Coach Chuck Pagano opening statement:
"As far as injuries go, pretty mild. Darius Butler went out with an ankle. They're going to check him tonight. Didn't require an x-ray or anything like that. Saw him at halftime, so we just pulled him out precautionary-wise. It doesn't look like much. (Greg) Toler, right before that second deep ball when (Marcus) Burley came in and defended that deep ball pass, he just banged a knee. He's going to be fine. Art (Jones) came out but went back in. He just got the wind knocked out of him. Good football team. We knew it was a good football team coming in here. Credit the Saints, they did a fantastic job on both sides of the football. Anytime you go out and give up big plays defensively, you don't tackle well, you don't communicate well, all those type of things, you can't get off the field on third down, against a team like that, give them credit, you're not going to play very well. We just didn't do the fundamental things. We’re more than capable, and we've seen that. We've got a really good defense. We've got a chance to be a really good defense, but we've got to do the little things. They did the little things better than us. They were fundamentally sound when we weren't tonight. Offensively, we generated only one touchdown drive in the first half and struggled there. Came out in the second half, at least they came out and fought, made it a football game, gave ourselves a chance at the end to go win that thing. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. We’ll look at the tape like we always do. Won't rush to judge anything at this point, but we know we've got some things to clean up. We’ll get back to work on Monday."
Were you surprised at the high number of missed tackles you guys had tonight?
"Again, I go back and I credit them. They did a nice job. We'd hold him, hold him, then they'd squirt out on us and get a cutback or we'd overrun something, poor communication whatever it was. We haven't tackled well to this point. It goes both ways. They got good runners and we didn't do a good job of that. We’ll go back to the drawing board and emphasize it moving forward. I know we can tackle. We tackled better in the second half. Just fundamental football, we’ll get better."
Why did the offense seem so out of sync?
"Well, you always look at, again, who you go against. It's a darn good defense front to back. They've got playmakers all over the place, so that has a little bit of something to do with it obviously. We just, again, I go back to it, fundamental football, blocking, throwing, catching. Just do the little things, getting lined up right. I think we only had three penalties. A couple of them were just friendly fire stuff, just getting lined up right. So again, whatever it was, we’ll look at the tape and see what we need to do moving forward to get that fixed."
Reggie Wayne was on the field for the first time in almost a year tonight. What were your thoughts on that?
"It was tremendous. For him, and anybody that has the opportunity and goes through something like that, especially Reggie at his age, being able to rehab and be back on the football field. You get great football players, guys that love the game like Reggie loves the game. We've got a bunch of them in that locker room that are very, very passionate about football. When it gets taken away from you and you have an opportunity to come back, it's a great thing. It's an emotional thing. I know for Reggie it was awesome. For all of us, it was great to see him back out there and get a little burn as we like to call it so that was good."
Tight End Coby Fleener
How wide open were you on that touchdown?
“Nobody covered me so that makes my job real easy. I think the credit really goes to the offensive line and the quarterback. They gave him a great amount of time and he made a great throw.”
You know how much it costs to dunk a football over the goal post so you saved yourself some money?
“Yeah, far more then I can afford, I can guarantee that.”
Was that a tribute to
“Yeah, I think so. He got a kick out of it and we talked after the game. He’s a great guy."
He played pretty well at your position.
“Absolutely. Definitely a guy to look to and learn from.”
Three games in now, how do you balance the way you guys have played in each game as to where you’re at overall?
“I don’t really think you can say that the win-loss record is a true indication of how you play during the regular season. There’s always stuff you can learn from to get better at. Hopefully, it doesn’t return in the regular season.”
Quarterback Chandler Harnish
Is hurting yourselves with penalties a source of concern?
“No, absolutely not. We got a lot of great players, great vets, good young guys and a very good offensive line. That’s not a concern, but it’s something we definitely need to correct, watch the film and go back to work.”
What was it like to see Reggie Wayne come back out on the field?
“I tell you what, there was a lot of excitement from the crowd during that introduction phase. It was great to see him come out, get a couple catches right away and he looked like Reggie as we know him. It was awesome.”
