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Indianapolis Colts Postgame Transcripts 10/4

HEAD COACH FRANK REICH

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 4, 2018

FR: Injury update: [Anthony] Walker-concussion, [Clayton] Geathers- neck and concussion, [Denico] Autry- hamstring, [Matthias] Farley- hamstring. You know, just to start off as far as the game is concerned, just to address it up front, we had a lot of stuff. A lot of banged up guys going in and I just want to say up front, any questions on that, that is no excuse. We felt very confident going into this game going in. it was what it was, every team deals with the same thing in the NFL. It’s the hand that is dealt you. We didn’t think about it, talk about it the whole week, all we talked about was coming in here and play good football against a good team on the road. And we got off to a slow start, we cannot do that. You can’t have penalties, turnovers, and drops against a good team, against any team, especially on the road. So, we just got to pick up the pieces and I still have a lot of confidence in our players. I have a lot of belief and confidence in our players. We will get back to work. We are excited about the rest of the season and I’m excited about the guys we have on the team. I would go to battle with these guys anytime. They are fighting hard, we just need to play better football.

Q: Frank, in your coaching career, have you ever started a game with 44 guys up and not 46?

FR: Yes.

Q: It’s happened before?

FR: Yes.

Q: When you are down like that, how crushing are the mistakes? You know, just numerically?

FR: I promise you, we don’t ever think we are outmanned. We never think we are outmanned. Others might think that, but we don’t think that. We think about, we got to make the plays that come to us. We work hard. We said at the beginning of the year, we got 53 guys on the roster, 10 guys on the practice squad, this is our team. Takes everybody and it happens to every team in the NFL like this.

Q: We asked you earlier in the week about the drops, and it’s kind of snowballed, Chester [Rogers] had a big drop, Pats get an interception. How do you guys offset those types of miscues?

FR: We just try to keep working. And we just got to keep working and catch as many balls as we can. Catch as many balls as we can. Obviously, the drops are unacceptable. We have been doing great catching the ball until the last two week, so we just got to get that back on track. I mean, we are throwing a lot of passes, so you are probably going have one or two, that happens. But, we just got to get back on track in that regard.

Q: Do you think there is an underlying issue there?

FR: No, I don’t think, I just think we’ve got to make those plays. It’s concentration. The guys we have, I know they have good hands. I mean, I see them everyday in practice. We don’t have any guys that don’t have good hands, they all have good hands. It’s just a matter of concentration.

Q: Frank, are you seeing anything different in Andrew [Luck] these last few weeks? He seems to be throwing extraordinarily well.

FR: Yeah, he’s playing really good, really good again tonight. I mean, he really played good. Really played good football, threw the ball great, every kind of throw that you could throw. Very good decisions, playmaking, he played very good tonight.

Q: What changed in the second half? I mean, 24-3 in the half, I think and then there was a fire in the second half that you had, that it didn’t seem like you had in the first half. Obviously it helps when Andrew gets hot…

FR: I don’t think, I could be wrong on this, but I don’t think we had any penalties after half. And I think we made a few plays. And this is a crazy game, you make a few plays, other than drop the ball, and you make a few plays, you get a little bit of momentum and we got that in the second half. And got them on the heels a little bit, the way we were moving it around and the way Andrew was throwing it, so we just got to be more consistent.

Q: This was a bigger gap that your previous three losses, but every one of them, like you said, has been a couple plays. But the reality is, you are 1-4. How do you feel about that?

FR: Yeah, well, what we just talked about it in the locker room is this. And I don’t want to over dramatize this, but there is no other locker room I’d rather be in. But here’s the deal, we got to own what we put up. We put up 1-4 and we got to own that. And that’s part of turning things around. We believe we have a good team and we have not played our best football yet. We are not consistent enough. We have plenty of good stuff going on, we have to be more consistent for 60 minutes.

Q: You’re in a situation now that you had a short week and now you have 10 days off. Do you look at it as an opportunity to get some guys back during that 10-day gap in between games?

FR: Yeah, I think we will. I think we will probably get one or two guys back. I don’t want to project who that might be yet, but the extra couple days rest will probably come at a good time for us.

Q: Is this where Anthony [Castonzo] was kind of an emergency guy tonight?

