INDIANAPOLIS COLTS HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY
*CONFERENCE CALL *
Q: It seems like most of your defensive personnel is similar to what you had a year ago and yet statistically at least you are miles ahead of where you were last year. What are the reasons why the defense as performed better?
TD: I think you hit the nail on the head. We have a number of guys who are in the same positions for another year in the system. They understand it a little better and therefore they are playing faster and playing better. Bob Sanders, for instance, had no training camp at all last year. He came in at Week Six and started playing and played okay for us. He is playing a lot better because he knows what he is doing a little bit more. Cato June is in his second year starting and just playing better. We have our improvement in a lot of cases from not making changes, but from individual players playing better.
Q: What has been Corey Simon's impact on the run defense?
TD: I think Corey has helped mentally more than anything else. I think he has given us a presence. He is used to playing good defense. He has given our guys a little bit of confidence. He is still learning what we do and how we do it. I think he is going to be a tremendous player for us in the future. He has played well already, but I think he is going to be much better as we get into the second half of the year. The big thing he has given us is some stability and a guy with a sense of what you have to do to play well.
Q: Are you getting close to having this defense be like the TampaBaydefense you had running your Cover 2 scheme?
TD: We play well at times. We are still not consistent. We have bad stretches. We have situations where we get out whack a little bit. The thing about the guys in Tampa is they had been in the system so long that they didn't have many bad periods. They may have a bad play here or there, but they don't get in those six or seven play stretches where it just goes haywire. That is what we have to do. If we can settle down, we have the ability to play pretty well and a lot of times we do. We still have situations that get us by surprise or we are just a little bit off. When we can eliminate those, I think we will be pretty good.
Q: Was it just a matter of getting the right guys in there that fit your scheme?
TD: Really it isn't a matter of getting the right personnel, but learning what you are doing in any situation. Our offense has been in place really eight years now and we have a lot of guys that really understand it and they know what they are doing. They are able to help the other guys who are learning. We didn't have the luxury of that. It was really a matter of getting guys to know what to expect and know what to do. We are a lot more experienced as a defensive system now.
Q: Do you think your team is or ever has been psyched out by seeing the Patriots helmet on the field?
TD: No, I don't think you get psyched out by that. I think a lot of times it is just dealing with a good team. In the years I have played the Patriots, we haven't beaten them, but not that many other people have beaten them either. I think we have had a team that is good enough, but we just haven't done it. We had the same situation before in a lot of different ways with supposedly Tennessee, who had our number or their style of play was such that we weren't going to be able to beat them. Then it was playoff games that this team hadn't won. None of that really matters; it is how you play on that particular day.
Q: When you look at this Patriots team, is there a particular vulnerability on defense that you haven't seen from them?
TD: Not really. What you see is some errors all the way across the board that you are not use to seeing from them. Delay of game penalties on the field goal, things like that, that are cropping up at bad times for them that I'm sure they feel like once they get those squared away they are going to be back where they always are. You are still seeing the same types of plays, the same system and a lot of good players out there. They are just ha