HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN**
You have won six division matchups in a row. Can you talk about the importance of winning division games, especially within the AFC South?
"I mean, division games are important. If you do a good job in your division, you got a chance to play in the postseason. Division games are important. Like I said yesterday, I really don't look at the schedule though and say this game is more important than any other. I really think that every game is important and I really think every game is very, very difficult to win in this league."
Colts RB Frank Gore just passed Jim Brown in career rushing yards. Can you talk about him?
"This guy, he's a great back. He's been doing it his whole career. The way that he runs with power, low to the ground. He's very tough to tackle. You have to square him up. You can't deliver glancing blows because you're going to bounce off of him. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. Had a great touchdown play against Denver out of the backfield versus blitz that was just a great play by him. Much respect for Frank Gore."
What is the progress for CB Johnathan Joseph and TE Ryan Griffin and are they still in concussion protocol?
"Yeah. It's all day-to-day."
How do you go about self-scouting your own team?
"We do a lot of that. For the most part, we get a lot out of that. Recently, I think we need to do a better job of that. Looking at what we're doing in certain areas of the field, certain down and distances. We've worked hard at that this week. Certain things that we're doing with formations. What's our tendency out of different formations and personnel groups? I think that's a big part of what we do and I think we really do pride ourselves on doing a good job with that, but I think we need to do a better job than we've been doing the first five games."
Is it tougher to self-scout after a loss because there is emotion involved?
"Emotion I wouldn't say has anything to do with the self-scout. In this league, you really have to do a great job, as good a job as you can do, of removing emotion from every decision that you make. You really do. Now, that's easier said than done, but you really have to try to do that on a week-to-week, day-to-day, hour-to-hour. During the season, you have to remove emotion from every decision that you make."
Can you talk about T Chris Clark and how valuable he is?
"He's a very valuable guy. He's a really good leader. He's been around a long time. He's really helped us out. When Duane (Brown) was out, I thought Chris played solidly. Now with Duane back, now he can kind of play on the right, play on the left. I think he's done a real nice job for us."
Regarding any of the issues the offense has had throughout the past five weeks, would you say those are unrelated to QB Brock Osweiler's knowledge of and comfort with the offense?
"Yeah. He's very knowledgeable of the offense. We have to, like I said, game plan. Do a better job of game planning for him. We have to do a better job for him."
RB Lamar Miller was saying that he needs to be more decisive when running the football. What have you seen from him when it comes to decision-making?
"I think he's been pretty decisive. Look, we only ran the ball I think 14 times against Minnesota. I would take that game and flush it. Other than that game, I think the guy has been decisive. In that game, he didn't even really have an opportunity. I think he's played well. I think he's got good vision. I really enjoy coaching the guy. Just a great guy to coach. Works hard, out there every day, gets his treatment and never misses practice. I think that says a lot about a running back in this league and I think he's going to continue to have a good year for us. I know last week wasn't good for anybody but I think he's going to get back into it and have a good year for us."
What have you seen from WR Jaelen Strong in terms of his development this year?
"I think he works hard. He's worked very hard. We've used him, with Braxton (Miller) out, we used him in positions that maybe aren't the strongest part of his skillset. He's more of an outside wide receiver. He's a great team guy, so he does whatever it takes for the team. He'll play on special teams. He'll help us in the slot. He'll block for us. He does a lot of different things for us. Over the last couple games, especially in the Tennessee game, I thought he made some big catches that kept drives going and hopefully he can continue to do that for us."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ROMEO CRENNEL
Could you talk about the kind of game DE Jadeveon Clowney had and what OLB Whitney Mercilus means to the defense?
"Well, you know, I talk all the time about a unit, a defensive unit, and everybody doing their job. Within that unit, some guys show up making more plays than others. Sometimes the reason they're able to make a play is because the guy next to him did their job. So, I think our guys are very encouraged whenever a player makes a play, whoever it is. Whitney has really come on last year, he's still playing good this year, he's very studious, he works hard at practice, works hard in the game. When you kind of do those things, I think that allows you to make plays. With Clowney, he's got a talent set that allows him to get into the backfield some and disrupt a little bit. When he's able to do that, I think that that helps us."
What does it say about DE Jadeveon Clowney that he's going against guys who weigh so much more than him on the line?
"Well, it says he's trying to get a little bit bigger so he can do that on a consistent basis, but he's holding his own, it looks like to me."
Is that because of DE Jadeveon Clowney's explosiveness and the way he gets leverage? He seems to drive a lot of the big guys backward.
"Leverage wins at the line of scrimmage. If you can have leverage, you have a chance to win. Really, no matter what size you are, if you have the leverage then you can create a stalemate. You might not knock guys back but you can create a stalemate with leverage. Then when you add explosion to it, I think that then you can get to the point where you can stalemate him and then you can push him back a little bit."
Can you talk about Colts QB Andrew Luck and what kinds of problems he presents?
"Well, a lot. Because he wants to throw the ball down the field and he has a great arm, he's accurate, he gets the ball down the field. Then, if he's not able to get it down the field in the pocket, he can maneuver in the pocket, he's strong, it's hard for one guy to bring him down and guys are hanging on him sometimes and he's still able to pull away and deliver the ball, and if he sees a running lane he has good enough speed that he can run for the first down. That combination causes a lot of problems for a defense. We're going to have to be disciplined in the way we approach him and how we try to rush him."
Is DE Jadeveon Clowney doing his job more often this year?
"Yes. He's doing what we ask of him. He's playing a little bit different position now since we've moved him inside a little bit, but he's doing what he's been asked to do, what he's been coached to do, and it shows up on the field."
