HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER, OCT. 20, 2008**
(On what the team will do with the extra day off this week)
Well, we use it to get a little extra jump on the Colts and then of course it will be beneficial to us from an injury standpoint, it gives us an extra day to heal up. The four guys that did not play in the ball game, I guess that's to say Kyle [Vanden Bosch] played three plays but, Kyle, Tony Brown, Justin Gage and Justin McCareins will definitely benefit from the extra day. I'm hopeful that all of them will be on the practice field at some point this week.
(On the increase in red zone touchdowns this year)
Getting across the goal line is not as easy as it appears. Basically what you have to do is you have to have the threat of the passing game and the threat of the running game. You have to be balanced in the plus territory. Some teams in the league are not and as a result, they don't get in as often. I think we're very balanced down there in our play selection and what we've shown. So if you commit to the run then we'll make a play to the tight ends or to the receivers in the end zone. A lot of that credit, of course, goes to the offensive line, too. They're playing very well.
(On the relationship between Chris Johnson and LenDale White)
It's a very unselfish group. They enjoy winning and they enjoy making plays and they root for one another. The receivers like to catch balls but they also understand that if you don't get the opportunities, then you block well and we win the ball game, that's okay also. Winning is the most important thing to them.
(On only getting two catches for 11 yards from the wide receivers)
We went into this game thinking that we were going to have some success in the run game provided that we executed up front. Based on the things that we've seen and the age of their defense, we just felt like we could keep some pressure on them and run the football. But I didn't anticipate the explosive plays, the long runs like that but those were certainly helpful. Like I said yesterday, we left a lot of really good plays on the call sheet in the passing game. I felt like we had a real good plan in the pass game, we just didn't need it.
(On Lavelle Hawkins' performance in his first game)
He was fine. I think he was a little excited to begin with but he settled down and he blocked and for the most part knew who to block and ran good routes. He settled down and Paul [Williams] did also. Paul got to play four or five plays and it was good to get him on the field.
(On playing Paul Williams over Chris Davis)
It was just a coach's decision.
(On LenDale White having a nose for the end zone)
Well, he wasn't happy with the number of carries over the last two weeks prior to this one. But he knew the reason. The reason was it kind of got out of hand. We couldn't run it as well as we would have liked to against those defenses but he was also told that we would like to get it back to where it was before the Minnesota game and the Baltimore game. And we did. So he worked hard through the bye week, he's in great shape, his weight's down a little bit and he's having fun again.
(On if LenDale White is "healthy" after his long run)
Yeah, he's fine. He finally caught his breath around midnight last night.
(On not playing Chris Davis)
It was a coach's decision. I wanted to give Paul [Williams] a chance, that's all. He was doing well on the practice field and it was time to give him a chance. It has nothing to do with that Chris did or didn't do, it was just Paul's turn.
(On Kyle Vanden Bosch and Tony Brown essentially getting two weeks off)
In retrospect, I think we did the right thing with Kyle. We wanted to see. The only downside is that I probably denied the opportunity for William Hayes to get 15 or 18 plays, that's the only downside. But I think Kyle knows where he's at now and the other guys are playing well. [Dave] Ball's playing good football for us as is Jacob [Ford] and Jevon [Kearse] and Jason came in there yesterday and played very, very well inside for Tony. That's the kind of thing that we have to have happen. Getting back to the receiver thing, I was pleased with the young guys and what they did. They knew what to do, they were professionals about the week and studied and were effective for us.
(On if he thinks the depth on the defensive line has made the overall defense better this year)
Not necessarily because we lost two very good ends that accounted for 14 sacks for us last year, so we had depth last year. But we have been able to stay healthy and we're rotating them and keeping them fresh. We've got depth at a lot of the necessary positions.
(On Kevin Vickerson getting playing time)
Well, as I've talked about this several times, I can only keep so many players up and that's just the way it is. Tony [Brown] couldn't play yesterday so Kevin got his opportunity. We have all the confidence in the world in Kevin, he played hard, played well and was ready to play. That's the good thing about where we are at least from a defensive standpoint, we've got depth and if someone needs to take a week off because of an injury, then we've got people to plug in.