FR: Yeah, Anthony was just an emergency. We knew he was progressing well, but we wanted to be cautious given the setback he had, but given the circumstances he coming into the game. Anthony did a great thing, he kind of stepped up and said, ‘Hey listen man, I want to be there for the team. I’ll be the emergency guy. I could go if I have to.’ But we told him he didn’t have to go, we wanted to wait until he was 100%.

Q: We’ve talked about the offense, but the defense, two turnovers, especially one in the red zone. You guys seem to be pretty creative when it comes to turnovers so far this season.

FR: Yeah, our defense has been doing that. It’s something we preach a lot about and we practice a lot. I think we have done a fairly good job at creating turnovers and getting pressure on the quarterback. We just have to continue to build on those things.

Q: What you said about the injuries, when you caught up to 24-17, then they came back at you with a lot of their weapons. When you look back, is that kind of where the injuries might have had an affect playing.

FR: No, I don’t think that. We got it back to a one score game, and felt good, felt good and confident. Hoping to get it back, we were already talking about. We already talked about after we scored, to get it back to a one score game. I think there was 12 minutes to go, we already decided we were going to go for two, if it came down to it, go for the win. We already talked about what our two-point play was going to be. And then they got the big play and scored.

Q: You probably don’t want this last question, but after [Matthias] Farley made the interception, a bunch of players, defensive players ran down the field and posed for a picture. Do you take any issue with that when you are losing by two touchdowns?

FR: Honestly, I didn’t even see it. And that’s the honest truth. I have to think about that one. I’m not sure. I feel good about our players celebrating when they make a play. We tell them that all the time. Hey, when you make a play, there is nothing wrong with showing a little enthusiasm. And certainly, score and circumstance, has to factor into that one some level. That will be something to think through and evaluate.

QUARTERBACK ANDREW LUCK

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 4, 2018

Q: When you guys had opportunities, miscues seemed to bite you guys. Dropped balls, interceptions –

AL: Yeah. I mean, we’re not going to win consistently until we learn how to get out of our own way. That’s not taking anything away from New England. I mean, they beat us fair and square. That was the better team today and I think anybody who watched it or played in it knows that. That’s probably self-evident but I think when we look at ourselves, we’re going to have to learn how not to lose before we want to give ourselves a chance to win. And so, it’s frustrating, the stuff out there. We’re all frustrated but I don’t think anybody’s losing the belief.

Q: How are you guys walking out of the stadium tonight being 1-4, losing a lot of close games and being a young team?

AL: Yeah, you know we’re young, you mentioned young, but I don’t think anybody’s naive enough to think that this business – I hate saying business because at the end of the day, it’s a game and we play a game. But this business is about wins and losses. I don’t think anybody’s naive enough to think it’s not about that. So we have a boatload of work to do, I feel like I have a boatload of work to do. It’s frustrating on one end but on the other end, we’re going to get better. I believe in these guys, I can’t bring you around and show you everything that happens but there’s a level of confidence and belief in each other in that locker room that makes me excited. We understand though that the results need to show at some point and we thought they would tonight. We had a great plan and we didn’t make enough plays. We didn’t get out of our own way to start that game off and when you’re behind, it’s tough. Shoot, it’s been five times up here I think and it seems – it’s almost like the story repeats itself five times and that’s not cool.

Q: Frank Reich said you guys didn’t even talk about the number of players you were missing tonight. How do you guys keep that mental focus when you’re missing so many guys?

AL: It is what it is, you go out and play football. That was not a distraction nor is it an excuse. We were out there with the guys we had and we felt very confident in each other.

Q: How close did you think you were at 24-17?

AL: I thought we were seven points down with some time left on the clock. That’s how close we were and obviously –

Q: They came right back and scored.

AL: Yeah, they came right back and scored and we did not. It’s tough.

Q: How would you describe the ebb and flow of the game? You guys went down 24-3 and then came back to make it close in the second half.

AL: Yeah, probably no different than what you just said.

Q: Did you learn things in the first half?

AL: Yeah I think you learn things always in the first half. There’s probably one or two plays in that first half that if we make, it feels a little different. Maybe the score is a little different. Honestly, that first half feels like a long time ago and it’s hard to sort of think about it but we certainly got into a rhythm at some point, we’ve just got to do that earlier. As a team, we’ve got to do that earlier. Play complementary football from the beginning.

