ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ROMEO CRENNEL
What have you seen from the Colts offense?
"The offense has changed. They have a new offensive coordinator and it looks like they're putting an emphasis on some of the shorter passing game and they're having some success with it, so they might stay with it a while. Quite frankly, after last week, they'll probably stay with it."
What have you seen from Colts QB Andrew Luck?
"He's a good quarterback. Andrew, he's a good quarterback. He's strong, physical, tough, can run, can throw the ball down the field when they need to or want to. You cannot underestimate this guy at all."
Is it easier to game plan against Colts QB Andrew Luck as he continues to regain arm strength coming off of an injury?
"That's the key. His arm strength is coming back and so you don't know exactly when it's going to be fully back. You just hope that he doesn't get it fully back for the game that you're playing against him."
Do you feel like DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney is starting to get back to his normal self?
"Yeah, we've talked about guys returning from injury that a lot of times, they've got to get into the feel of it, they've got to feel comfortable with themselves. I think we saw it with J.J. (Watt) and I think the same thing is occurring with Clowney."
How difficult is it to lose ILB Dylan Cole to injury?
"It hurts because he's a very valuable guy. We had him in a little rotation getting him into the games so that he could play. He has speed matchup, quickness matchup on some of the backs coming out of the backfield. Losing that hurts us a little bit."
What did you think of DE J.J. Watt's performance against the Giants?
"Well, you've got to think that it's pretty good. You get 3.0 sacks and a caused fumble. I'll take it again this week."
What has been the difference in the way DE J.J. Watt has been able to shake off the rust?
"Well, I think the production from last week is evidence that he's beginning to get his game back, he's feeling more comfortable, he can get a feel for the offensive blocker that he's going against and is able to be productive."
What have you seen from Colts C/G Quenton Nelson?
"He's a strong and physical guy. He's got some broad shoulders and he takes guys square on. He's got a little attitude as well. So, I think that will bode well for him down the road."
Do you address challenges or issues differently when you're in an 0-3 hole?
"Well, I think there's more intensity about getting things fixed because you need a win a game. You have to put the emphasis on correcting mistakes, getting guys to the energy and effort that's needed to win because when you lose, everybody thinks that you're definitely a loser and you're not going to be able to win. So, we have to go prove that we can win. Then, I think if we can get us one win, then everybody will feel better and then hopefully we can move forward."
Do you like having a target on your back when people don't think you can win, but being able to prove them wrong?
"Well, first of all, I don't want the target on my back, but unfortunately we have it. So, the only thing that will take it off is a victory. We have to push forward and try to get the victory."
Does needing a win change the way the leaders on your defense interact with younger players?
"I think what happens is the leaders become a little bit more demanding of the younger guys to try to get those guys to do it right and know that every play is important, because you never know which play during the course of the game is the most important play so you have to play them all. That intensity from the leaders, talking to those guys about, 'You cannot take any play off, you have to play the whole game.'"
Do you think that OLB Whitney Mercilus is still getting acquainted back into the swing of things after his injury?
"To a degree. Now, we've moved Whitney around a little bit more than we have in the past. So, when you go to different positions or go against different players, it's a little bit different for you. I think some of that is occurring with Whitney."
It seemed like ILB Zach Cunningham had some issues in coverage can you talk about that?
"Well, he didn't have his best game and I think that he'd tell you that if you asked him. But, he's been working this week and focusing, and I think that you'll see him bounce back, because he's got good talent and good ability and he's been a playmaker for us in the past."
As a coach, how do you make sure guys aren't pointing fingers?
"Basically, you have to talk to them about not pointing fingers and get them to understand that it's a team sport, not an individual sport, and one guy by himself cannot do it, it takes the whole group. So, you keep hammering that into them. That's what we've been doing, and get them to understand that when you point the finger, it doesn't help anybody and then when you point one finger, you got a couple fingers pointing back at yourself. So, look in the mirror if you have any problems and straighten that out first before you start pointing any fingers."
How do you deal with S Justin Reid when he makes rookie mistakes since he has such an impact on this team?
"He's a smart individual, so I think once you tell him and show him the mistakes that he's made, that he will correct them and he makes an effort not to let them happen again. But, like you said, rookies are going to make rookie mistakes. I don't know how you can prevent rookies from making rookie mistakes because it's going to happen, but when they learn from them and don't make them again, then they've made progress."
Have you seen anything from CB Kayvon Webster this week in practice that could lead to him getting more playing time?
"He made a play in practice last week that showed that he knows a little bit about the game and how to play the game, but he's still recovering to a degree. So, we don't know when that time is going to be."
WIDE RECEIVERS COACH JOHN PERRY
Do you feel like WR Keke Coutee is ready to contribute in a game?