(On if he's talked to players about opening up a huge division lead with a win on Monday night)
No, I mean this is our next game, it's a division opponent, we know them very well and we have to play well. We have to play better than we have all year to have a chance to win this.
(On when he realized that staying with the run was the way to go against the Chiefs)
We always go into a game with enough options offensively. I think sometimes players will say we have more than enough. But [we didn't] have to dial up 15 or 18 third-and-six plays yesterday, we stayed out of third down because of the first downs and chunks and things. It wasn't a point in the game, it's just the flow of the game and how your defense plays and how your field position is. Mike [Heimerdinger] just kept changing personnel groupings and rotating the backs and giving then different looks and it was effective for us.
(On if Peyton Manning's game has dropped off at all after a poor performance against the Packers)
No, remember what he did a week ago? I mean, he's playing well it's just they've had some injuries. Over the years they've been one of the better teams in overcoming injuries. They've had a few weeks where they've given up some rushing yards and they come back and they'll outscore somebody. He learns from those things, he puts those things behind them. He knows this defense very well as this defense knows him very well and so it's going to be a huge challenge.
(On if he's worried players will get too hyped for Monday night)
No, I think as you lead up to kickoff, a few hours before kickoff you have to calm things down. But the hard things about Monday, if there's anything, is it's a long day. We'll keep them busy and keep them focused but we just have to have a good preparation week and take advantage of the extra day and they'll understand. Again, this is a division opponent and it's been touted already as a must-win game for them and so we're just going to go out and do the best we can.
(On if there's more pressure on Indianapolis)
I didn't say it was a must-win game, I just read it here and there. If someone's putting pressure on them that's fine. They will not succumb to that either. Obviously, they're the Colts and they've won the division here however many years in a row. Again, we're trying to win the next ball game. It's not about being 7-0, it's just trying to win a division game right now.
(On keeping an eye on being undefeated from a coaching standpoint)
Well, from a coaching perspective, right here, we're just going to try to win the next game, period. I'll say it over and over and over again, but that's it. We're doing some good things. We looked at this tape as a staff and guess what, we left a lot of plays on the field. We left a lot of plays on the field, on both sides and on special teams. We can get better.
(On how much more the team has to do to be where they want to)
They're the weekly things. They're the things that are the subtle things that take place and the execution of the play, where if this thing happens the way it's supposed to happens, than you have a big play. If the receiver for example, and I'm not criticizing the receiver, this is just a hypothetical example. If the receiver runs the defensive back off down the field and just keeps running, recognizing man coverage, he's not involved in the run front or the tackle. If he stands there and blocks them in man coverage, then the DB knows it's a run and he gets off the block and makes the tackle. Things like that. Not that that happened yesterday but things like that.
(On how close Justin McCareins and Justin Gage were to playing yesterday)
I can't quantify how close they were or not.
(On if he was satisfied with the low number of penalties)
No, because we had three that should not have happened. Nick [Harper] will be the first to tell you, you spike the ball, it's a delay of game. Then we had a holding call on special teams that should not happen and then Chris' [Johnson] deal in the end zone. Then there was a couple defensive off-sides and then we had a couple things that I think should have been called against them and vice versa. I'm not pleased with the penalty numbers, we need to get the penalty numbers down.
(On if he saw any humor in Chris Johnson's drum-playing touchdown celebration)
No, because when you kick off from the 15, you give them field position. There's a lot of things at stake there. There's shutouts that are really hard to come by. There's the defensive mentality that you're playing that you try to keep the zero on the board. A lot of different things field position-wise, drive start-wise. Just a lot of different things that are involved there. I know he realizes that now that hey, have fun but don't penalize the team.
(On if Chris Johnson celebrates like that again)
I'll cut him. (laughter)