AUG. 28, 2014
PRESEASON GAME 4 — COLTS AT BENGALS
Initial comments ...
“It’s a good finish to our preseason. You know, we’ve evolved a lot in my time here. We came into this last game, and we put guys out there who were fighting for jobs and who are going to have opportunities to likely be backups on this team and at some point be pressed into duty. To give them the playtime tonight really — it satisfied us to do that.
“I think we came out of it with just one nick, which was
“He’s continued to strive and push harder to be better. He should dominate in a game like this, and he did. That’s what you want to see. You want to see him dominate. That’s the confidence he needs. It gives him the opportunity to critique himself. It’s real life snaps and he gets to finish the rushes.
“A lot of guys can do good things in practice, but you have to go out and finish the rush. That’s how you build your repertoire of moves.”
“Well, Jeremy has to understand what it’s like to be an NFL running back. We aren’t five deep. When we get to Sundays and we go down to 46 guys, and if he’s going to be the guy, then he’s going to have to be able to shoulder the load. You can get some good conditioning out here tonight. He’s going to learn to run with his pads down and protect the football. They were good snaps for him to learn with tonight.”
There seemed to be a little disappointment last week with Jeremy in the passing game ...
“Well, he had a couple balls he could have caught a turned into better plays. I don’t know if the lights got him, but the ball got up on him and he didn’t make the catches. Part of the reason we brought him here was his ability to receive the football. We feel really good about that.”
There was a nice series from
“It was a good play. You know, Cobi has had some good plays this preseason and he’s had some that weren’t quite good enough. He’s had a lot of opportunity to play, so that’s good.”
You talked about your evolution, and this season you had 43 guys sitting out. That has to be part of the evolution, right?
“We had a lot. We were able to get to this point, and for the most part we’re going into the opening week and we are about as healthy as we can be and we have to feel good about that. That’s been our goal from the beginning, which is to get our football done, and we have to press forward and make sure it’s good enough.”
Did you feel like your number ones were good enough that they didn’t have to play?
“They’ve done good things. They have a lot of practice ahead to get ready. They’ve gone out and played good productive snaps and good series each and every week. That’s where we are.”
With a veteran team, is there more relief that the preseason is over?
“The preseason provides us the opportunity to work on things that are new and to do football in pads. It’s a body of work. It’s the opportunity to evaluate new players, and we have been able to do that. I’m relieved that we were able to get through without a major injury. We have to keep our heads down and keep working. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We know it’s going to be a challenging season, but we made it through another step of that, so let’s keep pushing forward.”
How good was it to see Jeremy Hill catch a ball and go 35 extra yards?
“It was great. That’s going to be a big part of our game this year. He likes to attack every corner of the field. It was a good offensive performance for him.”
You probably see guys who get tired and ready to tap out. Did Jeremy Hill say anything during the first half about being ready to tap out?
“He knew he was going to be the bell cow tonight. It gave him a chance to see what it will feel like during the regular season. What better way to get yourself in shape than playing in weather like this? When the season starts, you’ll have already done it before.”
Did Hill ever tell you he was tired in the huddle?
“I didn’t know if he was going to make it. He was gassed. He did a great job.”
That seemed like one of the easier touchdown catches you’ve had ...
“Yeah, it’s the easiest one I’ll get in the NFL. I’m very fortunate to have Tyler (Wilson) out there throwing to me and looking after me. It worked all the way around, so I’m happy.”
Do you and
“Of course. I was his guy at Arkansas, so he has that confidence to throw the ball to me. Whether he completes it or not, he still has that confidence. I think it’s something that carried over from Arkansas.”
Do you feel good about your final preseason game?
“I always feel that I can do better. Blocking — small things — details in the game. I need to do better. I did alright, but you always want to have a perfect game.”
Did you feel pressure tonight?
“Not really. I knew I would play a lot. I knew I would have a lot of opportunities, so I didn’t think about the pressure.”
Does the outcome of this game give you guys a boost going into Baltimore?
