Freeney: "You Can't Worry About the Past"

Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney held his weekly conference call with the media. ColtPower's got the highlights for you...

Q: What do you think the Patriots have done to contain you in the past?

DF: What they do a lot is chip the tight end outside of me. Double team - triple team - they don't triple team so much, it's primarily double teams. But it's primarily a tight end-tackle combination.

Q: The defense has the same personnel as last year. Why is the defense performing so much better as a defense this year?

DF: I think we are playing together more. We are in the fourth year of the scheme in the defense. Guys have been together longer. Some of the young guys in the back end have been together longer. The linebacker core is playing well. Additions - Corey Simon in the middle helps us with the run especially. So I think it's just more everyone playing together, knowing the scheme and knowing where they're supposed to fit on the run and pass.

Q: Do you see the Patriots as a great hurdle that you guys have to overcome?

DF: I mean we would definitely like to overcome any obstacle in our way, which is the next team on our schedule. Therefore, yes, the Patriots are the next game on our schedule, therefore we would like to surpass that hurdle. Obviously, in years past, we have lost to them so there is a little extra - you know we need to beat them.

Q: How do you let the past success the Patriots have had against you not creep into your mind?

DF: I wouldn't worry about it, that's in the past. That was last year - two different teams - two different records. Different players on the team. You can't worry about the past.

Q: Does this Colts team feel like a different team compared to past teams?

DF: Like I said, we are playing together more. Defensively, I can especially say [that is true]. We won a couple of games on defense this year. I think we are playing together and not making those rookie mistakes. We are playing more consistently.

Q: When [Robert] Mathis comes in during the sub-packages, does that help you as far as not seeing as many double teams?

DF: I still get the attention to be honest. Teams do not go away from their schemes. A lot of times on third down, when Robert comes into the game, that is when you see primarily more of the double teams. So I really don't think it makes a difference whether he's in there or not, I still see double teams.

Q: How good has Cato June become?

DF: I think it's probably to his advantage that he did play safety in college. He knows how to break on balls, make the catches and make big plays. He knows where to drop in coverage. I think Cato's took leaps and bounds this year in knowing the system, knowing the scheme and trusting what the coaches are telling him.

Q: Do you think it was just a matter of guys trusting each other on defense?

DF: It's just jelling together. It's one of those schemes where everyone has to trust each other and know who you're playing with on the other side of you. You have to know where the middle linebackers going to be, where the Sam's going to be, where the nose [tackle] or the three technique is going to be.

Q: You haven't played the best teams in the league yet. Do you feel like this is a good test for you guys?

DF: Oh, of course. Of course. They're the defending champs. They are the champs until someone beats them and knocks them off. It is what it is. Obviously, you look at the record and say, 'The Colts haven't played those dominating teams,' but every team is going to have the opportunity to play those same teams. So regardless of when you play them, either it's a win or loss when you get them.

Q: What did St. Louis do in the first quarter that caused you guys problems?

DF: I think we were a little bit too excited - too much emotion - we had to really settle down. I think we were just a little bit to over anxious. 

Q: How has the bye week helped the team prepare and do you think it is an advantage or disadvantage having a bye week going into this game?

DF: I think there is an advantage going into it and coming out of it would be a disadvantage. Going into it, more or less, gives you a little bit more time to prepare and rest. But on the flip side, after the game, you have less time to prepare for the next team.

Q: Recently you said that Tom Brady was a system quarterback and it was just the scheme. Just following up on that, do I have that in the right context?

DF: Not necessarily. Tom is a great quarterback. Any quarterback that can bring your team to three Super Bowls and be such a success that he's been for that team, you can't take anything away from him. More or less what I was saying with that was that he is a great quarterback for the system that he is in. Not saying that he couldn't succeed in other systems - we don't know - because it's the only system he's been in. Just like Joe Montana was a great quarterback [in the system] he was in. Could Joe Montana play in a system like the Atlanta Falcons and boot every play? Tom is a great quarterback - I'm not taking anything away from him - but he's just great in the system he's in.

Q: I just asked that question because people get upset when they hear that.

DF: It is what it is [laughter]. I'm a great pass rusher for the system I'm in. Put me in a 3-4 or put in a 2-gap and we'll be talking a whole another thing.

Q: Earlier you said that you guys were too jacked up against St. Louis on Monday night. How will that not be the case playing on the road against the defending Super Bowl champs?

DF: Well, emotionally with the Rams, what happens defensively sometimes you get overanxious and therefore you go out there and try to do a little bit too much. When you finally start to settle down and start understanding what we need to do - don't be overanxious sometimes - sometimes you go for the knockout shot when your supposed to just wrap up. You learn from your mistakes.

Q: Can this team accomplish it wants to without winning at Gillette?

DF: You never know what can happen. Like I said, the Patriots might not make the playoffs, who knows. They may make the playoffs and get knocked off in the first round. They might not even see us. You never know what's going to happen. So we could do it even if we don't win - to answer that. But obviously that's the next game on our schedule, so therefore we want to do that.

Q: How is the Patriots offense different with a rookie left tackle in there?

DF: I think they are giving him a little bit more protection. Obviously he's not a polished veteran so therefore they're not going to leave him alone.

Q: When you're playing against a lineman you haven't seen before, do you change your game at all?

DF: You just go out and play the game how you always played it. Regardless, if it's a rookie or a veteran. You don't let him dictate what your going to do based on his experience level. You go out there and play that game the way you're supposed to play the game. So I'm just going to go out and play like I've always played.

Q: Is there a certain psychology to this game given the lopsided record?

DF: To be honest with you, I really don't think it's that big as of right now. I guess a little bit in the back of your mind you sit there and say 'Ah well the last few years it hasn't been that great.' You have to go out there and take the game for what it is. It's a Monday night game, a lot of energy, go out there and try to win a ball game.

Q: How do you handle a situation if something goes wrong right off the bat?

DF: You just have to settle down. You have to understand it's a long game. It's four quarters. One play is not going to make the game.

Q: Are you going to have much family at this game? 

DF: Yeah.

Q: How many and how much money is it costing you?

DF: Well a whole bunch of money and I'll have half the stadium.


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