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Capers conference call

(on the Jaguars defense) "I have a lot of respect for their defense. I like the way they play. They're kind of built from the inside out. Their two tackles are premier players. I know they have had some injuries at the end position but I think they've really done a good job of making adjustments. They have different style ends. Certain guys do a good job at putting pressure on the quarterback and other guys that are maybe a little bigger that go in and play on the run. One of the things I've really been impressed with it their linebackers. I think they have very athletic linebackers. I've always been impressed with Mike Peterson inside, even when he was in Indianapolis, then Akin Ayodele and then Daryl Smith is a guy I certainly looked at a lot coming out of the draft and really liked him and he's playing really well. In the secondary (Rashean) Mathis is a good young player, very athletic. Of course, Donovin Darius is one of the more physical players in the league, and you have a veteran guy in (Dewayne) Washington over on the other side. It's a good solid group. I think the coaches do a great job of game planning and they make you work for everything you get. You don't see people get a lot of cheap plays against them."

(how did you handle the cold so well in Chicago last week?) "We tried to make it as much of a non-issue as possible, I'm sure just like Jack (Del Rio) probably did with the Jaguars up in Green Bay. We were both in similar situations, two warm weather teams going up and having to play in the cold. My feeling on that is always it becomes an issue if you let it become an issue. You certainly try to talk to the team about it and tell them that both teams have to play in it and we have to have the mindset that we aren't going to let it distract us."

(how do you get to the mindset that you believe that theory?) "There really is no way that you can prepare for it other than the fact that your conscience that you have to really do a good job of taking care of the ball. When you're playing in real tough weather conditions, nothing can affect the game more than the turnovers. I look at the Green Bay-Jacksonville game. It was the difference in that game and it was the difference in our game. Green Bay turned the ball over five times and Jacksonville did a good job of protecting the ball and same thing, we didn't turn the ball over and Chicago turned it over four times."

(things seemed to be going well for your team up until you played Jacksonville. What do you think happened?) "I think that our team continues to make progress. What happened to us is we played a bunch of very good teams in a row and we didn't play our best. We played segments of the game very well but not for four quarters. Every one of the teams we've lost to since we played the Jaguars have had eight wins or more."

(did you envision your team being at a higher level this year?) "We're in our third year and I told our team from the first day of meetings that you can't get caught up talking about playoffs until you become a winner. To me that was a step for us is to try to work to become a winner. We've had our opportunities. We played a lot of close games. We've lost some close games. So to me you just have to stay focused on what it takes to go out and win and I think we're going through that process. There is no question in my mind that we have our best team that we've had in three years."

(what do you have to do know to get over the hump?) "Hopefully you add a few more good players, guys who have played together, you have more continuity and you find a way to win those close games that you have lost."

(how do you think your team will react on the road playing the day after Christmas against a team that have playoff hopes?) "We know coming in we're certainly going to get Jacksonville's best effort. Our job is to get ready to play and give our best effort. I think our team will handle it well. Just like last week, I think all those things that become distractions if you let them become a distraction. We know the challenge that we have. We have a lot of respect for the Jacksonville team. We have to get ourselves ready to go play our best football game of the year."

(are you concerned about keeping your team focused when they have no playoff hopes?) "I think we have an awful lot to play for. I look at our division record and I look at the chance for us to play for a non-losing season and to me, as a professional, people remember how you finish. That's important I think for our players individually and it's important to us collectively as a team. I don't think there is any attitude here that we don't have much to play for."

(you feel like you're players won't 'pack it in' for the final two games) "I don't think you have to worry about that from the Texans. I think we have too many high character guys on this team and to me how you play this time of year is a reflection on the character of your players and coaches and team."

(how did your team perform so well against the Jaguars in the first game this season?) "We played a good solid football game and it was a close football game right until the end. I think like most of the games we've had other than the one where we came over there last year, we've always had very close hard fought football games with the Jaguars."

(how is David Carr playing?) "David is playing well. He's had some outstanding throws in the game on Sunday, some big plays. A 68-yarder to Jabar Gaffney and a 37-yard touchdown pass to Corey Bradford and Andre Johnson I think had a 26-yarder in a two-minute situation. So we made some big plays. I think David continues to make progress in his third season."

(do you think Carr will have his break out season next season?) "You never know. I know that he's played better every year that we've had him. He has a chance to throw for 3,800 yards. He's completing over 60 percent of his passes. He's thrown more touchdowns than he has interceptions. I think that's kind of the process that the quarterback goes through. I like the progress he's making."

(as a defensive coach, is it frustrating for your team to be 27 th in defensive yardage given up?) "I knew at the beginning of the year that this was going to be one of those years that we were going to be a work in progress. Anytime you start three rookies on one side of the ball and lose some guys around position-wise and bring some new people in, it just takes time for all that to fit together. But I've seen our defense really improve. We've played some excellent games here the second half of the season and we're a far better defense now than we were earlier in the season."

