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Colts Coach Chuck Pagano and players talk about loss to Saints

Transcripts from Colts post game interviews

Coach Chuck Pagano

Opening Statement:

"OK, as far as injuries go, Khaled Holmes went out with a stinger and Phillip Dorsett went out with a lower leg injury. I'll give you guys updates tomorrow on those two guys. Obviously, very disappointed in the ballgame. Credit the Saints, they came in and played better than we played. The first half was unacceptable. You're not going to win—it's hard not to win football games when you don't shoot yourself in the foot, you're not going to win many football games in the National Football League when you turn the ball over and you have penalties and you have miscues and you have the errors that happened in special teams, inability at times to stop the run and couldn't run it. Challenged the guys at halftime, because it's all on us. It would be real easy to say—make excuses and say well it's because of this, that, hangover. That's all bullcrap. It's on us. We're going to come in tomorrow, we're going to look at the tape like we always do and we're going to get it fixed. I'm damn proud of the guys that the way that they responded at halftime and came out and played and we came up short, but they fought their butts off. Tough group, but we can't beat ourselves. Can't happen."

Do you get the feeling you need to challenge them at the start of the game because they seem to be a slow starting team?

"Yeah. We've managed to play a good 30 minutes here and there and then we've shot ourselves in the foot at halves. We've got to put together a complete football game. We've got to play 60 minutes of Colts football. You can't beat yourself."

What's your assessment of Andrew Luck? He just doesn't look comfortable.

"Again, obviously it's not where he wants to be. It's not where we want him to be. It's not something that we're going to bury our head in the sand and say, 'Hey, everything is OK.' It's just like everything else, we're going to look at that, we're going to look at everything. We all know what he's capable of and the player that he is and all that stuff, but again we're going to go back in there, we're going to look at him. We got to get it fixed. We don't have a choice. We've got another opportunity coming up. We're playing Monday Night Football on the road against a great football team."

Do you think there is any relationship between his injury and his performance?

"Zero. Zero. It just comes down to making great decisions. At any position if you try to make plays, press, this, that and the other then sometimes things don't work out the way that you want them to."

Would you say your defense was just put in tough spots today by the early mistakes or do they need to perform better?

"Yeah, we go out there and get a couple stops and then force a field goal and then we have a fake field goal run on us. Again, credit New Orleans, they saw something and they executed and they got us on it. It led to seven points and field position. We throw a pick backed up and give them field position there. Have penalties and those type of things. They were put in tough spots but that's on all of us. We're all accountable. We're professionals. They'll come in and again, I'm damn proud of the way that they responded and fought their butts off to get back in that football game. We were on onside away, recovery, to get the football back and have a chance to win that football game. That's what I'm most proud of."

Quarterback Andrew Luck

What was New Orleans doing that was making life so difficult, particularly in the first three quarters?

"They did a nice job mixing up coverages, mixing up looks, mixing up blitzes, mixing up looks. We couldn't get in a rhythm, couldn't establish a rhythm until the second half there. They did a nice job of stimming us that first half."

At times, you don't look like yourself. Do you feel fine?

"I feel fine if that's the question. Obviously I'm not happy with how I played or the result of the game." 

What's the frustration level? As a team you haven't looked like yourselves yet.

"Yeah, I'd say I'm frustrated up here. I think as a unit, we're frustrated and I'm frustrated with myself. Some egregious turnovers, especially the one at the end of the half. It's really bad football. But we're pros. Guys are pros. Guys are pros in that locker room. We'll come to work tomorrow and start working to fix it. I know that'll be the case." 

Last year, there was a stretch where you guys were rolling offensively. What is the difference between what that unit was doing and what you're currently doing as a unit?

"I'm not sure, and I hesitate to compare to past seasons and teams to other teams. It's unfair. I don't know if you really get that much out of that. Turnovers, missing some throws, penalties aren't helping. I've got to play better. I'm sure everybody in the locker room will say the same thing, but I've got to play better." 

Do you hear the boos going into halftime or do you block that out? Do you understand their frustration?

"Yeah sure, you hear them I guess. Fans are fans, and I still think we've got the best fans in the world." 

As a team, where are you and can you climb out of this?

"Yeah, absolutely we can climb out of it. You said it, we're 3-4. That's where we are. There's not much story beyond that. We're 3-4. We've got a darn good football team. We'll play better, and we'll fix what needs to get fixed."