"He's been out there practicing with us. I'm really excited for Keke and his opportunity as this week progresses and everything like that. If he continues to do the things he's doing, it'll be an exciting time for him. That's important as he's starting to get ready for his first NFL experience and everything like that. I'm really excited for him."
What does WR Keke Coutee bring to the table?
"He has a lot of quickness. He's a great route runner and he has very strong hands in the intermediate, shorter areas. He's very explosive, which will add one more dimension to our pass offense."
What have you seen from the growth of WR Will Fuller V?
"It's funny that you ask about player development because as a coach, that's everything. You always want to work with players and do the best you can. One of the things that I do is I say to myself, 'This guy does these two things really, really well. And these are maybe two things that he needs to work on.' You get them, put them in a position to do the things they do really well and then as you see their production go up and up then you start to implement drills and techniques that may enhance the things they need to work on. Because you do that, then you start to see these gradual – because everybody's excited about, 'Hey, I'm being really productive and now all of a sudden I'm starting to get better.' If you just showed up for work and said, 'Hey, I'm going to do the two least favorite things right now at 8 o'clock in the morning,' it would be a miserable day. You want to have a very productive day tomorrow? Do the two things that you love to do and it'll be the most productive day of the week. That's where my success has come with player development. Will has embraced that and that's been great for us."
What is it about WR Will Fuller V's connection with QB Deshaun Watson that has allowed them to connect for a touchdown in every game the two have played in together?
"Both of those guys work extremely hard. Will took it upon himself to address some of the things that people said he needed to work on and he worked on those. He grabbed me in OTAs two years ago and continued all the way through training camp this year. He's really worked hard at those things, and then he's worked after practice, before practice with Deshaun and he takes his craft very seriously. That connection has worked well because they're both very good players and we try to put them in positions to be successful."
What have you seen from WR Vyncint Smith?
"He's a guy that's just learning. Learning what it means to be a professional, learning what it means to practice like a professional and along that learning curve. The one thing that I talk to the receivers about all the time, if the learning curve is steep it's hard at first. You have to trudge through the early part of the learning curve, but then you can really shoot up and make some dramatic improvements very quickly and then you hit this level where now you have to trudge along again. Vyncint's in the early stages of that learning curve where you have a guy like (DeAndre) Hop(kins) or Will (Fuller V) who are kind of on the higher end of that learning curve. They have to put in as much effort, but you see that improvement incrementally as opposed to these dramatic improvements. Vyncint has to understand that that's what's going to happen to him in the early part of his career here."
How will WR Keke Coutee's injury affect his learning curve?
"He's taken a great mental approach to the game. He's come in to see me during special teams periods where he's not involved or watch film on his own. He's come in to watch film with myself and we'll just walk through things. It certainly is something that you have to look at, but he's prepared himself. At the end of the day, he's prepared himself to have success."
Does WR Vyncint Smith's background at a small school put him at a disadvantage in regards to his learning curve?
"I don't know that it's necessarily a disadvantage. There's certainly more things that he may encounter along the way that are just different, like the small school, the crowds, those types of things he needs to adjust to. I think he's done a good job of that. I think he has the skillset to play at this level, which is why he's on the 53-man roster, but he certainly has things to improve upon if he wants to be a productive player like I know he wants to be."
What are the challenges of coaching a player with the talent of WR DeAndre Hopkins?
"I think the biggest thing with him is you need to continually challenge him with things. He's just like any other human being. He wants to feel that success. He's going to rise to those challenges. DeAndre is the most competitive person I've ever been around. He's going to go in there and he's going to fight you for the chance to win right down to the last second. So, whether we're in practice doing a third down drill or we're in practice doing some kind of competitive drill, one-on-ones or something like that against the defense, he's the guy who always rises to the occasion. I wouldn't put anything past DeAndre. If I asked him to play the saxophone, I bet he could that."
DE/OLB JADEVEON CLOWNEY
What is the attitude around here as far as trying to get the first win?
"The same as it was last week. Go ahead and compete, try to get a win like we said. Got a big road game, big division game this week against Andrew Luck. Very familiar with these guys, so have to go down and get a win."
Is Colts QB Andrew Luck tough to sack?
"Oh, yeah. He fights through everything. Andrew Luck is very competitive, don't give up on no play and always thinks he has a chance, so it'll be a good game."
Do you feel like you started to knock off some rust after last week?
"Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. This week will be a lot better for me. We expect that, I expect that out of myself. Just looking forward to the game."
Are you excited about the way you're starting to play?
"I'm coming along. I haven't done a lot since the beginning of the season, no training camp, all of that, but like I said, this game should be a lot better for me. I'm expecting a lot better game out of myself this week. Just looking forward to the game."
How much do you think missing training camp has affected the first few weeks?
"A lot, a lot. When you don't play football, you just can't go out there just turn it on. It's hard. You have to work your handwork and technique. You have to actually do it so it's kind of hard, but once you get going, you get the feel back in the game you'll be ready to go."