“I think it does. We had a pretty good preseason as a unit. We’ll come back to work Monday and get ready for Baltimore. I’m excited.”
First of all, did you just hit your funny bone when you hurt your elbow?
“Yeah, it was just a funny-bone shot. I was trying to dive and get some extra yards, and I just landed on it funny. But I was fine. I had it looked it, and I was good to go. I finished a little stronger than I started, so I was happy with that. Now I’m going to look at the film and get better from it.”
You had 20 touches for 123 yards. That’s a pretty good day ...
“I think it was a pretty good day. I wanted to make a few more guys miss than I did. The first guy tackled me on more occasions than I would’ve liked, but that’s part of the game. I’ve just got to keep getting better. Looking back, overall, I think it was a solid day. I just have to get better, and I will once I look at the film.”
One of the most impressive things was your willingness to step in on blitz. You stuck your nose in there under the chin of a couple linebackers, and gave your QB ample opportunity to throw the ball ...
“Most definitely. Coach Hue (Jackson) did a great job this week of getting us those looks. All those looks that they showed, I was ready for them. I was looking at film and studying before the game. I stuck my head in there, picked it up and gave my quarterback time, which is something we harp on every week. That was something I was happy about, and that’s the biggest thing I’m taking away from this game.”
Were you surprised that you got as many touches as you did?
“Yeah, I was kind of joking since some guys were hurt, and asking other guys to help me out today. I kind of figured I would be getting a big work load today. It’s part of it. I just have to get myself in better shape. On one of those drives I got a little tired. But for the most part, I got my wind back and started finishing runs. It’s something I can hang my hat on.”
Veteran Terrance Newman was impressed with your performance. What does that mean to you?
“It means a lot to me. Some of the vets have been happy with what they’ve seen from me. As a rookie, the biggest thing you can do is gain their respect. Once they see that you can help the team win, that’s the biggest thing. I think that’s the most important thing for a rookie. I am starting to gain the respect and trust of those guys. The more plays I make out there, the better it is for myself and for the team. That is something I definitely don’t take for granted.”
You had about 160 all-purpose yards in the game tonight. It was kind of a coming out party for you. It had to be fun tonight ...
“I did some good things tonight. There are some plays that I want to take back — not letting the first guy take me down in a few cases more than I would like. It was a solid performance by the team. We did a lot of great things out there.”
You showed you can do it all tonight. You can catch the ball. You can run the ball. You did it all tonight. How much confidence does that give you going into the regular season?
“I’m definitely always confident. They wouldn’t put me in this position if they didn’t know I could do those things. I just have to do on game day the same things I do every day in practice. It’s just being able to showcase it in front of the world, with more people being able to see it. Like I said, there are a few plays I’d want to take back, but overall, I did a solid job. That’s something that I pride myself on.”
Talk about the workload you had tonight. You were involved in 27 of 47 plays at one point. Is that OK with you?
“Oh, most definitely. I think that is something bigger backs are always accustomed to, just getting a workload. That’s something I did in college and high school — my whole life. It’s definitely great to do it on this level.”
You handled the offensive linemen pretty well tonight ...
“I got a few good opportunities to put the speed move on them. I tried to really work on finishing.”
You had a few tackles for losses, which is just as good as a sack ...
“We need to be effective on first and second down so we can put them in third-and-long.”
Where are you now compared to last year?
“There is a big difference. Last year, I was just trying to catch up. I was playing slow because I was trying to learn everything. Now I know what to do, and what to look at on film. It’s been working out.”
You put on some good weight in the offseason, and that seems to be helping ...
“Definitely. I have been staying around 290 to 295 pounds. That’s helped in the run game, but also with my speed as well with my explosiveness in going after the quarterback.”
Are you happy where you are in the defensive line rotation?
“Absolutely. I’m just trying to be as effective as I can.”
You had to really concentrate on the touchdown pass with the ball being deflected ...
“Normally, in college, I was a fullback running the flat route, so that was the first time I got around the corner. The ball got deflected and came right to me. I was lucky.”
Wrap up the preseason with your play and the team’s play ...
