Colts Head Coach Jim Mora spoke with the press about their upcoming game against the Pats this Sunday.
Q: A 43-point average isn't bad?
JM: Well, it is only two games.
Q: Tell us about Peyton Manning, we've seen you from the beginning cultivating his talent…?
JM: I haven't cultivated, I've just stayed away. No, our offensive coaches do a great job. What do you want to know?
Q: His confidence and durability, he seems to be a coach's dream?
JM: Oh yeah. I count my blessings every day. You know when he came into the league he struggled as a rookie obviously, but in the second half of the season he started really doing good and you could see the potential there and now he is in his fourth year. So that experience and his work ethic and his intelligence and his study, that's a big part of it. The other thing is he's got a good surrounding cast offensively that have been with him for four years. We've kept our offense intact, our offensive line, our tight ends, our receivers, the running back. You know we added the running back the next year so these guys have worked together, run the same offense and all of these things contribute to his success and the fact that we have been able to score some points.
Q: The consistency is a huge part of it and with free agency you can't count on that anymore?
JM: Right, you can't. On the other side of the ball we've had major changes over the last four years. When we came in here four years ago we were a bad defensive team and we made some changes that off season and jumped up and we're continually trying to get better, but we've had to make a lot of changes on defense this year, bring in new players and make them play. It takes time, but like I say we haven't had to do that on offense. You know one or two changes, but nothing wholesale.
Q: Its seems with the cap that it is very difficult or almost impossible to be good on both sides of the ball?
JM: I think it is very difficult because like in our case where our best players on offense are really good players that get a lot of money. I mean you know you've got to pay a great quarterback a lot of money. You've got to pay a great running back a lot of money. You've got to pay receivers, you know skill-type players a lot of money to keep them and we plan on keeping them and we have. So with the cap it is very difficult to go out and do the same thing on the other side of the ball. It just is.
Q: The trend today is toward the mobile quarterback, but there is obviously still a place for the drop back quarterback. What is your view on the trend?
JM: I think the key is just how good a guy is, whether he is one or the other. I don't think you can be a slug back there and Peyton isn't. He moves around. He ran for a 19-yard scramble against Buffalo Sunday. He'll pull it down and run with it and he's pretty active back there in the pocket. So he's not some guy that you say, 'Man he's just a slug back there with a great arm.' That is not the case; he's a pretty darn good athlete. Now he's not a [Donovan] McNabb or a Steve Young or somebody like that. I look at Bledsoe, Bledsoe is the same way. Bledsoe is not a slug back there; he's an athletic guy that's got good pocket presence and stuff. And then you take your scrambler, that's great to have a scrambler, but he better be able to sit in the pocket. He better be able to read defenses. He better be able to throw the ball, have accuracy, touch, and all those kind of things too. It just depends.
Q: How much does it bother you that you have never won a playoff game?
JM: Does it bother me, sure.
Q: How much?
JM: For one thing I am continually reminded of it. And every time something is said or written it is this, this, this but. We are trying hard to correct it. I've said this before, I'd rather be 0-6 than 0-0, but that doesn't help a lot. We've had some good seasons and some tough loses in some playoff games. If I knew how to correct that, if I thought I could change something and make it better I would. We do things a certain way to win games during the season and then we try to carry that over into the playoffs, which everybody does. Teams that I've coached, we've come up short. Do I like it? No. Does it bother me? Yeah.
Q: In terms of correcting it, what do you like about your defense more this season than last season?
JM: We've got better players. We've got a more athletic, faster defense. We're younger. We're less experienced. I think we've got more depth, athletically. That's about it.
Q: There are certainly more expectations for this club, this is a team that is Super Bowl caliber?
JM: Well I haven't seen everybody this year so I am not going to say. And when I say that I am not being negative about our guys, it's just Jim Mora's philosophy. We've played two games. I think it takes time to see how we are going to do, and staying healthy. We've got supposedly, based on last years record, the third toughest schedule in the league. I was looking at the internet the other day and some poll had there weekly rankings and all those guys up there in the top ten we play them. We play Baltimore. We play Miami twice. We play Denver. We play the Rams. We play all those teams. You never know. I think we've got a good football team. Yeah, we've got a good football team, but everybody in this league is pretty good.
Q: You are facing a team that has lost its starting quarterback and have a rookie to face?
JM: I've been reading about [Tom] Brady and he had a great career at Michigan. I don't care where he was drafted, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to that. You know he was drafted in the sixth round, I guess it was, but God dang the guy was super successful at Michigan. Winning teams, big time program, statistics throwing the ball, completions, touchdowns, one of the tops they have ever had there and they've had some good ones. Obviously Bill [Belichick] and the staff up there like him or they wouldn't have made him number two and starting him this week. You know the guy that he is starting over beat us last year down here when he was with Miami, at home. When we lost to Miami at home [Damon] Huard was the starting quarterback. He played the whole game and took them on a game-winning drive in the last minute or two to beat us. Now Brady is playing ahead of him so from what I've seen on film I think he's got the ability and talent to be a good player. We certainly aren't taking this thing at all lightly. We have a lot of respect for Bill and his team and I am sure Brady will do a good job.
Q: Is there sometimes a phenomenon that a team loses a leader and gets an emotional bump when the other guy comes in?
JM: Yeah I do and I think about this too. I think that happens a lot, especially if the guy is a competent player, which I am sure Brady is. They rally, their backs are to the wall, maybe they think and they rally and like you say an emotional bump and play good football. Hey we are 0-3 up there in the three years that I have been here. We're anticipating another hard-fought, competitive game.
Q: Is there anything you need to express to your team in regards to that?
JM: I kind of gauge that on how we practice and things like that. We haven't been out there yet. This group is a pretty mature group. They've handled, although it is a young team, I think people forget how young we are. We are a young football team with a lot of new faces. They talk about these other teams with all these new guys; we got a bunch of new guys too. We are very young; especially on offense is where we are young. They've handled things pretty darn well. We handled the week of the events in New York and Washington, which was really a very difficult week for everybody, but our guys handled that well as far as preparation and staying focused and then coming back the next week. We had a walk-through today, already before practice the concentration and focus was good. So you know I look at this stuff and then decide what I need to say to them or what I need to address