Ryan Fitzpatrick: "We are playing for our playoff lives"


QB Ryan Fitzpatrick**

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Q: When you take a look at this Colts defense, New England got points on them, what do you see in terms of opportunities there for your offense?

A: Yeah. New England gets points on everybody and there was the three touchdowns by special teams and defense. I think the score got out of hand there for a variety of reasons. The biggest thing with these guys, playing in their building especially, you look at their pass rushers and the pressure they get on the quarterback. They are a fairly aggressive defense. Like to play a lot of man-to-man coverage. That will be the biggest thing for us, being able to limit the effectiveness of their pass rushers and being able to get the ball out to make big plays.

Q: Do DE Dwight Freeney and DE Robert Mathis present different challenges now that they are coming at you from a 3-4 defense?

A: When they get into pass rush mode, there is some stuff that is a little bit different on first and second down, but on third down they are in pass rush mode pinning their ears back there is not a huge difference in what they do. They are certainly guys that pop out on film, just in terms of their speed off the ball and how dynamic they are.

Q: Is the Colts' defense similar to the Ravens and the Jets?

A: Not really. San Diego, they do some similar stuff that San Diego has done just because that is where they came from. I do not think you can really compare them to the Ravens or the Jets much.

Q: Are you amazed at what Colts QB Andrew Luck has been able to do?

A: Yeah, I watched the last game on TV versus the Patriots and that was the first time I was able to sit back and watch him play. Even in that game, a game with the turnovers and whatever else happened, you could tell he was very impressive. I think his mentality and you already see guys looking up to him as a leader and following him with his demeanor. That is the kind of stuff when I am looking at a quarterback is impressive to me. He has already got all of that, which for a rookie is very impressive.

Q: Destiny is not completely in your control and you get to face Indianapolis a team you are trailing. How important is it?

A: You are right. They are all important. Our next game against a team that is ahead of us in the standings right now. We always talk about division games being two-for games and all of that but you can really put this in the same category. Just in terms of a team that is ahead of us. We need to get a win and give them a loss. That would be a very good thing for us obviously.

Q: A lot of your teammates have talked about this being the playoffs. Is that the mentality?

A: Yeah, that is the mentality. Every week that is what we are looking at it as. We are playing for our playoff lives right now. We cannot really expect to go out there, not win this game and still have a realistic shot at it. We have to go out there in a hostile environment and win the game. Just try to continue on a nice little streak at the end here.

Q: How frustrating has the inconsistencies in the red zone been? What is going to be the secret to getting some level of consistency there?

A: I think we have had two poor performances in the red zone, looking at Houston the way we played and the Miami game the way we played. Those were two very poor performances. It is just one of those things, how did we respond after the Houston game? I think we did a good job. Hopefully we respond well after this Miami game, but it is just something that the difference between three and seven. You do not have to be a mathematician or a rocket scientist to figure out when you get down there if you can convert those into touchdowns it is so big for your team. That is something that the consistency is what you always talk about. We need to be able to make those plays down there to get the points.

Q: Is the red zone where you have missed RB Fred Jackson the most?

A: We missed Fred in every aspect. I know that C.J. (Spiller) has done a great job and he rushed for almost 100 yards in the game, but there is just so many things that Fred does for our team. It is not only in the red zone, it is not only on third down, screen game or protection stuff—he is such a well-rounded player that whenever he is not in the lineup we miss him in every phase of the game.

Q: Don't you think you have to be able to go out there on third-and-short and prove that you can run the ball?

A: Yeah, the third-and-one or third-and-two that is smash mouth football. You have to be able to line up. I think we talked about this last week, but our running game is a lot of spread them out with three wide receivers on the field. Let our guys get in space and get those mismatches, but we have to be able to run the ball on third-and-short, third-and-one and third-and-two situations. Put all our big people in there and just pound it up there. That is something we need to get better at.

Q: How much has CB/KR Leodis McKelvin helped this unit with his ability to return kicks and punts?

A: It has been great to see. Leo has been very dynamic back there. He is a guy that we have to watch on every play now just to see if he is going to take it back for a touchdown or not. That is kind of how it has been all year long and he has done a great job. He has been a nice little boost for our team.

Q: It seems like TE Scott Chandler is a consistent mismatch every week. Can you just speak to that?

A: Yeah, nobody is going to match up with him on defense just in terms of his height. I think we know that. He is a guy that has just gotten so much better in the last few years in route running ability, using his body and shielding off defenders. He is a guy that does a great job in going up for catches and so it is a mismatch that we feel like even if David Nelson was healthy this year, getting away from the four wide receiver stuff and getting him on the field more was probably something that was going to happen. With David going down, it has obviously happened a ton this year. It has given him more of an opportunity to show what he has and we have been very satisfied with the way that he has performed this year. Hopefully we can have a strong finish.

Q: Isn't Chandler supposed to be the guy in the red zone? He only had two catches last game.

A: He is a big time target. A guy we try to get the ball and I think other teams know that too. Sometimes when you are seeing teams double team down there in the red zone, they are trying to double team Scott, they are going to try to double team Stevie (Johnson) and force you to go to other guys. Yeah, (Chandler) is a guy we always look for down there.

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