Quarterback Andrew Luck
What did you think of the performance of the offense in the first bit of extended playing time?
“Disappointed in myself. Missed some throws, interception. We didn’t establish a good rhythm. We did some good things as well though, we did get a touchdown drive. The two-minute drive, a lot of good things until we get stuck down at the goal line. We need seven points there, we’ve got to find a way to get seven. So good to get out, get the work. A lot of mistakes, I know I made a lot of mistakes that need to be corrected if we’re going to have a chance to be a good offense. It will be a good couple of weeks of work for Cincinnati and then the start of the regular season.”
Were you surprised that you underthrew Coby Fleener as much as you did on that interception?
“No, just a bad throw. Not surprised, surprised would be the wrong way to describe it. Just a really bad throw.”
How nice was it to have Reggie Wayne out there playing with you?
“It was great. I know the fans were excited and I know everybody on the sidelines was excited, and we were excited on the field to have him out there. Good for him to get some touches and get hit I think, and I’m sure you guys could ask him about it and get a better answer. He always has that great look in his eye when he’s on the football field. It’s very, reassuring might not be the right word, but it’s great to play with. It’s great to play with guys like him.”
How far in advance did you know the first play was going to Reggie Wayne?
“I had an inkling from the moment he started working back to get ready, when he came back the first play would go to Reggie Wayne. But I knew sort of set in stone, not set in stone because nothing is ever really set in stone, but I had a really good idea on Thursday night there was a chance of that.”
Knowing you may not play in the fourth preseason game, how do you feel now about the offense and the team going into the regular season?
“Yeah, definitely on the right path, the right direction. I’m sure we’re all disappointed in our effort, I shouldn’t say effort, but our production tonight. Guys gave great effort, but I know I made too many mistakes. I’m looking forward to getting back on the practice field and starting it off. We know we’ve got the Cincinnati game and obviously the start of the regular season, and we’ve got to take advantage of the days of work that we have to go out and correct those mistakes and get better as a football team.”
You guys have used the no huddle to get in a rhythm during the preseason, but not so much tonight. Do you think that’s something you’ll go back to in the regular season? How much has that been a factor for you?
“Yeah, the no huddle has been great. I still think we employed it a fair amount tonight. It’s obviously Coach Pep’s (Hamilton) and Coach (Chuck) Pagano’s decision on how we do it and what we do. Guys have gone a good job no huddle and guys have done a great job huddling up and playing a more traditional rhythm of a game. So I think we’re prepared for both.”
Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne
The crowd definitely appreciated you. Did you hear the cheers when you were introduced?
“I did and I appreciate them. I guess they can always remind you where you stand in their hearts. I’ve always loved Indy. They've always showed me nothing but respect, treated me like this was home for me and I just want to do everything I possibly can to show that respect back to them.”
The first play goes to you, was it designed that way?
“I’m not sure. You might want to talk to them. I just wait for my number to be called and that was an opportunity for my number to be called. I just wanted to make sure I caught it and got what I can.”
You catch two and then they take them away on penalties. Were they working against you?
“That’s what teammates are for. I was already messing with T.Y. (Hilton) saying who are you working for? You’re on the other side with the officials, but thankfully, it was the preseason and it didn't hurt anything. It was good to catch the football and get a real live game under my belt. There’s no way you can simulate that. That’s what I said last week. It was an opportunity for me to go out there and there was some real live bullets flying at me so it was good, one down.”
When did you find out you were going to play and what was your reaction when Chuck Pagano said alright, let’s go play tonight?
“He came to me yesterday and said we’re going to see how you feel in the morning. I told him cool so I went home and prayed about it, had a real good night sleep, about 12 hours in preparing myself and I couldn't tell you the last time I got 12 hours of sleep. I woke up this morning, I saw him, he asked me how I felt, I said pretty good and he said alright, let’s see where this thing’s at. I finally got that call out the bullpen and I was able to come out and do what I can to help.”