BB: Really we worked on everything. We worked on the running game, the passing game. We worked on situational football, same thing in the kicking game; things that potentially the three opponents that we could have faced, some things that they had in common. Again, as Tom said, more importantly, things that we think we've had trouble with, things that we need to do better in anticipation of teams looking at our last few games and seeing things on film that our opponents have had some success with against us that we wanted to make sure that we had those things tightened up. As I said, we spent quite a bit of time on situational football: third down, red area, goal line, short-yardage, two-minute, end of game type things, stuff like that.
Q: What have you noticed about how opponents have tried to defend T.Y. Hilton since Reggie Wayne went out? Have you noticed them matching up a specific defensive back against him or does it go in a different direction in terms of their plan against him?
BB: I think each team has kind of had their own way of doing things, depending on what their personnel was and their scheme. It looks like some teams paid more attention to him; other teams did what they would normally do, like Kansas City. That's pretty common. I think you see that throughout the course of the year. You just have to decide based on your personnel and your scheme and how you feel the matchups are, how you're going to play it. We've all seen examples of playing teams twice a year where it might not be the same in the same year for whatever reason. We'll look at all the games and all the teams that have played them and obviously take a note of the things that worked well, the things that didn't, but we may or may not be able to do those things based on what we have and what we do. That's kind of a normal Tuesday thing, just going through all that, that process and all that information.
Q: What are his strengths as a receiver?
BB: He's fast, he's quick, he's got very good ball skills. He draws, I would say, a lot of defensive penalties too because of his quickness and his ability to separate. I'm not saying they all get called, but he has some defensive penalties as well as all the yards he's got catching the ball. He's good after the catch. He was their returner up [until] halfway through the season, whatever it was so he's obviously very good with the ball in his hands as well.
Q: Have you ever had your roster stretched the way it's been this year with injuries?
BB: I don't know. We'd have to go back and look at it. I'm not sure.
Q: Are you pleased with the way that players who were called upon have responded?
BB: Yeah, I think our team has tried to compete hard every week. They've prepared well, they've competed hard. Some weeks it's worked out, some weeks it hasn't but we've been in every game right down to the final possession, right down to the wire. Sometimes we've made the plays we needed to make to win and a couple examples we came up a little bit short. But I thought the competitiveness and the resolve, the effort from the team, were good. It wasn't always perfectly done. I'm not saying we always played right or anything but we always competed hard and put a real high effort on the field.
Q: I read that Indianapolis has used 36 offensive players this year, the most in the league. How much has their scheme evolved with their first-year coordinator during the course of the season with all the different guys that have come and gone?
BB: They're very much a game plan offense. What you see them doing in one game is not necessarily what you see them doing in another game. They've used a lot of bigger people groupings – fullbacks, tight ends and then Saturday against Kansas City it was almost all 11 personnel – three receivers and a tight end. That kind of comes and goes depending on the game plan and the matchups and whatever other factors they have. We've seen a lot of different combinations offensively from the Colts. We know that they had a lot of success last week against Kansas City and we certainly have to be ready for that. Maybe that will be what we get but maybe that will be more of a game plan thing for Kansas City. Maybe they'll look at us differently, maybe they won't. We'll just have to wait until Saturday to see on that. But Pep [Colts Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton] looks like a very game plan oriented coach and it's hard to predict exactly what they're going to do from game to game.
Q: Regarding consistent principles defensively, is there any carryover in your approach to Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger who can create with their legs, to how you'll need to defend Andrew Luck?
BB: I think each guy kind of has his own strengths. Like Roethlisberger is not really that dangerous to run for a lot of yardage but he's very hard to bring down and he extends plays in the pocket whereas a guy like Newton can gain a lot of yards if he gets some space. Luck is maybe somewhere in between. He's certainly capable of making plays with his feet and gaining yardage but he's also very good at extending plays and sliding in the pocket or even getting out of the pocket and giving his receivers a chance to scramble and get open, uncover. He does all those things. He uses all those tools. Certainly doing a good job on him and trying to force the ball out on time will be important, as it always is but he's made a lot of plays both running – he's their third leading rusher, he's got some yardage running the ball – but he also extends plays and gives receivers a chance to adjust their routes and he does a good job getting his eyes down field and finding them, kind of like Roethlisberger does. He has multiple elements there to his game.
Q: The Colts gave up 44 points. Did you see vulnerabilities in their defense you could take advantage of this weekend?
BB: Every game you go into, you feel like you can do something. I'm sure we'll get our game plan together, work on it this week and go into the game feeling that we have some plays that we can use to move the ball. How exactly all those will pan out, that's what we're working on. I don't think we've ever played a team that we didn't feel like that against so I'm sure we'll feel that way this week too.
Q: But were there any signs of weakness there that perhaps you saw that might come in handy this week?
BB: Whenever you watch a team – you watch Kansas City play Indianapolis, Kansas City had different players that we do, they run a different scheme than we do. We're not going to change our offense and put in all the plays that they run. We're going to, maybe we might get an idea or two from that game and the other games they played before that but we're not going to change our wholesale offense just because we saw somebody else do something. That's what they do. We'll try to find things that we can do that we feel like we can attack the Colts with. I'm sure that we'll have those in the game plan. It's no different than any other week. I hope we can find something that we can move the ball with but you have to go out there and execute it and do it at a high level.
Q: You're 9-0 when you rush 30 or more times in a game. What do you make of that statistic?
BB: I'm sure a lot of those rushes came when we were ahead so it's easy when you're ahead in the fourth quarter to want to run the ball. The problem is getting to that point. I don't think that statistic is that significant. What's significant is how you get the lead to put yourself in that situation in the game. Anytime you get 12, 14 carries in the fourth quarter, that's going to get you up to 30 rushes normally.
Q: There were a couple games and situations where you guys persevered with the run even though you were behind and it paid off.
BB: There's always an element to if you can balance off your offense to try to balance it off and give the defense more things to work on that, again, in some of those games when a team is playing you more to throw the ball, then that gives you more opportunities to run it. If a team is playing you more to run the ball, then that gives you more opportunities to throw it. Again, I think the most important thing for us has always been moving the ball and scoring points. It's not about how many runs or how many passes or how many times we throw the ball to this guy or how many times that guy carries the ball. It's about trying to match up and attack our opponents and score points. I think that's really the measure of what you do offensively. Can you score points and score enough points to win? All the other stats you want to throw in there are relevant but they're not as important as scoring. On the flip side of it of course is the turnovers. If you can score points and not turn the ball over, you're probably going to win a lot of games in this league. If you're not scoring a lot of points and you're turning the ball over, then you're probably not wining very many games. To me, that's really what it comes down to. However that happens, whether you throw it 50 times or run it 50 times. Either one could be good as long as you're achieving your goal of moving the ball and scoring points and not turning it over.