re asking him to do. Dwight affects the game more than the stats will tell. He’s done a tremendous job of buying in and learning exactly what to do. He affects the game a ton. He’s always commanded double teams and pass-pro and sliding protection to him and chipping him and all those kind of things, putting the tight end over there to help out. That same thing is happening in our scheme. Again, the numbers may not seem like typical Dwight Freeney numbers, but he’s done a tremendous job. He’s a major factor of why we’re 10-5 and sitting here having an opportunity to win number 11 and then heading to the playoffs.”

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne Conference Call
(on the Colts not resting their starters on Sunday) “I’m all for it. That’s what I signed up for, didn’t expect it no other way.”

(on the season WR Andre Johnson is having) “I think he’s doing exactly what I thought he would do. I think if they would’ve gotten him the ball more, he would be the one that is breaking Jerry Rice’s record. You know what I mean? He’s got that potential in him to have those kind of seasons. I’m just happy for him. He works hard. He’s dedicated, works on his craft. The stuff that he’s doing now is just the beginning. Obviously, he’s at the end but I think the guy is the best out there. If you don’t double him, as we can attest to, if you don’t double him, then he makes you pay for it.”

(on the fact that WR Andre Johnson is performing this way at this stage in his career) “That’s a credit to him. Like I said, he works on his craft. He’s a true professional. He knows what it takes to go out there and be successful. He does it year in and year out. All the younger guys in this league, they all look at what he’s doing and try to emulate the exact same thing to their repertoire. Hopefully he can just stay healthy and continue to do the thing he’s been doing and wish him well.”

(on how much he and WR Andre Johnson stay in touch during the season) “Probably too much, we’re pretty close. That’s what most of the guys from the University of Miami do, especially at the same position. You have a lot in common. We actually, like you said, we played together. We were coached under the same receiver coach so we see each other a lot in the offseason. It makes it even more exciting that we’re so close and he’s out there having the type of year he’s having.”

(on how much fun this season has been for him personally) “It’s been great, especially when guys like you, all power rank us at 32nd and we can find a way to get into this playoff hunt. It makes it special especially with such a young team that we have. We have a lot of guys out there, they don’t know any better. They just want to go out there and play until the final whistle is blown. The attitude has been just sticking to it and not giving up, just keep playing, keep battling especially with everything that’s happened with our head coach all year because it would have been an easy way to say woe me and just kind of go in the tank a little bit. But guys just stayed focused. Coach (Bruce) Arians did a great job of substituting for Coach (Chuck) Pagano and keeping everybody sticking to the process. We’re on our way to the dance. Everybody knows that once you’re dancing anything can happen. This will be a great start for that playoff run going against you guys again this week.”

(on when he realized how special Colts QB Andrew Luck is) “You just kept seeing him each week grow and grow. If you’re the first pick of the draft you know there’s got to be some potential. You just hope that it happens sooner than later. Each week we went on, you just saw him getting better and better. Each week the coaching staff put more and more on him. He grasped it pretty well. I think they were kind of just trying to throw everything at the wall and see what stuck. He did a good job of taking on that challenge and growing. I’m just happy he’s on my team. I’m just happy I can be available. Whenever he throws the ball my way, I want to do whatever I can to make him look good. Hopefully, we can keep him a little cleaner this week, not give him so many shots. We want, his career, we want longevity. We don’t want it to end early so we got to keep him clean, keep guys off him and hopefully we can be successful this week.”

(on if he thought that the team would be a playoff team this year when he re-signed) “I hoped so. It’s not like it’s year three for me. I don’t have the time to sit back and wait and rebuild. That’s part of the reason why I came back. Talking to Coach (Chuck) Pagano during the free agency and (General Manager) Ryan Grigson they were saying from the jump, ‘This is not rebuild. This is reload.’ Our motto is to win now. We don’t have to time to wait. I told them the same thing. I don’t have time to wait. I see the light. You know what I mean? I don’t have 10 more years, you know what I’m saying? For me, it had to be win now and they sold that on me and came in the offseason, saw what we had, saw these guys continue to work and work and work throughout training camp. When the regular season came, we had everything set. Like I said, guys just kept sticking to the process and working hard it. We win some. We lose some, but we won more than we lost, so that’s all that matters.”

(on if he was aware of the conversation OLB Dwight Freeney had with QB Andrew Luck before training camp started about not rebuilding) “I was not. It goes without saying. I think (QB) Andrew (Luck) would’ve agreed to it. We don’t have time for that. Me, (OLB Dwight) Freeney, (OLB) Robert Mathis, (S) Antoine Bethea, we’ve got guys that have been playing for a while on this team. We don’t have time to wait three or four years down the line. We’ve got to win now. We’ve got to do it now. This is a great start to this young ball team and hopefully the sky is the limit for us. Hopefully we can continue this great storybook and have a great ending too.”

(on what Head Coach Chuck Pagano’s first meeting back was like) “It was great. Like I said, your main general and soul is always good. We know what he went through. We know it wasn’t an easy process for him. We knew he had to stick it out and do some things that were really tough to do. Just to see him back, should’ve motivated us to know if you continue to work hard and push through it, good things happen and just to have him back in there, once he walked in everybody gave him a standing ovation. Everybody was excited to see him back. We knew how hard he worked. It’s always good to have your general back in action. Once again, to him, it just goes to show you how strong he is, how tough he is, just to get back out there and kind of walk around and smell the shoulder pads. Hopefully we can go out there and get him a great homecoming and make it a good one.”

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