Q: Do you feel like you’ve turned a corner the last two games?

AL: I honestly – and this is very cliché – I felt like I’ve gotten so much better every game. I really do. And maybe it shows to the naked eye a little better the past two games – and at the same time, I know I have so much more to improve upon. I know I can be a better quarterback for this team and certainly some things do feel well out there. I think for a large percentage of those throws, the ball was going where I wanted it to go and all over the field. But there’s still – I feel I still have a large room, bunch of room for improvement.

Q: After being out for virtually a year, is getting a feel for the game again part of it as well?

AL: Yeah, the feel of the game. One part of me is just excited to play football again. I certainly hold onto a different appreciation and a different perspective.

Q: You’ve had 121 attempts over four days –

AL: It’s a lot.

Q: It is a lot, but at the same time, the running game, trying to get something going –

AL: Yeah, we know, we know we need balance. We know we need balance. Football’s not rocket science. You need to be able to run the ball well to help protect your passing game. We’ll keep working at it and we have no excuses for it. We’ve got to get better. Everybody, including me in it.

Q: You talk about getting out of your own way. How do you work on that consistency?

AL: Yeah, I think it starts at practice and meetings and doing things the right way. That’s how you earn the right to have some confidence when you go out there and build a competence level that we know what we’re doing. And that’s part of the reason why I feel a strong belief in this team, is that we do go out there and practice hard and I’d like to think we do things the right way when the camera’s not on, when people aren’t watching. I think the younger guys in that locker room and the older guys – I’m certainly reminded of it every week and I’ve said it before, that every play counts in this league. And the first play is as important as the 31st, as the 61st, as the 100th. You don’t know when the big play’s going to be. You don’t want to look back with regrets on, “oh that was the one, that was the one.” So I think we’ll continue to learn that and understand that we’ve got to make them all count.

Q: Your offensive line got smothered on the first drive but I don’t think they sacked you after that. Can you speak to–?

AL: Yeah, they’re doing a great job and that first one was a blitz that I missed and the ball needed to go out and it was a well-designed blitz that beat our protection. So that’s not an o-line fault per se. To not have Anthony [Castonzo] who I consider – obviously he’s a great friend of mine, but I consider a premiere left tackle in this league and all our hearts break for Denzelle [Good], what an awful, awful thing. It puts this game, truly game, into perspective. But I’m proud of those guys. They fight, they play hard, they’re a good group of guys to be behind and that’s also why I have a belief. Because I think when you have an o-line that you can trust and do what they do – and we all have to improve, we know that. But I think you can feel good about where we’re going. And we know it has to show. Results have to happen at some point.

COLTS PLAYERS

Eric Ebron, TE

(On battling to the final whistle)

“That’s what I love about this team, they have no quit in them. None of them fear anything and we just have to learn how to start fast. We put ourselves behind the eight ball and then have to play catch-up and especially against team like this, you just can’t. It will hurt you and that’s what happened.”

(On his chemistry with Andrew Luck)

“I am just a totally different person from when I first entered the league. I go out there with a chip on my shoulder and I play for a lot. The chemistry with him has a lot to do with the quality of time we spend together when we can. We are always together and I sit right behind him. I understand what he is thinking and we just go out there and try and make stuff happen.”

(On being 1 - 4)

“I feel like this adversity, for how young we are is really good and it will pay off in the end. We just need people to understand that it is not an excuse, it is just that we are very young and very beat up right now. That is no excuse because you come out here with the people that you have. The amount of experience these people have and situations there are putting themselves in, these things will help them and benefit us in the long run. I am just happy to be a part of it because it can only go up from here.”

Ryan Kelly, C

(On the loss)

“This was a tough one to swallow, especially after last week, too. I guess the one thing you can hang your hat on is that these guys didn’t let up at all. We fought to the very end. It wasn’t pretty all the time, but this locker room is pretty special and we weren’t giving up.”

(On being tough getting off to a good start in Gillette)

“It’s anywhere I don’t think it’s anything that they are doing, it’s what we are doing. Shooting ourselves in the foot a few times. A few missed Mike [linebacker] points on my part and that’s how you start off slow. Same thing as last week. We’ve got to learn from it. Take the weekend and regroup and keep going. There’s no time to wallow in self-pity in the NFL.”

