Coach Jim Caldwell (10/11/10)
On if he thinks there needs to be a clear-cut identity for the team:
Well, you certainly would. You’d like an identity where you’re performing well in all three phases. That’s what you’re searching for, real consistency in all those areas where you come out week-to-week and know what you’re going to get. We all have an idea of what we expect, but to know what we’re going to get is different. Now, and we say that, but you also have to understand this league is so competitive and the talent level is so close that every game is going to be a close game. I mean it’s rare when a game is decided by more than a touchdown. Think about it in previous years, think about all the games this past week, just look at how many teams had to come from behind to win, how tight they were, it was depending on a field goal or win in overtime, like Washington did. That’s the nature of this game. I remember when I first came into the league and we were down in Tampa and Tony (Dungy) was talking about a stat, and I can’t remember exactly what the percentage was, but he said this, ‘Most games come down to that you are going to have the ball and you’re trying to drive and get in position to score to either tie it or win it, or you’re going to be on defense trying to prevent a team that’s trying to get into position to either tie or win it with a touchdown. That’s how it boils down a great majority of the time.’ And I think that is indeed the case. It’s rare when you have one that is decided by more than that. It’s always in the balance. It’s tough. It’s very difficult.
On how much of a boost Mike Hart gave the team:
A couple of things, he knows the offense, number one. He’s certainly been immersed in it for quite sometime, so he can function without any hesitation. We don’t necessarily have to curtail things when he is in the ballgame, so that was helpful, in terms of overall scheme, pass protection, things of that nature. But then also, he gave us a lift because of the fact that he was pretty tough in his runs. I mean he converted a number of second downs to first downs, third downs to first downs and then, obviously, the run at the end of the game on the last drive was significant. He did a lot of things really well for us.
On game overall:
Overall, I think we did a lot of things well. I think from a defensive standpoint, our guys played with a lot of energy (and) made very few mistakes. I thought the pursuit was excellent. To be able to hold a pretty potent offense without a touchdown in the ballgame is pretty significant. They had two trips in the red zone, and they came away with only a field goal. I think they were one-of-10, in terms of third-down conversions. So, all of those things are pretty significant. I certainly was pleased with the way in which we played. We tackled well. But we still have to improve. That’s the great thing about it. We still have a challenge ahead. Special teams, I thought we handled a very dangerous group of return men on both the punt and also the kickoff, guys got down the field and covered, didn’t let them out, had a number of tackles inside of the 20-yard line. P-Pat (McAfee) punted the ball well. K-Adam (Vinatieri) was four of four, in terms of his field goals. So, all of those things, you certainly can’t be displeased with. Offensively, we ended up with five scoring drives, albeit four of them ended in field goals, and we’d certainly like to have some touchdowns. We just were a little bit inconsistent, in terms of being able to finish in the red zone. We were very close and couldn’t get a couple of them done. I thought we started out decently, in terms of our run game. We ran the ball fairly well early, and then we kind of just got bogged down a little bit, didn’t run the ball nearly as effectively as we’d like to. Our pass protection wasn’t as sound as we’d like. Like we always say, the quarterback getting hit one time is too many, and he got knocked around a couple times in there.
On the play of Aaron Francisco:
I think he did a nice job. He didn’t make many mistakes, kept things in front of him, ran to the ball well, but for one week of work, I think he did a pretty good job.
On Donald Brown's status:
I could not say that because I do not know at this point to be honest with you.
On if he sensed that the defensive players had taken all of the stories being written about them not performing well personally:
I sensed it, but maybe not for the same exact reasons. I tend to think that these guys have a lot of pride in what they do, and when they don’t perform well they usually try and find a way to correct that problem. We have a bunch of guys that aren’t necessarily externally motivated. They get motivated by being better, doing better at what they do. I think I did see a little more of a concerted effort in some areas, even though when I say that, typically we don’t have bad practices, guys work hard and work hard all the time, and it wasn’t really any difference in that regard, to me. But in terms of intent, I don’t think there is any question when they went out on Sunday they were looking to try to establish themselves and establish it early.