(do you think your defense has improved because your rookies have gone through a season?) "I think so. Anytime you put a rookie on the field and he starts from Day One, you know there are going to be some bumps in the road. We went through it here with our offense when we started five rookies the first year. We brought a couple new rookies in last year and this is the year that we thought we'd probably have to go through it on defense with two rookie starters in the secondary and a rookie outside linebacker that hadn't played the position before."

(now that you're out of being an expansion team, do you feel the pressure next year to make the playoffs?) "Not really. I think what you look at is when you start out and you've got a plan and the most important thing is you have to have the courage and conviction to stick with the plan. I think we've stuck with the plan. We've played an awful lot of young players early. I think we've improved every year. I like the direction our team is heading and I think you know when you take that approach that you just aren't going to go out and snap your fingers and make it happen right now. But I think we're heading in the right direction and we know we play in a real competitive division in the AFC South and they are good teams. It takes time to develop the kind of team that's able to go out and compete and make the playoffs. It's a lot easier said than done."

(is it realistic to think a four-year team can reach the playoffs?) "I certainly hope we can move into the winning category and be a strong competitor for the playoffs next year."

(what did you think when John McClain wrote at the start of the year that you had to win seven games this year?) "That's John's opinion. John follows us and covers us so I don't think much about that. Our goal was to win every game that we can, but I know that John felt that we would win seven games. He might end up being right, you never know."

(is your plan for the future of the team on schedule?) "I feel it is. We won one division game our first two years and we've won three at this point this year. I think we've been competitive in the large majority of the games. We've lost some real close games. We've played extremely well for two or three quarters in those games and then maybe didn't finish it off but there is no question in my mind that we're heading in the right direction."

(what did you think about Donovin Darius' hit in the Green Bay game?) "Donovin is a physical player. I was there with Donovin, coached him for two years. I have a lot of respect for Donovin. He's a guy who is going to give you everything he has. He plays the game with passion and he's a physical player. He's always going to play a physical brand of football."

(do you think Darius went a little far on his hit?) "That's not for me to decide. I saw the fine that Donovin got. I do know Donovin and I know the kind of person he is and I don't think he's the kind of guy who would intentionally try to hurt anybody."

(do you think the league has gone overboard on enforcing the five-yard bump rule?) "I think this, every year we meet at the league meetings. Much of the talk is on player safety and I'm all for that. I think that the more you can do to have player safety and yet not take the integrity of the game away, and those are difficult things to decide on. If you have a player out there playing full speed, the decision making process has to happen in a split second. I think the intent is in the player's behalf and then it's just a matter of making sure that you govern it the right way. These things all go in cycles. I think back probably 10, 12, 15 years ago, we went through the same type of thing. It was strictly enforced for awhile. A year ago the passing yardage was down and there were a lot of complaints about the bumping beyond five yards so now they've tried to enforce it more strictly this year. I think over a period of time it evens itself out. I do know the passing yards are up so we've probably obviously accomplished one of our objectives."

(as a defensive coach, is this rule frustrating?) "As long as it's called consistently. You don't want to take the physical element out of the game, but if that's the way it's going to be, as long as there is consistency to it and that it's not inconsistent in the way that it's being enforced."

(has it gotten to the point that you have to play deep and take away the long pass because you almost can't stop the short pass anymore?) "It's just when you start getting in that grey area, that six, seven yard area, it's going to get enforced more strictly than it has been."

(do you have a problem in the way the league is handling this?) "I think they've adjusted from the beginning of the year. It was called off a lot in preseason, which you anticipated but since that point in time, I think that again they've accomplished what they want. I really haven't had a big issue with it for the most part once we got into the regular season."

(on being upbeat on finishing the season strong and set the tone for next year) "That's our goal. We want to be playing our best football and we know it's going to take that this weekend. We'll come over to Jacksonville and get ready to play our best football game because we know we'll get the Jaguars best game."

(is Christmas a distraction?) "I don't think so. We've adjusted our schedule a little bit. The guys will all have Christmas morning at home. We'll come in and have our walk-through, get on the plane and come over there and play the game. We've adjusted the schedule slightly, but it's part of our business. If you've been in the business for awhile, you've had to do the same thing before. A big part of our job is handling whatever situations we're put in and dealing with the circumstances and not having them control us."

(is it fun to come back to Jacksonville?) "I always enjoy coming back to Jacksonville. I had two great years there. I still own a condo there and have a lot of friends there and a lot of positive memories from when I was there. A lot of great people in the Jaguars organization and still some of the players there that basically I coached when I was there."

(on visiting your condo) "We come back in the off-season and spend time there. Other than that, it sits there. We don't rent it out."

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