On whether the importance of a power running game in playoff football has diminished:
"I wouldn't say that. I'd certainly say it's an effective way to go about it if you consider that to be a strength of your team. I think there are some teams that certainly do it very well. In our preparation for this game last week, we were looking at the possibility of playing three teams that run the ball extremely well, power-oriented teams that have downhill runners that certainly are capable of breaking a long one on you. I think oftentimes at this stage of the game, you have to play to your strengths. Our running game, we certainly don't try to hide from things that we consider to be weaknesses. Our running game certainly has not put up the kind of numbers that we would anticipate and would hope, but all in all we've been efficient runners, I think. We've run the ball when we've had to. I think Joe (Addai) has been a real efficient runner and (Donald) Brown when he's been up has been efficient as well. Not gaudy numbers; 31st or 32nd in the league, that's not that impressive. But when you look at the body of work, you might be able to see that we do run it in some stages pretty well."
On their timing for the commitment to Matt Stover as the place-kicker:
"The big thing is, we took a look at it to see where Adam (Vinatieri) was in terms of his health. We didn't feel like he was at that point capable of going out and doing his best, at about 80 percent or so. So we wanted to make the decision so that we didn't have any question marks going into the playoffs."
More on the process of selecting Stover:
"It's a constant monitoring process like we do with every player that we have in our organization. We look at it on a weekly basis. We assess and then evaluate and make a decision."
On the pressures of keeping their edge during practices and the bye week:
"I wouldn't say there's any more pressure than there would normally be in this kind of a setting. This is an exciting time obviously, one that brings its own pressures. It's just kind of a natural feeling. Our team is typically one that gets prepared and gets focused and plays well and doesn't play tight. The fact of the matter is, this time of year, there is only one happy team at the end of the year. What you do is you fight to become that team."
On linebacker Gary Brackett:
"He's one of those guys who just does a tremendous job of getting us in the right place, in terms of our alignments, making the adjustments according to the sets we see. He's also a fine player as well. He not only orchestrates things, he also makes a lot of plays for us."
On the differences between the Ravens now compared to the team the Colts played earlier in the season:
"It's been about seven weeks since we saw them. But nevertheless, they were running the ball extremely well at that time and I think they're doing the same now. Sunday's game (against the Patriots) was a bit more dominant fashion than we've seen, but they've been very, very good. Rice had 1,300 yards, a pretty good year. And they've always played great defense, and they're doing the same thing. The game we played them, they played sticky defense, took the ball away from us. We don't see a whole lot of difference in that regard. They're running it well, they're playing good defense, and their kicking game is solid as well."
On whether a quick start is important after the bye week:
"I think that's one of the things you always sort of gear up for. You like to be able to get off to a fast start, obviously, in all phases, and particularly in the playoffs. So we are working toward that end. We're concentrating on making certain that we have good, solid preparation. Decisions and execution are extremely important, but also the base of that are the fundamentals. All of those things we've been working on the past couple of weeks and hopefully it will pay off for us."
On keeping an edge during the past few weeks:
"We wanted to make certain we were as sharp as we could be, that we kept our edge during that time period. We just want to make certain that we have the focus and concentration needed to perform well. That's key. Ultimately, the goal is to win, above all else. But we are trying to take care of those little things, and hopefully at some point it will pay off for us."
On his techniques for keeping the team sharp in practices:
"It's an intensity factor. We have some guys who are very capable of doing it ... that you almost have to try and place yourself in a ballgame – voice inflection, mannerisms that you use in games in terms of speed to the ball, all those things. Even when you don't have pads on, prior to the snap can be exactly like you would handle it in the course of a game. Trying to put yourself in the moment is extremely important in terms of getting ready and keeping your edge and making certain we also have the speed and execution we're looking for."
On using the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense in practices:
"We always do a little bit every week. I think that's important. We have a period, even today, that we'll go some 1s versus 1s. But last week we did a lot. All of the periods were based upon almost an early training camp kind of atmosphere in that regard. We were able to get a lot of work done, maybe the three best practices we've had in a long time."
On how his philosophies concerning preparation were shaped by his background and earlier years with the Colts:
"I think you've probably gotten a little feel for me as time has gone on. I'm not certain you get a great feel for me because we certainly don't allow that at times. But we examine everything. We don't base it just on one year, or 20 years ago, or anything of that nature. I think you have to look at your team and make an evaluation of what you think is important. That's my job. I look at those things closely. I examine them. I get the pulse and feel of our team in terms of where I think they are from a physical standpoint and health as well, and then we make our decisions based on those things."
On what he took from the previous bye years of 2005 and 2007:
"Let me back up a little bit. We look at every year as a different year. 2005 and 2007, I was in a little different capacity at that time. That was not my job, and I was performing a few other duties at that time. What we do is look at every year a little differently. This year is a first year for me. So what we did was look at our team, where we are right now, assess the health of our team, and we made a decision based on that."
Elaborating on earlier statements that the regular season and the playoffs are a "quantum shift":
"It is a big change between your regular season and the playoffs. And that's the big thing I was trying to get across to the guys, that they understood that it is a huge shift. It doesn't matter what you did in the regular season. You throw all the records out the window and you start focusing on who your opponent is next, because it's going to be different. The game speeds up, obviously, as we often hear and hear all too often probably. But it indeed does, particularly because of what's at stake – that you're in position to win the ultimate prize. When the stakes are higher, obviously, I think the determination and intensity pick up."
On how big a role Peyton Manning plays in his own pass protection by unloading the ball quickly:
"I think there's a lot that goes into great pass protection. Obviously, it's the techniques and fundamentals up front. It's the sound preparation from a schematic standpoint. The guys up front that we have do a great job. I think Peyton's only been sacked 10 times this year. But also a part of that is how quickly he gets the ball out. And a lot of that depends on how quickly a quarterback recognizes what is going to happen in relationship to the coverage. He responds as quickly as any. That's his response time from an intellectual standpoint; he sees and reacts. But it's also from a physical standpoint. He has a very, very quick release. I think you find that as somewhat of a common denominator among quarterbacks who have been pretty successful in this league. Quick release is vital. He does indeed have those things."
On whether that can wear down a defense:
"I think that does sort of change what you do. For example, a team that oftentimes would like to disguise and not show and still blitz, a guy that gets the ball out quickly sometimes renders that kind of approach useless because they can't get home before he gets the ball out. So what it does is force a team to put a blitzer a little closer to the line of scrimmage or employ maybe linebackers as opposed to safeties to try to get pressure on him. I do think it does change the dynamics of a game."
On Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis:
"He is a great one. Let me put it that way. I'm not certain who I would be able to compare him to. I haven't been around this league long enough to see a whole lot of guys who play like he plays. When I first came into the league I remember watching film on him. Literally, he could control the entire ballgame, cover from sideline to sideline, masterful in terms of his leadership, as instinctive as any guy who plays the position. Since I've been in the league, he's the guy who kind of sets the standard."
On the kick returning role and whether Sam Giguere will get a continued look there after playing at Buffalo in the regular-season final:
"It's a possibility. Sam did a nice job, I think. He's a guy who can run. We're constantly, obviously, looking to improve ourselves. But Chad (Simpson) has done a real fine job. But no question about it, I think Sam certainly caught our eye."
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