What have you seen out of the offensive line especially young guys like Colts C/G Quenton Nelson?
"Well, Andrew Luck gets the ball out quick so that's kind of helping them a lot. Everything else is still about the same. Like I said, they're decent up in the middle, there's just been a lot of moving around with the injuries going on, so you never know who's going to play in the game yet. So, just looking forward to, like I said, getting ready to go."
With health being the No. 1 concern, was there anything you could have or should have done to get ready for the season?
"Me? There wasn't anything wrong with me. Wasn't anything wrong with me. I was ready to go when I came back here. That's how I was told to be ready to go the minute you walk in the door, and I was. So, like I said, whatever happened back then, we're here now and just getting ready to prepare for the Colts and looking for a win this week."
Why didn't you participate in training camp?
"I don't know. I don't know."
Did you ever ask the coaches why you weren't participating?
"No, that was not my problem. I play here, just try to get better and get ready for the season and stay on the field. Get ready to go this week."
WR WILL FULLER V
How do you feel about the way you are playing since you got back?
"I feel good, just trying to continue to contribute and try to get a win."
You have a touchdown run with QB Deshaun Watson, what is the connection you guys have?
"Yeah, just practicing hard and just getting our rhythm down in practice. I think that's the biggest key, just the way we practice."
Does QB Deshaun Watson throw a very catchable pass?
"Yeah, I would say so. I just love playing with him and it's just fun out there with him. Just having fun and just trying to continue to compete and just make some plays."
The Colts have a very young secondary like CB Quincy Wilson and S Malik Hooker, what have you seen from them?
"Just looking at him on film, he's real big so he can run sideline to sideline, so he makes a lot of plays out there."
Does it mean something to you when you go back to the state of Indiana where you have a lot of fans from Notre Dame?
"I guess so. I would say so, yeah."
Do you have friends from Notre Dame that will attend the game in Indy?
What have you seen from WR Keke Coutee?
"Yeah, Keke, he's an explosive player. He had a lot of success in college. So, I'm just looking forward to seeing what he's going to do on Sunday."
Defensively, what do you think the Colts point of attack will be?
"I feel like they try to bend but don't break, just try to keep everything in front of them and just try to get some turnovers. They've been making a lot of turnovers, so we just got to secure the ball and make sure we don't turn it over."
How do you guys keep it simple and just try to get the first win?
"Yeah, we just have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot with the penalties, especially earlier on in the game. So, just staying in front of the sticks and just playing our game."
WR DEANDRE HOPKINS
What do you think of the Colts defense?
"They've got a lot of young talent over there, but those guys know how to win. Very, very good defensive guys over there that can make plays on the ball. We've got to come out and play our game."
What have you seen from WR Keke Coutee?
"A young guy that's excited to get out on the field and play. He's been hurt, so the jitters and everything of being in the NFL are gone. He's excited to get out there."
Do you feel like the team has been a few plays away in each game from having a different outcome?
"You could say that about any game, but it's football. You can't go back and rewind time, so the only thing we can do is try to correct the mistakes and come out and be better."
How difficult is it to come from behind in a game?
"It's the NFL. It's hard to win games coming from behind, so starting fast is something that we're practicing this week, something we're working on. We've put ourselves behind in a lot of games. It's hard to beat any NFL team being behind."
What do you think of Colts WR T.Y. Hilton as a player?
"I love T.Y.'s game. He's a quiet guy, very underrated when people talk about top receivers, but every year he's going to put up numbers."
S JUSTIN REID
How excited are you and your family for your brother signing with the Carolina Panthers?
"It's an awesome opportunity. The only way I would personally be happier is if he ended up on a team that was on our schedule so that way I'd get a chance to play against him, but it's super exciting for him. I know he's already over there at the facility getting solid with that playbook, so it's cool."
What has the free agency process been like for your brother Eric?
"It's just been a journey for him. He's been out of the league for a little while. He's been up with his fitness, though. He's been consistently prepared for when this opportunity did come. I know he that he had the chance to go up to the Titans, but that didn't work out. This new opportunity showed up and he's going to be able to take advantage of it. The Panthers just got a whole lot better. Their team just got better having him on their squad. It's good for the organization and it's good for him."
How proud are you of your brother Eric?
"Immensely. Immensely proud of what he's done, immensely proud of what all the guys have done that are trying to have a voice for the voiceless."
How big is this game on Sunday?
"It's a big game. This is a divisional game. If we win the rest of our divisional games, then we're in the playoffs. That's all that's on our minds right now."
When did you find out your brother was being signed by the Panthers?
"I've known about the conversation since Tuesday. So, I've actually been following the process and just keeping my mouth shut about it, but the news finally came out about it, so it's very cool."