“We came strong the second half of the preseason, and that’s what we needed to do. We needed to show we could win and finish the games. Personally, I think I had a very good preseason. It was a good experience and a good preseason.”
What are your thoughts on making the roster as a rookie?
“You know, that’s out of my hands. I’ve done everything that I can to put myself in the best position possible. I’ll be looking at my phone, but I can’t do anything about it.”
How do you feel going into the season?
“As a team, we got a lot better during camp and how we progressed each game and every week, that’s what you need to do leading up to the real thing and that’s why you do it. We finished on a good note tonight. We have a little extra time before Baltimore. We’ll be ready to go.”
COLTS POSTGAME QUOTES
AUG. 28, 2014
PRESEASON GAME 4 — COLTS AT BENGALS
Initial comments ...
“From an injury standpoint, Joe Reitz went out with an ankle. We’ll know more tomorrow. Andrew Jackson went out at the end of the game with cramps. Matt Hall went out with an elbow injury. Credit Cincinnati — they came to play. We didn’t. They beat us in all three phases, top to bottom. There were some bright spots. We got a chance to evaluate a lot of young guys. We’ll look at the tape. We’ve got decisions to make in the next 24-48 hours, as far as the roster goes. So we’ll take a look at the young guys who got a chance to play a lot tonight.”
DE Tyler Hoover played left tackle tonight. Was that something he had practiced much?
“He came here as a defensive lineman. He played a little bit of it and actually got some scholarship offers for it coming out of high school. He played offensive tackle and defensive tackle. We had depth at the defensive line and wanted to move him over there two or three weeks ago.”
Do you have any concerns at all about going winless in the preseason?
“Yeah. We like to compete and win every time we take the field. Obviously I know what the record is. I know teams have won every game in the preseason and not fared well (in the regular season). I know teams in the past have lost every game in the preseason and fared well. We’ve got a good football team, we’re going to have a good football team, and we’re going to win a lot games. We’ve got a lot of things to clean up, period.”
You have nine or 10 days until your first regular-season game, but despite that, what is your level of concern regarding the health of your offensive line?
“Probably the same as yours. We’ve got a lot of injuries. We don’t have a lot of time. And you know what? Nobody really cares, and nobody really feels sorry for us. So, it’s next man up.”
Do you expect that situation to be in play over the next couple of days, from a roster standpoint?
“As soon as we find out the severity of these next two (injuries), we’ll move forward and make the decisions we have to make.”
Do you expect C/G Khaled Holmes to be back from Game 1 of the regular season?
How has CB Marcus Burley played the last couple of games?
“He’s done a nice job. He’s made a case for himself.”
What was the conversation you had with Da’Rick Rogers when he came off the field after his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty?
“It’s unacceptable. It does not represent anything we’re about. I apologize to our fans. That’s on me.”
On players counting roster spots ...
“Coach Pagano’s message has been pretty clear and consistent; don’t count numbers, don’t worry about things that are outside your control. Even if you’re counting numbers on your roster, you’re competing with everybody they can find in the world to do your job. It could be in Daniel Adongo’s hometown, you know? Or Bjoern Werner’s hometown. I think there was a lot of good stuff from Chand (Harnish).”
Do you guys want Chandler Harnish to make the roster?
“Absolutely. I think even for us to just protect ourselves. We’re all friends and family right now. We’re going to lose friends and family here; it’s a tough situation. It’s a defense mechanism for us to just kind of like not deal with the reality. A lot of time you wake up and the guy’s gone, guys in your locker room are gone, and you don’t get a chance to say goodbye. It happened with the first round of cuts. They’re just gone; there’s no goodbye, no shaking your hand, no ‘Good luck.’ You come to work and their locker’s empty, and that’s it.”
How do you deal with that?
“That’s the hardest part of the job. You’re just glad you’re not the guy that has to make that decision.”
On playing offensive tackle ...
“It was a huge opportunity. The coaches asked if I could try to step up. We’ve had a number of linemen go down. They knew I had the body for it, the big frame. To tell you the truth, I’ve been thinking about it for a while; me being able to play another position. So it was a huge opportunity and I couldn’t be more thankful. That was the most I ever played offense.”
