Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Frank Reich
Q: How helpful is it to look back at the Super Bowl in preparation for this game?
FR: You know, it's been a little bit helpful, but yeah, I'd say a very small part of the equation.
Q: Why is that?
FR: We're a different team, it's different players, you're always trying to accentuate what your team and what your players do best. It's just continual evolution of an offense, of what you're doing week-to-week. I think those are the biggest reasons.
Q: The Patriots made a big jump last week as compared to Weeks 2 and 3. What did you notice was the biggest difference for them last week?
FR: The pressure on the quarterback. I thought their pass rush looked good and they were getting a lot of pressure on [Ryan] Tannehill.
Q: Do you think that was more good pressure up front or was it more the good coverage downfield giving the defensive line time to get to the quarterback?
FR: There's no doubt. I think that was part of the equation. I mean, the coverage was good. I do think highly of their corners and they mix up playing three-deep zone and a lot of cover-one. So, they were pretty sticky on those guys, the coverage was good, so I think you're right. I think it was a combination of those factors.
Q: Do those different coverages and not really knowing what they do defensively make it challenging to play this Patriots defense?
FR: Yeah, this is - as everyone knows, this is a very well-coached team, very disciplined, very good technically, good fundamentals and technique. Like with our team, in some respects we want to keep things simple and we always tell our players that fundamentals and technique are what win games, are what wins your one-on-one match-ups. So, you scheme things up - just like they do, we scheme things up, they scheme things up and really what it comes down to is players executing their fundamentals and techniques. I think both teams believe in that very strongly and that's really the foundation of who we want to be.
Q: Are there any challenges for preparing to play against Julian Edelman in his return to the Patriots?
FR: Yeah, I mean, he's a great player and there's certain guys that just have these kind of unique route-running skills that - it's hard to get that in a look team. It's hard to say, "Hey, you go in there and you play Edelman and you run a route like he runs it." That's hard to mimic. He's certainly had a great career and has unique abilities and provides playmaking, especially I see it on third down, just having that knack for getting open.
Q: Do you face the same challenge in preparing for a guy with Josh Gordon's physical skill-set?
FR: Yeah, I mean honestly he has an elite physical skillset. I mean, this guy's explosive, he's got length, he's got all the characteristics, all the physical attributes that you want in a number one receiver. That'll certainly be a challenge.
Q: Considering how young your defense is, what has a guy like Jabaal Sheard meant to you?
FR: Yeah, we love Jabaal. He's been a leader on the practice field, he's been an emotional leader, playing at a high level, playing with great intensity, just brings a kind of toughness. You know, we talk a lot about toughness. He's really provided all that for us.
Q: How much did you know about Matt Eberflus when you took the job? Did you have any relationship with him and what was it like developing one since he was hired by another coach?
FR: No, I didn't know him but it didn't take long. He and I are kind of - we hit it off real quick. And obviously, Matt and I played in the same - you know, coached in the same division for the last couple years so was very familiar with his scheme. So, that was an easy transition.
Q: What's allowed Kenny Moore II to step up and play so many snaps this season?
FR: Oh yeah, great question. He's just an extremely tough player physically and mentally. He works incredibly hard at practice. The guy's a true pro and dependable - everything you want in a football player.
Q: Will it be strange to play against Josh McDaniels this week since he almost ended up in your position?
FR: Yeah, not really. I've respected Josh [McDaniels]'s career from afar but I've never met him personally, so nothing extra there for me at all really.
Q: Maybe glad that he didn't take the job?
FR: Yeah, certainly. Very glad about that. Certainly very glad about that. It's a funny league, strange circumstances, lot of things out of my control, so I can try to control the controllables and thankful for the opportunity that I have.
Q: What has been the response in the locker room for your decision to go for it on fourth-and-4 in overtime against the Texans on Sunday?
FR: Yeah, the response has been great, and we talked about it with our players the whole offseason, really the whole offseason - and not just to the offense but really to the whole team. And what we said in the offseason was, "Guys, we're going to be aggressive. There's going to be fourth downs that we go for and we're going to make some and we won't. We're probably not going to make every one. We'd like to make every one but we might not." So, the response has been very favorable. Those are always on a case-by-case basis but just felt like we were rolling pretty well on offense and just thought it was the right call at the time.
Q: Did Bill Belichick ever have any influence on your aggressiveness as a coach? We all remember the fourth-and-2 game against the Colts. What was sort of your influence on being aggressive?
FR: Certainly, I've admired his aggressiveness from afar. I was actually here coaching at the time of that game. But, really probably the bigger influence was Doug Pederson the last couple years in Philadelphia. Just watching that and really, certainly, his leadership but really the whole offensive approach and the team approach and really understanding the numbers a little bit more and what you really are risking and what you aren't risking. I think those numbers, they don't make the decisions for you, but they free you up to go and to trust even more in your players because, at the end of the day, what it comes down to is this is a game about the players and it's a belief in them and a belief that they're going to get the job done.
Q: Between Weeks 3 and 4, Sony Michel had an uptick in rushing the ball. What have you noticed that helped him make that jump?
FR: You know, sometimes it's just - for backs, it's just funny for backs. You just get in a rhythm, you get in a flow, you're just seeing it easy, you get a few more carries and it just feels like everything slows down, you see it easy. I mean, he's an explosive, strong back that obviously is probably getting better from week-to-week.