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Josh McDaniels Conference Call Transcript
Q: The team is 9-0 this season when rushing 30-plus times. Granted, that number could be skewed by trying to run down the clock by running the ball when the team has a lead, but you have stayed committed to the running game even when the team has been trailing in games against New Orleans and Denver, among others. What are your thoughts on that statistic?
JM: Well, it's always something that we want to try to do each week in terms of maintaining our balance that's for sure. We have good backs that can all do good things when we hand them the ball, so that's definitely part of our game plan each week. I think each game is different in terms of the type of success you're having running the ball. Some of the things you may see that, if you make an adjustment, you may improve your ratio of success as the game goes on, so you continue to do some of those things. Certainly the game situation, if it gets too late in the game then you start to get into a situation where it's very difficult to continue handing the ball off because, one, you continue to keep the clock moving and two, you've probably got to score and pick up yards quicker. So, like I said we want to try to maintain our balance. That's a goal of ours to try to run the ball and throw it well each week and we have great confidence in the people that are running it. We feel like we've continued to get better in a lot of the things we're doing in the running game as the season has progressed. I think patience in the running game sometimes pays off big as the game goes on, and I think that's kind of what you were referring to. You've got to stay committed to it as long as the game is within reach and try to help diminish some of the opportunities that the other team has to create some negative plays if you turn into an all pass game.
Q: The Colts have a pretty good defense and pass rusher in Robert Mathis, yet they gave up 44 points the other day. Does that surprise you that Kansas City was able to score that many points and did you see something there that maybe you can take advantage of?
JM: I think that Indianapolis, they are a good defense. They have played well during the course of the season. I think Kansas City took advantage of a few opportunities and really made some big plays in critical situations and then I think took advantage of some turnovers in the game to create the lead that they ended up playing with most of the time. So, I think the turnovers, a few big plays here or there can certainly change the complexion of any game and seemed to do that the other day. That being said, this is a tremendously disruptive group. You mentioned Mathis, who certainly does a great job of getting to the quarterback and creating turnovers. They've forced a lot of negative runs in the last half of the season here and put some people in some negative yardage situations. They make it difficult to stand back there and throw the ball consistently because they do have a good pass rush and they mix some pressure in there too to create some issues for you in your protection. [It's] a big challenge for us certainly. We've got a good long, hard week of work ahead for us.
Q: I was just wondering if you could share your experience over the weekend talking to the Cleveland Browns about their prospective head coaching vacancy?
JM: I appreciate the question and I understand it. I know that's something that comes up each time this year for other coaches. The opportunities are certainly flattering if they come up. That being said, I am going to try to keep my focus on the Colts and our preparation this week. Like I've said in the past, I'm fortunate to have the job I have and I love being here. I love doing what I'm doing. Each opportunity that comes along is a little different and I'm going to leave it at that and continue to put my effort and attention into the Colts this week.
Q: Can you confirm that you did sit down with Cleveland over the weekend and that any decision by them or you is still in the works?
JM: We met and that's about all there is at this point. Nothing, nothing further.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Robert Mathis and just how disruptive he is. What do you see from him in terms of his ability to disrupt the game and how they move him around to do so?
JM: He seems to be getting increasingly better as the years go on, which as an offensive coach, you tend to hope it goes the other direction. For Robert, I think this has certainly been an incredible year. We've certainly seen every play that they've had on defense this year, and he's as disruptive a player on the edge as we have played or will play. He's got great speed and acceleration. He certainly does a great job of turning the corner. He is very rarely on the ground and his motor, his effort are incredible. You can't ever assume that, ‘Well I did enough,' because if you assume that then usually he ends up finishing the play better than you did and a lot of times that ends up in a bad situation for the offense. He does, he will, play on either side. There are some things where you can maybe by percentages and the personnel grouping you're in and the grouping they're in, kind of figure out where he may be more. I would say by percentages he's more on the left than the right, but like I said, that doesn't mean a whole lot because he definitely has been disruptive on both sides. They will flip him. You cannot guarantee that you're going to get him in one specific spot during the course of the game. I think that forces both tackles to prepare and be ready to block him at any time because you just never know. They do a good job of blitzing enough to make sure that you can't just stand there and help on him all day. It would be great to say, ‘Well, why don't we just put a guy over there to help.' Well, they pressure enough with enough people, use the secondary, use the linebackers, that some of those people that you would like to use in help on a guy like him may have to be blocking blitzers as they send them. So, it's a difficult – he's had an incredible year. It's a difficult matchup for every team because he is such an elite pass rusher. You have to do a great job of knowing where he's at and try to help on him as much as you can. Certainly, I would think that getting the ball out on time, whatever that means – if it's a longer developing play or if it's a quick throw or something like that, I think that you have to do a good job of understanding the concept of the play and then making sure the ball is out when it is supposed to be out.
Q: With regards to the Colts, what do you see from their run defense?
JM: The Colts, it's an active front first of all. This is a team that will pressure a good chunk of the game, so you're going to have to deal with, [number] one, some blitzers down there near the front, a safety that comes down near the front. They've got some solid interior guys that create some negative plays by getting into the gaps, penetrating into the backfield. They've got some quickness and ability to get up the field like that inside, which has been disruptive for them. I think this is a team that tries to do a good job of setting an edge on the running game. [Erik] Walden and Mathis do a pretty good job of that in trying to force the ball back inside where their help is in terms of the safeties and the linebackers. I think that we've seen a lot of times this year where teams have tried to circle them up and tried to outrun them, and this is a pretty fast defense. It's difficult to do that, because whether it is the outside linebackers – Walden or Mathis – or the inside linebackers, who both have good speed, or the safeties who both run very well as well, it's very difficult to do that. So, you've got to try to do the best you can of eliminating those penetration plays into the backfield and get a hat on one of the down safeties when he is down there, which is quite a bit, and try to get the runner started through the line of scrimmage and continue to make positive plays through the running game if you can.