How much has CB A.J. Bouye helped this defense this season?
"Well, any time you have a corner that can cover, it helps because this league, they throw the ball a little bit in this league. Generally you need more than three, so having a guy like that who can come in and matchup against a receiver, that makes calling the game a little bit easier."
When a team gives up a lot of sacks like the Colts did against the Bears, do you expect that the Colts did everything they could this week to make sure that doesn't happen again?
"I think when they put their game plan together, I think they're going to do what they think they can be successful at. Throwing the ball is going to be part of it. Now how they protect him (Andrew Luck) is kind of up to them and they'll make that decision whether they want to keep more guys in or whether they want to throw hot or exactly how they'll do it and that's one of the things that as the game progresses, we'll have to see. Hopefully we can force them into doing something that maybe they don't want to do."
As it stands, you could be playing Colts QB Andrew Luck without three starters in the secondary. How do you cope with that?
"Well, the next man up. All the guys here, they've been with us and they know the system and like I always tell you, there are different ability levels. I have to look at the ability level and see what I think a guy can get done and then try to help him as best I can. Generally, you call the defense and let the guys play and if a guy is struggling, then you try to take some pressure off of him."
Colts RB Frank Gore just passed Jim Brown in yards. What does that say about Gore?
"That says a tremendous amount about him because Jim Brown is probably one of the better running backs that have come through the NFL and Gore being able to surpass him in yardage is really something. Now that speaks to how hard he runs, how tough he is and he's still going at it. He's basically an inside runner. Sometimes he'll get outside but basically he goes downhill and he's a north-south runner. Everybody knows it and he's taken a pounding, but he's still gaining the yards so you got to have a lot of respect for him."
NT VINCE WILFORK
After the game on Sunday, you said it's gut-check time. Have you seen what you wanted to see this week?
"Everybody got back to work, so we'll see on Sunday. That's the only time you can tell. Practice has been good. Guys have the right mindset. Come Sunday, we'll see."
T Duane Brown said he saw a sense of purpose and urgency yesterday. What do you think about that?
"I think we had two good days of practice. That's one thing about this team, when we get back to work, we get back to work. Coach really doesn't have to worry about us coming to work. I think guys understand the importance of this week and the rest of the season, how important it is for us. Good week against a team that's in our division. It's another primetime game, so if you can't get up to play this week, I don't think we'll ever be up, ready to play. Guys have the right mindset right now. Hopefully it will carry over to Sunday because so far it's been good in practice. Practicing well."
What do you think about Colts RB Frank Gore? He just passed Jim Brown on the all-time yards list. That's impressive stuff.
"It is. Still running hard. Frankie G is like a little brother to me. He has been carrying that torch for a long time running the ball. Very, very productive in his career, and he hasn't slowed down. I'm pretty sure I expect a lot more dose of him this week, just seeing how the previous weeks have been with us against the run. I expect to see more of him in the run game this week. He's been doing it. He's been doing it for a long time. It looks like he hasn't lost a step."
Can you talk about how Colts RB Frank Gore has been like a little brother to you?
"Yeah, you know what, because we went to the same school. When he came in at UM (University of Miami), I was the first one to introduce him with a hit. I'm pretty sure he'll tell you about that. Right then and there I knew he was going to be a tough son of a gun, fighting back from injuries, his life story and everything. Such a humble person and loves football. He has a passion for the game and it shows. When he plays football, it shows. He's a great teammate and a great person. We're enemies this week, he knows that."
Is it like a brotherhood between you, Titans WR Andre Johnson and Colts RB Frank Gore?
"Oh yeah, absolutely. We're a different university now. It's like a fraternity for us. It doesn't matter how old you are, if you're a Hurricane, you're a Hurricane. We bleed orange and green. It doesn't matter how bad the previous years have been. We'll never stop how we feel about one another, how we feel about our university. We've had a lot of great players come out of that university, and we don't plan on stopping. It's always good to see my brothers, play against them and get a chance to still do what they love to do, and that's play football."
What are your thoughts on Colts QB Andrew Luck?
"Luck is Luck. I mean, tough, tough. Can throw the ball. Very competitive. He never thinks a play is over. He hurts you on the ground, he hurts you in the air. I think his receivers, backs and tight ends do a real good job – and the offensive line – do a real good job of keeping plays alive for him. We know how important it is for us to make sure that when we tackle him, when we have a chance to tackle him, we get him down because there's not one man that's going to bring him down. He's just tough and he's a physical quarterback that loves to compete. As a team, as the game goes on it seems like the fourth quarter they get more juice. So, we have to do a real good job playing a full game, 60 minutes. Not just two or three quarters or 58 minutes. We have to play 60 minutes or more to beat this team. If we execute well, I think we'll be OK."
How can you the defense get off to a fast start?
"Well, I think it's all of us. A lot has to do with just making plays early. We have the capability of doing that. We just have to do it. The one thing about playing at this level is you always have to stay poised no matter what. It's the NFL. People are going to make plays. We can't get down, we can't start fussing. We have to stay poised and continue to play. I think the more the game goes on, we become better ourselves as a team. But, we have to do that early. We have to make those plays early. We have to start off with the playcalling, with getting some plays in that we like, that we can be kind of aggressive, take our shots, and just go from there. But, we definitely have to make plays early. I think that will help us in a lot of ways, from offense, special teams to defense, just being able to get a game going the way we want it going. That starts with positive plays. That's always been something on our list but I think now we really have to have that mind frame of whatever it takes to get going, we're up to."