Do you feel like you guys have found an identity yet?

"That's a good question. They say your identity is what you put on tape, so it's what we've done. I'd like to think we can clean up some mistakes. I think I can clean up my mistakes, hopefully give our unit a better chance of succeeding and give our team a better chance of succeeding." 

What would you say has been put on tape so far this year?

"Some good things at times. I think running the ball well. Doing some really good things in the running game. I think we've been able to spread the ball around at times and build a rhythm. Inconsistent would probably be the word that jumps out most. Haven't done it consistently through two halves or games." 

You hesitated at throwing the ball at times today. Were there just some throws that weren't there?

"There were a couple of times, sometimes they were really, New Orleans did a very good job in their zone drop and in their man. Some of those holes, just wasn't ready to pull that trigger and pulled it back down and moved on to the next guy." 

Through seven games, has this team underachieved this year?

"That's a good question. We'll answer that at the end of the year. How about that?" 

Tight end Dwayne Allen

Now at 3-4, where is this team? Not where you all want to be, but let's be honest, it's the reality of where you all stand.

"Definitely, we stand at the top of our division still and that's the easiest way to get into the dance. We want to continue and go out and perform well out of the division. We just haven't had as much luck so on to the next one. The next game is versus a very talented Carolina Panthers team."

Coach Pagano says limit self-inflicted wounds, you have been hearing that for seven weeks now. Here we are Week 7 with fumbles and penalties, at what point will this team kind of put that behind them?

"Hopefully starting next week and Monday Night Football. It's tough, you have exciting plays being called back because of technical penalties, holdings and what not. We have to do a better job of working out technique and fundamentals and executing plays."

Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman

What was Coach Pagano's message after this game?

"Guys have got to put a complete game together. I don't think you can come out and play a team like that for one half. You got to put a good game together."

Other than that, what else does this team need right now to get things going in the right direction?

"Got to play as a team. Got to come out firing. Can't come out slow like that, especially against a team like the Saints. They're a great team. All the little things, we have to shore all that stuff up."

What stood out to you about the first half in particular?

"Everybody just has to do their job. I think that's the moral of the story. Everybody has to do their job every play, play in and play out."

Running back Frank Gore

What do you see right now as far as this offense and where it is?

"We're putting ourselves in the hole not starting fast. We just got to get better, as an offense, as a team. We know what we got in the locker room. We know what we can be. We just got to do it."

Why do you think you guys are getting off to slow starts?

"Like I said, we are putting ourselves in the hole. Penalties, turnovers, in this league you just can't do that. It's any given Sunday. We're going to stay strong and we're going to stay together. We got to get better."

What's the toughest thing you see Andrew Luck going through right now?

"He's playing, he's playing hard. It's football, he's battling. Things happen in football. We just got to get as one. Clean up all the mistakes, all the penalties, all the turnovers and go do what we know we can do and that's play good football."

3-4 is not where you expected to be.

"No, but when you look at it and see every game we lost, and I'm not taking anything away from that team, but you can see that we helped that team beat us. Like I said, it's the NFL and when you hurt yourself and beat yourself it's going to be tough to win."

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton

How do you explain the inconsistency? It has been biting you almost every week hasn't it?

"Yeah we just got to start fast. We can't spot teams like that 27 points, especially Drew Brees. We got to get better and we got to help the defense out. I think we ran seven plays in the first quarter. That can't happen, that's not us. We just got to get better, see the things we did wrong and just correct them."

We often hear Coach Pagano talk about limiting self-inflicting wounds. We see once again that that hampered you in the first half. What does this team have to do to make sure you don't keep repeating these mistakes?

"We just got to take care of the ball and stop the penalties. You are going to have penalties, but at the end of the day, we can't just keep having them back to back. Take care of the ball and we should be fine."

Where is this team at 3-4? Certainly not where you expected or hoped or wanted to be.

"Not where we want to be, but we are still the head of the division. We just got to get better."

Was there anything you said to Griff Whalen after the first fumble or the second muffed punt?

"Just keep your head up. It's football. Things are going to happen, just keep your head up and good or bad, next play."

Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson

You are 3-4 but you do not feel like a 3-4 team or you are what you are?