(On the running game)

“I think that one of the bigger things is they are going to try to load the box on us. We’ve got young backs and we are still developing as an offense. We just have to keep it going and the only way to do that is executing plays. Giving the coordinators the hope and the feeling that if they call it we are going to execute.”

Quenton Nelson, G/C

(On the difficulty of playing a Thursday night football game)

“Thursday night football should definitely exist. It is such a big game every single week and everyone tunes in because there is only one game being played. That is one of the great things about Thursday night football. It is definitely tougher both with your body and the game plan but every team has to do it. It is fun to go out on Thursday night football and play.”

George Odom, S

(On the game)

“Well, we’ve got to prepare a little harder and go on to the next game. You’ve got to go play by play. People make mistakes a little bit. You’ve got to look on film and come back and work harder next week.”

(On the Patriots offense)

“That offense we just played, they do a lot of checks. I watched a lot of film on him [Tom Brady]. He reads the defense well. If we move in motion with his man he moves a man and they may run. We just have to be ourselves and go play by play. A few weeks back we really tried to play fast. Next week we have to pick up the pace and play even faster.”

Chester Rogers, WR

(On what it says about the Colts that they were able to be competitive with all their injuries)

“It shows the heart that we have. The whole game was tough and we gave ourselves a chance to win it, but we made a lot of mistakes. We really beat ourselves out there. We have to go back and fix it and we have to get healthy.”

(On the level of optimism on the team even though they have only won one game)

“I know for a fact that everyone in this locker room knows we are not a one and four team. For that to be our record, it’s frustrating as hell. It hurts, but we just have to figure it out. That’s the good thing about the NFL, you have another week to fix it and that’s what we are going to do.”

(On how the team addresses the ball security issues they have)

“I feel like we address it more than any team that I have been a part of. We talk about ball security. We practice it, so it’s not like we aren’t preparing for it. We just have to go out there and take care of the ball.”

Erik Swoope, WR

(On staying focused for the up and down of being on and off the roster)

“I’m just trusting in God’s plan. He’s trying to show me something. He’s trying to reveal something. If I just stay patient and continue to work it will open up, and I believe it will be beyond my dreams.”

(On the touchdown)

“It was a big deal. It’s the second one of my life. It possibly could have been my third, so this is big I can celebrate with my family, and my lady, and hopefully build off this.”

(On what the coach had to say after the game)

“You know, regardless of circumstances, you still have to take ownership of what happened out there. We had a lot of good. We had a lot of bad. so we have to review, get back on Monday, and get back to it.”

Adam Vinatieri, K

(On playing in Foxborough)

“This is a special place and it always will be. It’s a special place and it’s got a lot of nostalgia for me, obviously. It’s a fun place to play. The fans are wild and crazy and it’s a hard place to win if you’re an opposing team. We just didn’t play well enough obviously. Walking off the field it was kind of a neat feeling. It was pretty cool [the ovation he received walking off the field], it really was, and I appreciate that. A lot of the fans were pointing up at the banners and stuff like that. It was pretty cool. It will always hold a special place in my heart for the 10 years I spent here with such a great team and organization and great fans. It was neat. I only heard one person say, ‘You suck’ then another guy said, ‘No you don’t Vini, we love you!’ In years past they were more brutal on me but lately they’re just nice to me so it’s good stuff.”

(On the game)

“When you come in here you have to play a good, clean game and you got to pay really well to hang with them and we just didn’t do that tonight. We made too many mistakes and penalties and errors and turnovers and missed kicks. It’s hard to win games when you do that.”

Al Woods, DT

(On whether there is a sense of the clock is ticking on the season)

“No. I mean it was a hard fought game, but we have to go back and reset the clock and get back to work.”

(On how much it hurts to get off to a slow start)

“It hurts all over because it’s the next game up. A loss is a loss. There’s no excuse at all. We all have to look within and see how we can get better.”

(On what was different about the game plan tonight that they could not pressure Tom Brady)

“Nothing was different. We went in there with the same game plan, get in his face and make him uncomfortable. It just wasn’t the outcome we wanted.”

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