Brackett: It's Win Or Go Home

Indianapolis defensive captain Gary Brackett talks the media about what it will be like to have significant starters back in the lineup, what the regular season means to the Colts at this point, the benefit of younger players getting game-experience, and much more!

On what it will be like to get players back from injury...

"It's going to be a great feeling…I think this is the healthiest we've been really all season, and just for us to play as a unit, I think it's going to be great."

On the benefit of having reserves playing key minutes this season, especially on the young defensive line...

"That's actually going to work out for us. A lot of those young guys, Keyunta (Dawson), Ed Johnson, they played a lot of significant reps, so they got a lot of game experience. In the post-season, some of those younger guys are counted on to come in there and step up. They've been battle-tested, so those guys will be ready if their number gets called."

On the offense getting back weapons like WR-Marvin Harrison and what that means...

"Those guys, they make it real comforting for you. And it actually works in your favor because you want to get more aggressive. You want to see them get as many chances as possible, so on defense, you want to be a ball hawk, you want to create turnovers, you want to give the offense as many chances as possible. Just knowing how powerful of a unit they are, now back with the addition of Marvin, Anthony's been doing great thus far this year, and having those guys out there at the same time, I think they're going to be a dangerous group."

On if having Marvin Harrison back will give the team confidence...

"I think so. Obviously seeing him out there on the field, he creates matchup problems for the opposition. Just having a healthy Marvin Harrison, going out there already with what Reggie (Wayne) was able to accomplish this year, really just going above and beyond how he has played during the rest of his career, I think it's just going to help the offense. It's going to give those guys more weapons. Joe (Addai)'s going to do a great job running the football, so the more weapons I guess the better."

On the defense's numbers during the regular season....

"None of that matters. In the post-season, you can throw away all of that. Whatever we did in the regular season, any of the accolades, none of that matters. In the post-season, it's win or go home."

On how they have maintained their level of consistency defensively from last season's playoffs...

"I think it's paying attention to details. Obviously starting this week, you make sure everyone's concentrating at practice, handling all the little things, and then when you get out there on Sundays, you act like you've been there before. You relax, read your keys and play football."

On DE-Robert Mathis...

"I think Robert Mathis might be the most underrated guy in this league. He not only has the sacks and creates fumbles, creates havoc, but his tackles, he must be the top defensive end in tackles. He runs to the ball, he hustles. We have a game ball given out to a player each game who has the best game, makes the most impact. Really, every week, he's up for the award just because that's the type of player he is. That's the type of motor he has. He's a guy, when he's out there on the field, he's very dangerous and he helps our defense a tremendous amount."


Robert Mathis
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

On DB-Bob Sanders and what makes him so valuable...

"I think that award (NFL Defensive MVP) was very deserving for Bob. I think what he does, what a lot of guys can't do, I think he has the ability to finish. A lot of guys are able to see plays, sniff them out, they even call out certain plays, ‘The ball's coming here,' but they don't have that ability to get there and make that play. Bob, on the other hand, he does. Whether it's 3rd-and-1, 4th-and-2, whatever the situation is, Bob's going to be there. He has the ability to go up there and finish it, whether it's an interception, a big hit. Whatever he is, he's a finisher. I think with that ability, he just gives us a lot of confidence when he's out there on the field. We know we have a complete player back there, and if anything busts through, we know Bob's there to clean it up for us."

On the defense still being good and physical despite being small...

"Speed kills. You can talk about size all you want to, but on defense, they have to catch us, we don't have to catch them, as far as offensive linemen are concerned. And then when the running backs and receivers get the ball, I guarantee they're not talking about how small we are, because we fly around to the football, we gang tackle. You turn on the film and you see the Indianapolis Colts defense running all over the place. We're predicated on speed, but I think with speed comes tenacity. You can't look out there at our cornerbacks position, to our safeties and our back seven and say that we have a small group. You can turn on the film any one of our games, you can see big hits, you see guys being aggressive flying around getting to the ball. I think the mentality of the defense has changed from last year and I think we've become a very aggressive defense. Despite how big we are, we've been playing very physical all year in the run as well as the pass."

On the defense turning it on in the post-season last year and sticking to it this year...

"Once you realize that something works, if everyone plays their responsibility, once everyone buys into that system, and there's no more peeking into the backfield, there's no more leaving a guy and inch and all the uncertainty, once everyone realizes that and everyone just lets go of that fear and just flies to the football, everyone flies to the gap where they're supposed to be at, then it just becomes contagious. I think that's what happened last year in the post-season, and once we realized that, guys said, ‘Look, I don't have to do anything special. I go out here and play my gap and everyone else is going to do their job and the defense is going to work.'"

On flying under the radar as a defending Super Bowl champ...

"It is what it is. We're worried about the Colts. Last year was the same thing and we all know the results of what happened then. So for us, we just concentrate one game at a time, coming out here this week we have San Diego. No matter what anyone else does, it has no result on how we play this game. We only have one thing we have to control, and that's this Sunday at 1 o'clock."

On the San Diego game in November...

"I think we can take from the second half that we did some positive things. I think we started slow in that game. Obviously we gave up two touchdowns on special teams. We want to get some of those things corrected. I think we can build upon some of the things that we did in that game that can help us out in this game."

On if he expects a game similar to the one in San Diego...

"We hope not. We had six picks, they scored twice on special teams. I think both teams are different now. I think we're both playing better football. They're on a seven-game winning streak. We went on a six-game winning streak, we lost our last game (vs. Tennessee). So I think we're both playing better football."

On RB-LaDainian Tomlinson...

"Just look at his career. He has 100-and-something touchdowns. Last week, he had a huge play jumping over the top of the goal line. So he's a guy who knows how to get into a end zone, he knows how to make big plays and he's a guy who wants the ball. Obviously in a big-time type of game, he's going to want the ball in his hands as many times as possible, so it's going to be our job to stop him."

On everyone focusing on Tomlinson, but the Chargers also having a passing game...

"Chris Chambers they brought along with the trade, and he's getting a lot more comfortable in their offense. Vincent Jackson came out last week, he had a couple of big plays for those guys. (Philip) Rivers is not afraid to throw the ball down the field and last week the receivers came up with some big plays for him."


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