Had you ever played offense before?
“High school was the first time I played offense. Coming in here, it’s a lot different competition and a whole different story, a lot to learn.”
With the health situation, maybe there’s an opportunity for you here in the next few weeks ...
“Yeah, obviously they’re going to check out the tape to see if I have potential, to see if that’s where I belong. All I know all I can do is control the things that are given to me”
What do you think about your preseason performance?
“I just gave it my all. Hopefully I showed them something to keep me around.”
What do you think you showed the coaching staff why you should make the team?
“My return skills, really.”
This is probably not the way you wanted to finish the preseason. Assess how it went for you out there ...
“Yeah, just did not go the way we wanted it to. (We) did not execute as an offense as a whole. Can’t make a blame to anybody — I’ve just got to evaluate myself first and look at the film, get better and let the chips fall where they may this weekend.”
What will the next few days be like for you; you’ve been through this before a few times already in your career?
“The one thing I’ve learned is you just never know. You never know — it’s a business. You never take anything personally. You understand what’s going on — injuries and all those sort of things — and the most I know right now is I’m an Indianapolis Colt. I love being a Colt and we’ll just roll with the punches as they come.”
How difficult was it to work as an offense when you had guys going in and out, guys who barely played up to this point, etc.?
“I think I would be going down a slippery slope if I was to start pointing blame or anything. We just didn’t execute as an offense. Communication wasn’t up to par. We didn’t make plays when we had to and we made a big mistake with my interception. Like I said, we’re all at the pro level now and be able to come out, execute, do what we do. Run the ball, catch the ball and block and we just didn’t do those core fundamentals. We need to get back in the film room, continue to develop and learn from what we did wrong.”
How strong is your desire to remain with the Colts?
“I love Indy. I’m from Indiana in the first place. I love my quarterback room. I love (offensive coordinator) Pep Hamilton, (head coach) Chuck Pagano. It’s just a great, great organization. It’s first class, it really is, as is everything we do. Like I said, I want to be a Colt and I’ll roll with the punches as they come.”
You scored the only Colts touchdown and then kicked the football into the stands after you scored. What were you thinking?
“I wasn’t thinking. That’s on me. That just my misunderstanding of the rules of the game and that’s all on me. It was just a mistake.”
Was it something you thought you could do for fun?
“At the moment, I did. Coming over to the sidelines, I definitely realized (it wasn’t).
Coach Pagano didn’t think it was too fun ...
“No sir, no sir — he did not. I definitely learned my lesson about that. (I’ve) got to be more aware of the rules of celebration.”
What’s your level of concern about making this team?
“At an all-time high, and that’s not just because it’s the end of camp; that’s every day. With the room that we have and the talent that we have in our room, every day is a competition. You got to come out and work.”
You’re physical, especially in tackling — has that always been a strength of your game?
“Oh yeah, definitely. Just running to the ball, making plays however you can.”
What are the next couple of days like as you wait to hear the final roster cuts. Can you relax?
“You know, you try to wait it out the best you can. That’s all you can do.”
Do you feel like you did what you came to do in this camp?
“Yes and no. I came with the right mindset, and I think I made strides, but my goals haven’t been reached yet. I want to do more. I still want to learn the defense more, I still want to make more plays, so I’m still just trying to get my foot in the door. I’m not satisified.”
Do you feel like you did enough to make this football team?
“We’ll see. We’ll see on Sunday. I’m confident, you know, but I don’t worry about what I can’t control. I just go out there, play hard — that’s all I can do.”
What will the next couple of days be like for you?
“I’m just gonna go chill. Get some treatment on Friday, cheer on (alma mater) Ball State on Saturday and Sunday, hopefully, I’ll get the good news.”
How sweet would it be for you to go from Ball State to the Colts?
“Dream come true, man. Dream come true. It would be big for the whole university, where I’m from (in) Cleveland, Glenville, everybody I represent.”