Bob Sanders Conference Call Highlights

Colts safety Bob Sanders talked to the media this week about the team's preparations for Sundays's big game, teammate Dallas Clark, the Patriots' receivers and much more.

Q: I was wondering if the tone of this game feels different from last year now that you guys have Super Bowl rings from the other times you were trying to get over that hurdle?

BS: I don't think so. Around here, I think it's pretty much the same. We're doing the same things. It's just another game that we're preparing for. Right now, that's all we see it as, if anything, another game late in the season. Right now, we're just focused on going out and trying to prepare well for this weekend and get a win.

Q: What you do think when you see the numbers that the Patriots have been putting up?

BS: I think they're doing a lot of good things. They're playing well on defense and, as you know, offensively they're doing a good job and also on special teams. I think, overall, they've gotten better. They're a lot more consistent than they have been and they're just playing well. They're on a roll right now. This week, our main focus is really just preparing as we do normally and [executing].

Q: Do you think beating them the way you did last season at all inspired them to do what they did last offseason loading up on wide receivers?

BS: You know, I really don't know. You can say that it might look like everything fits in there and that's probably what they did, but I don't know. I can't really guess. The things that they do over there is what they do and that's not something that I worry about. I don't know.

Q: You do realize that they seem to be a different team than what you saw last year?

BS: Yeah, they've got a whole new corps of guys in their receiving corps. They're all playing well. They're making a lot of big plays and [Tom] Brady's doing an excellent job of getting the ball to them and spreading it out. You know the thing is just to prepare. You can't really worry much of what they do. It's all about us executing and trying to get better.

Q: I know you're not going to divulge the defensive game plan, but it seems the Patriots' offense would present some problems for you at safety when at times you're likely to be up in the box against the run, but having Randy Moss and Donte' Stallworth and Wes Welker you might want to be back. Does that put you in a tough spot?

BS: I wouldn't say so because Antoine [Bethea and I] are able to play in the running game and in the passing game. If we need to play Cover 2, we can play Cover 2. If I have to be back and he's in the hole and on three-deep, I mean, it is what it is. Our styles of play help us out. We don't really worry about saying, "I'm used to being in the box so playing deep isn't really my game," but I think all the safeties here have to play both positions so I think we're comfortable with doing whatever. Whatever we have to do this week to maintain those guys and get a win, we'll do and get ready for.

Q: You lost both of your starting cornerbacks this offseason and yet it seems your pass defense is better than it was last year when you won the Super Bowl.

BS: Yeah, I think it has something to do with us being more physical. I think we haven't missed as many tackles as we missed last year. Right now, Marlin [Jackson] and Kelvin [Hayden] have done an excellent job of when the receivers catch the ball, they get them down right away -- not 10, 20 yards after the catch. That's pretty much what's helped us out for the most part. We're making those tackles for no gains. Everybody's going to come in and make their share of plays, but we're getting them down as soon as they catch the ball.

Q: Are you guys embracing the role of underdog?

BS: You know, we enjoy it, man. It's tough when everyone's saying you're the greatest thing ever and this and that because if you lose and you go down and then what do they say? We're just going to keep on pushing, play well and we'll be fine.

Q: You guys are Super Bowl Champions. You've won 12 in a row, you're coming off back-to-back tough games on the road where you've won rather easily. You played hard. You come home and yet you're 4 ½-point underdogs. Is there any sort of disrespect factor that will motivate you guys even more that you already are?

BS: No, not really. I don't think any of the other things going on except for what we've got going on here, game planning and preparing. It really doesn't affect us at all. We really don't worry about that at all. Our main goals are focusing on us continuing to get better moving forward. I've got time for one more question than I've got to get ready and go.

Q: The mantle of being defending Super Bowl Champions, some teams recently haven't handled that well. What do you think is the key for you guys to stay focused?

BS: Just knowing that we're a pretty good team and we're going to keep working on it. We've got a lot of younger guys along. That's pretty much been our focus, taking the younger guys and showing them the way we do things around here. That's pretty much is what keeps us focused. We've had guys in and out each year. Some guys go on and do their own thing. We've got to make sure that we keep building on that foundation that we set here. We're going to play Colts ball day-in and day-out, prepare, study and go out and try to execute and that's pretty much what our goal around here has been as players.

Q: What kind of a matchup is Dallas Clark for a safety?

BS: Dallas, he does a lot of excellent things. I think he's a receiver-slash-tight end. He has real deceptive speed. He's strong. He does an excellent job after the catch so as a safety, if you're not very good in coverage and in man-on-man it's kind of tough, especially when he has to go up against linebackers, it's pretty much a mismatch every time. I think he's doing an excellent job for us and will continue to move on and get better. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it. It was nice talking with you guys.

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