Brackett Keeping Game in Perspective

Colts defensive captain Gary Brackett talks about the improvement of both teams, going up against a QB like Tom Brady, and the hype surrounding the game. But he says the Colts are striving to keep this week's game in perspective.

On the challenges of going up against Tom Brady and the Patriots offense...

"I think it's a tough challenge. Obviously watching it on film, what they've been able to accomplish thus far this season, they're playing some good football. We definitely have our hands full as far as some of the things they do offensively, so we have to be on, on the defensive side of the ball."

On QB-Tom Brady and the Patriots offense, and what is different than in years past...

"This year I see three All-Pro receivers. Obviously last year, those guys, they had some good receivers out there, but I think this year with some of the acquisitions they made in the offseason—bringing in a guy like Randy Moss who's a threat on any play, Wes Welker who's done a great job in the slot, and then you have Donte' Stallworth in addition to the tight end—he has a great deal of weapons right now. And those guys are catching five-yard slants and scoring 40-yard touchdowns. So a very physical, very talented group of receivers. It's going to be our responsibility to go out there and get them stopped."

On the playing the Patriots so much in the last few years...

"Since I've been here, I must have played them about six or seven times, so almost like a divisional rivalry where you play them twice a season. That's been the case the last couple of seasons here. It's very competitive. Early in my career we lost a couple of key games to New England, obviously here on the 4th-and-1 with (Willie) McGinest. Then in the AFC Championship Game, they did a great job defensively stopping our offense. The last couple of times, we kind of turned the tide a little bit. We beat those guys at their place and again here in the AFC Championship Game. So it's a great rivalry. I guess there has to be some hatred there. Obviously they were keeping us from the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. Last year, we were the spoiler keeping them away. So, a team you have a great deal of respect for, but from a competitive standpoint, you definitely want to win this game."

On what he remembers from the AFC Championship Game...

"Our fans. We have great fans. Throughout the game, I guess they paid for their tickets so they didn't leave. Obviously it was 21-3 at halftime, a lot of people had written us off, but we were able to sustain. Our offense drove down there and got a touchdown, defense held up and we were able to get a victory out of it."

On if he is enjoying the hype...

"I guess it's so usual, every week is our Super Bowl, no matter where we're going. The last couple of games on the road were against division leaders. For us, it's the same thing. We still have to put it into perspective. It's still a regular-season game. If we win, we still have eight more and if we lose, we still have eight more. Regardless of the outcome of this game, we know we still have a long season ahead of us and the championship is not won in Week 9."


Robert Mathis celebrates after a fumble recovery against the Saints in Week 1
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

On the run defense last year compared to this season and now having pride in it...

"I think it's exciting. Last year during the post-season we were able to turn things around, really get things started on the defensive side of the ball, stopping the run, creating some turnovers. Thus far this season, we've been able to continue the same trend. Obviously, not being talked about in a negative light is always exciting. We just have to continue to keep playing physical, fast, getting to the ball, really just eliminate what our opponent is trying to do against us."

On if they were embarrassed by the run defense last year...

"It was funny. We were 9-0 and still like the worst defense in America. It is what it is. If you saw the film, a lot of the long runs were in the fourth quarter, we're up by 21 points, they're running draws and getting out for 30, 40 yards, and that led to the average. Around here, as long as we're winning, I think our guys are pretty much feeling comfortable."

On the defensive line playing the run...

"They couldn't get sacks last year because no one would pass the ball on us. So obviously if you want sacks, you have to stop the run. They bought in to that philosophy and now they're playing great run defense. I think why we have changed is because our defensive line, what they're able to do now in the run game. Dwight Freeney is playing very physical up front, and Robert Mathis. Raheem Brock, it's his second year as a defensive tackle. He made a lot of strides in the offseason. Big Ed Johnson is in there. I call him my bodyguard. He keeps me clean, so I'm thankful for him. Those guys are playing good football right now."

On the Colts maintaining a top-ranked pass defense despite being ahead and facing the pass a lot...

"We've been doing a good job. Our defensive coordinator (Ron Meeks) has been doing a great job of mixing up calls. We've had a lot of (forced) turnovers thus far this season by a lot of different guys. If you look at all the interceptions, we have eight different guys with interceptions on this team. Guys are just making plays when they have opportunities to make them and it's been making a big difference for us."

On being an underdog...

"I've been an underdog my whole life, so for me, it's business as usual."

On Head Coach Tony Dungy and what about him has helped this team the way it has....

"His consistency and his core values and his core beliefs allow him to be so sound in his decision-making process. A lot of people are day-to-day or very inconsistent as far as what they're saying and what they're doing. But with Coach Dungy, what you see is what you get. He doesn't put on a show or a façade in front of the camera and then go back to the team and tell us another thing. Pretty much the same quotes and things you get from him up here (at the podium) is the same stuff we get in the team room. In that regard, he's a man who really has beliefs and sticks by them. You have to respect that."


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