Del Rio: Colts Finding a Way to Make a Play

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio met with the media and talked about preparing for the Colts, Indy's previous comments about the Jaguars following their first matchup, the keys to playing the Colts and much more!

Opening comments:
"We're busy preparing for our next opportunity. Indianapolis brings their 10-2 record in, the best in the league. A very explosive offense. Peyton Manning once again dominating, doing a great job. Their defense is one that plays best with the lead, one that has helped them win 10 games. On special teams, they've found ways to make plays, such as the case against us there at their place. They make plays and help their team win. I think if you look at them you see a 10-win team coming in. Very strong. They've been atop our division for a long time and for us we're looking forward to the opportunity. It's a big challenge. We're glad to be here at home. We're looking forward to our crowd. We've played well at home this year. We have been feeding a little bit off the energy that our crowd provides and looking forward to that energy on Sunday."

Have you learned anything from the way teams have been playing the Colts recently, particularly with the two losses?
"We study the tape like we always do, put together a good plan like we always do. We play them close. They've ended up making more plays in the end to win the games. I think in the games they've lost, the other team made more plays and so that's what we're going to look to do."

Have teams learned something from the Jaguars? The Jaguars have been successful at slowing down the Colts offense in recent years:
"We all work hard at what we do. We spend a lot of time watching tape, studying things that we think we can do to either expose somebody else's problems or maybe keep match-ups down from being so  productive, and things like that. Yeah, we're always working at it."

What are some of the keys that you do against the Colts?
"Our philosophy on defense is to be fundamentally sound. I think when you tackle well and you understand where you belong and you play hard together and take care of your job, then I think you can play good defense in this league. Sometimes it can be easier said than done, but our guys have committed to that approach. We work hard at it and I think that's why we've been successful here in the four years we've been here. I think each week is a new challenge. I think certainly this team here offensively is very gifted. The receivers they have, the skill people they have with the quarterback pulling the trigger, it's a very dangerous offense."

After the first meeting with the Colts in September, some of the Colts players made comments about the Jaguars being 'chippy.' Do those comments play any factor at all as far as motivation or preparation for this game?
"No. They made comments about us being 'chippy' but they're the ones making the 'chippy' comments. We're competing. They're a very good football team, they're 10-2 right now. We're just going to focus on preparation."

Is there more energy naturally when playing against the Colts?
"I think whenever you play divisional games, I think you hope to have that energy. To me, this has been the dominant team in the AFC. It's a great opportunity, it's a great challenge and for us I think we just want to be steady and prepare and get ready to play a good game."

Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaguars vs the Colts in September, 2006. (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Despite the Colts being 10-2, they have not been able to stop the run. How are they doing that?
"Just finding a way as a team. It certainly makes it more difficult. I think if you ask Tony (Dungy) that he'd acknowledge that. It doesn't make it easy but they're finding a way. I think it's a matter of as a team finding a way to win. In our game up there, they made a heck of a special teams play, and in each ballgame you can look at something they've done to be able to win that 10th game in 12 tries. I think that's what it comes down to is finding a way to make a play."

On reports each time the Jaguars play the Colts that the Jaguars always 'play them close' or you 'give them a good fight.' Are you getting tired of
hearing that?

"I was kind of hoping they might give out a couple consolation points for that and maybe we can add them up and make it a win. If we could get a couple of those going that would be nice."

Jaguars defenders are listed in the top 10 in 12 of defensive categories that the NFL keeps. Is this the most balanced, best all-around defense that you've had here?
"It's the most banged-up unit we've had. I think we get as big a challenge as you're going to get coming up here with Indianapolis coming in. It's nice of you to acknowledge those things, that it's happening, but I think for us right now we're a banged up unit, we're right now in preparation mode getting ready for the Colts, trying to do all we can to slow them down."

What kind of transition as Bobby McCray made and are you surprised he's been able to be as good as he has been?
"I think Bobby has done a great job taking advantage of an opportunity to play, to be an every-down guy and to be out on the football field helping us win. He's excited about that opportunity to be out there as much as he's playing, and he's provided a spark in terms of speed off the edge that we need on defense."

There was some question of whether he could be an every-down guy. Has he answered those questions?
"He continues to answer those questions every day he goes out. I think he'll always be challenged because he's not a really big guy but he does have speed, he does have a natural knack to finish on the quarterback, and he works hard it. He's an improving player."

On Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew together in the back field:
"At some point we could utilize those guys at the same time."

On going more downfield last Sunday, and receivers catching passes:
"I think what we do is we just make it competitive and seek to have that in practice. I think the guys practiced well. The passing game is so much about timing.
You've got to have the protection first and then you have to be able to get the ball down field, and then create the separation or the ability to be open and in some cases like with Matt (Jones) last week there were a couple cases where the defensive back was in good position but he's still open. He's 6'6" so I think David (Garrard) took advantage of some of those, made some nice throws and catching it is part of it, so we'll keep working on it."

Were there more plays last Sunday for David Garrard to choose from than previous weeks?
"In terms of the number of plays we take in, we don't just keep adding to it. I think what we do is each week select out of the big playbook, out of the volume of all that we can do, what do we want to do against this opponent? So it's a week-to-week process where you select the plays you think you can execute the best against that team and score points and win, so we'll do that again this week. I think that David has continued to progress and we're getting more comfortable with what we think he can do, he's getting more comfortable in decisions that we're asking him to make, and we want to build on that. I think for us we look at it as we've made some progress, we've had some nice days, we want to build on that."

Are you in a playoff state of mind?
"I think when you get to December and you're playing meaningful football, I think there is an excitement in the air. I think you get a little more attention of the players, of the fans, everybody. It's a little more exciting this time of year when you're involved and have meaningful games. I think for us right now we're having fun coming to work. I think our guys enjoy coming to work. I've sought real hard to create an environment where we could….we're going to spend a lot of time here and we might as well enjoy ourselves. So we seek to have that type of environment, where we enjoy coming to work and working against each other and competing. I think the biggest thing for us right now is to compete at a high level and then let the results kind of speak for themselves."

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