Caldwell: A Few More Things to Get Done

Jim Caldwell talked to the media Monday after reviewing the game film from Sunday's 35-27 win in Houston. See what the coach had to say about clinching the AFC South title, injury updates on Dwight Freeney and Kelvin Hayden, the improvement of the special teams, preparing for Titans' QB Vince Young, being 11-0 and more!

On hearing of winning the AFC South title on the team flight Sunday night:

"We were actually in flight. We got word of the final score of the Jacksonville-San Francisco game and announced it on the airplane. We had a brief celebration. Our team knows there still is a lot of work to do. There was not unmitigated pleasure on the plane. Nevertheless, they (players) enjoyed themselves. They understand it's quite an accomplishment but we still have a few more things to get done."

On having fewer penalties:

"We've always been in the top one to three (teams in the league) throughout the years for the most part. There was a point in time this year we might have been number seven. We really tried to stress the point of making sure we were moving in the other direction to get back where we typically are. I always believe if you can quantify something where it's measured, then you can improve it. When we go out to practice everyday we keep track of particularly concentration penalties like false starts and off-sides. We make certain we improve every day leading up to game day. We try to bring it into focus so the guys realize how important it is. We had three penalties yesterday, and they had ten. That was pretty significant."

On the recent string of interceptions:

"They are all different. We really can't pinpoint and say this or that is a particular issue. It goes across the board. It's not all the quarterback's fault. There are a number of different scenarios that occur. For us to go through and pinpoint what happened is unfair. It's an area, obviously, we need to improve upon. I think, overall, if you can reduce the number of penalties you have, the number of mistakes being missed assignments and false starts, and dropped passes, those are the things that bog you down. We try to make certain we don't beat ourselves. That's what good teams do. Good teams capitalize on other teams mistakes."

On if the defensive interior has improved from last season:

"I would say we have been playing well in the interior. The rotation is a bit more experienced even though it's the same guys. From a physical standpoint, Dan Muir is a different guy than he was last year. He has some girth to him but is in better shape than he was last year. He has a better feel for the system, and I think you can say that for every guy that is rotating inside. Antonio Johnson has been around now. It's his second year. All of that has a lot to do with experience. John (Teerlinck) does a good job of getting those guys directed. They are guys who have size and girth, but they can run. That's one of the things that is extremely important to us. We don't lose what we consider to be our edge. We've always been a fast team. We knew there was a need to get a little bit more bulk inside. It doesn't help if you are big and not able to run. You have to be able to run as well."

On researching and preparing for Titans QB Vince Young:

"We don't have to go back a couple of years. We can just go back and look at the last five games they've played. That gives us a pretty good picture of what he is capable, how he is playing and if there are any differences. He (Vince Young) is playing awfully well. It's a different time than we saw earlier than the year. He has added another dimension to it (Tennessee's offense). He played with a lot of poise. He threw the ball accurately. He did a nice job and that last play was a heck of a play stepping up in the pocket. Throwing that ball on the run was a heck of a feat."

On having DE Josh Thomas:

"He certainly has been able to help us. We were pleased he was available. Every time he's had the opportunity to come back he's been able to play a significant role for us. He knows the system and what's required of him, and he does a good job. There's something to say about staying prepared and ready. Oftentimes, you find that guys sort of get disheartened a little bit and maybe they don't stay in shape and lose sight of their goals. He has done a nice job of doing a little bit of both. He still keeps his body in great shape so when he comes in he doesn't miss a beat."

On the remaining incentives for the regular season:

"We have a lot to play for. We are not pulling in the reins by any stretch of the imagination. We still have to forge ahead and continue to get better. We have to make certain we keep identifying our weaknesses and try to improve upon those. The important thing is you continue to improve throughout the season. We still are in the business of doing that. We try to concentrate more on our performance than we do on the results. We know there's room for improvement. The other things will take care of themselves."

On looking toward the No. 1 seed in the AFC:

"I'll address that if we get there. That's how I like to approach it. We'll assess our team at that point in time and then make a determination on what suits us best, and how can best get ourselves in position to do extremely well in the post-season."

On having WR Anthony Gonzalez and K-Adam Vinatieri in the near future:

"There's this old coaching adage I always believe in, ‘We coach who shows up.' When the doctors release them and say they are ready to go, then we will adjust accordingly. We'll do what we need to do to get them ready to play. Until they do, we'll have to keep working with the guys we have that are playing. Hopefully, they continue to get better."

On the possibility of DB Kelvin Hayden and DE Dwight Freeney playing on Sunday:

"That's a possibility. I would not be able to tell you exactly. I think Kelvin (Hayden) did some work prior to the game. He looked good. He feels good. He did some work last week. I think Dwight (Freeney) is coming along. Until they have the opportunity to go through the next couple of days, I will not be certain."

On determining if a player is ready to play after rehabbing:

"Like most of our decisions, it's collective. We take everyone in the core of authority into consideration. We also take all the facts into consideration as well. Our medical staff gives us an idea what's best in terms of handling different individuals. We talk to each and every assistant coach. We evaluate everything. Ultimately, that's my decision. We consider every single viability we possibly can."

On being 11-0:

"I don't think anyone can realistically tell you they knew it would turn out this way as difficult as this league is. I didn't dream of it. I think we've done what we've set out to do, and that is take one game at a time. We focus on the next game and do our best to win it."

On being 16-0:

"It's really not that important. You've seen a lot of great records during regular season. What really counts in this league is one ultimate goal. That is to win it all. Once you get to the playoffs, you have to do something with that opportunity. Going undefeated during the regular season has never been a high priority."


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