HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Regarding the right side of the offensive line, how did G Jeff Allen and T Derek Newton do this week and will they play on Sunday?
“That’s going to probably be determined before the game. The right side, whoever was in there this week - I thought the line had a good week. Now the deal is they got to do it on Sunday night. We’ll determine - this is probably the first week this year where we really had to probably work some guys out before the game to see if they can play.”
Are TE Ryan Griffin, CB Johnathan Joseph and G Jeff Allen still on concussion protocol?
“I think so, yeah.”
How do you view the cornerback situation with CB Kareem Jackson and CB Johnathan Joseph?
“I think J-Jo will be able to go. Kareem we’ll probably have to check out before the game. (A.J.) Bouye and Kevin Johnson are ready to go.”
You added CB Robert Nelson to the active roster. Can you explain what he brings to the table especially with the injuries you have in the secondary?
“I think he adds some depth in the secondary. He’s got good speed. Helps on special teams. He’ll be out there on special teams. He’s a very competitive guy. In fact at the end of training camp in the Dallas preseason game, I thought he played really well and was really in the conversation to make the 53. It was a promotion that was, I think, deserved. Now sometimes these promotions to the 53, you never know how long they last. Guys have to go out there and play well just like everybody else, but I think he deserves to be up there this week.”
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton has always had a lot of success against you. Is there anything that you are doing different defensively to try and stop him?
“With the way the rules are now, it’s hard to just totally take a guy out of the game. You can only contact them under five yards. The guy is going to get his catches. He’s going to have some catches. The deal is you can’t let him beat you over the top. That’s where he kills people is he gets a 63-yard touchdown against - I forget who - but he ran a post late in the game, turned a slant into another 60-yard touchdown against San Diego I think it was. But anyways, you just can’t let the guy catch one underneath and take it to the house and you can’t let him run by you. You just got to keep the ball in front of you. That’s a big part of it. The hidden stat to me, of course you got to do well on third down, of course you got to do well in the red area. That’s like stating the obvious. That really is. The stat that people should talk about more is the first down stat. Like how are you doing on first down? Minnesota, for instance, their defense leads the league in first down defense. I think they give up under four yards per play, which is unbelievable. What are you doing on first down to get yourself on offense on target, on schedule and what are you doing on defense to keep them off schedule? I think that’s a big stat. That’s going to be one of the bigger stats in this game and really all of the games.”
Has DE Antonio Smith helped you guys and is he progressing to where he can help more?
“Absolutely. I mean, I thought he gave us some good juice in there last week in Minnesota. He almost had a safety there with Whitney (Mercilus) on a sack. Great guy in the locker room. Definitely a good edition. Great guy.”
ILB BRIAN CUSHING
What are your thoughts on this AFC South game against the Colts on Sunday?
“It’s a big game. Looking forward to it. Got to come out and start fast. Bottom line.”
Are Sunday night, nationally televised games any more special to you guys or is it just another game?
“No, I don’t think it’s any more special. I think it’s more special because it’s a division game and obviously this is a chance for us to get up 2-0 in the division and it’s very important to us and playing at home.”
Your teammates talk a lot about how Colts QB Andrew Luck can extend plays. Can you give us your thoughts on that?
“Obviously got a great arm. Extends a lot of plays. Very strong runner as well. Never really thinks the play is over. Continues to extend it, run with it, can throw it anywhere on the field, so try to limit him as best as possible and get after it as best as we possibly can.”
How tough is it to play against a quarterback that has consistently been able to come back and win games in the fourth quarter?
“It’s the next challenge. Every week is different. Every quarterback, every team is different. This is just the challenge that is presented to us this week. He’s a very good player. He’s a very good player and we got to get ready for him.”
Can you talk about Colts RB Frank Gore’s tackle-breaking?
“He’s a strong runner. One cut. Been doing it for many years. Very experienced and a good player.”