"It is a bit frustrating, absolutely, you want to win every game especially at home and to spot a team 20 points, any team and you add Drew Brees into that factor, that's hard to dig yourself out of. I thought in the second half we played much better. The positive out of this season, even the losses, we are right there. If we clean up some things we are right there. That's why you see every guy isn't walking around with their head down or anything like that. If we clean up some things we will be alright. It may be close ball games but we won't be fighting from behind all the time."

With the way the first half went down, not a lot went right. Do you guys hear the boos from the fans?

"Yeah we hear it. We are not playing good football. They have come here to watch us win at home and do the things we need to do to be successful and they are frustrated just like we are. We are more frustrated than anything but I understand it. They hung around and they cheered when the defense was out there. Hey, if we put a better brand of football out there, which we are more capable of doing, we will hear the cheers more than boos."

When you beat yourself, is that the toughest way to lose?

"It is the easiest way to lose. That's the frustrating part about it. Because it's a long season, because you never know how this thing is going to happen, you can't focus on that. You got to focus on man, if we hadn't had made those mistakes how would have the game gone? That has been the tale of this season, we just got to find a way to play complementary football in every phase."

Is there any shaking, any doubt in the faith that the quarterback can get to where he has been?

"No. We are not worried about 12 (Andrew Luck). We are not worried about him at all. Everyone, we have to play better. Everyone has to play better bottom line, it's just as clear as day. We all have to play better."

Wide Receiver Andre Johnson

You've been on a lot of different teams and been through a lot of different situations. What's wrong with this team right now?

"Just not playing good football for 60 minutes. You can't dig a hole for yourself like that and expect to just bounce right out of it. It's already hard enough just to win in this league. When you dig a hole for yourself like that, it's hard to come back. We still had a chance at the end, but it's just hard when you dig a hole for yourself like that."

Why do you think there was such a big hole?

"Well, just not playing football the way that we know how to play. I think it was everybody, offense, defense and special teams, the whole team. It's not like it was just one person."

What's the frustration level like in this locker room?

"I think guys are just more frustrated about the way we played because we know we can play a lot better. As far as frustration towards each other or finger point or anything like that, it's nothing like that. You got guys that say we can't dig holes for ourselves like that because it's already hard enough to win in this league. I think that's more of the frustration. We know we're a good football team, but we're just not playing up to it."

Linebacker Robert Mathis

How frustrated are you right now?

"Disappointed, not frustrated. We work hard and just fell a little short. Wherever we fell short, we just got to fill in those gaps next week and just keep it going."

What are the issues right now?

"Our biggest problem is identifying what the problem is. Once we do that, we'll be okay."

What was Coach Pagano's message after the game?

"It was fiery, make guys accountable and do what you are supposed to do, play how you are supposed to play and let the chips fall where they may."

A player said this thing won't fall apart because Robert Mathis won't let it. What will you do?

"If I need to give guys advice, if I need to fight somebody, if I need to just give somebody counsel or just be a big brother. Whatever it is, we work too hard. We just have to stay as one. We can't let in any outside distracters distract us."

Wide receiver Donte Moncrief

Explain these slow starts that seem to be turning into a trend this season?

"Just something we got to fix. You can't win coming out playing flat so we got to fix that."

Why does it seem like this team hasn't been ready for the start of football games?

"Just some mistakes we make on fumbles, not completing routes and not catching the ball."

What is it going to take to turn it around?

"Just brothers getting together fixing it."

Linebacker Erik Walden

Another game you all came out to a slow start then you get it going there in the second half. What was it that changed for you?

"I don't know. I know we got to eliminate that starting slow. It seems like when the game gets on the line that's when we pick our play up. It's just something we got to get corrected, watch the film and make corrections and come back ready to work."

Slow starts seem to turn into a trend, why do you believe that this team has gotten off to slow starts?

"I don't know. Really starting off we didn't play well. We kind of beat ourselves turning the ball over, missed tackles, mental errors. We just have to eliminate those. Anytime you come into a game the first half against a team like that and the offense, speaking for the defense against Drew Brees, you cannot do that. That was kind of why we were in that predicament we were in."

It's Week 7 but some of the same things, turning over the ball, penalties. At what point does this team put those self-inflicted wounds behind them?

"That's what I was saying. That is why we have to watch the film, make corrections that our coach is going to continue to emphasize. Just taking care of the ball and don't beat ourselves and if we do that you saw what can happen in the second half. We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. If we are able to put that together for 60 minutes I like our chances."

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