COACH TONY DUNGY CONFERENCE CALL
(on the first game) "It turned out well for us. Going on the road and getting a win in that type of environment, you're always happy with road wins. That was a good one for us."
(how pleasantly surprised were you to get a player like Corey Simon with your cap situation and right before the season started?) "Obviously that doesn't happen every day. A lot of things have to fall into place and we really feel fortunate that it did, number one, to have him out there available as a free agent. At that time it takes a little bit of doing and then to be able to put it together and get on the same page with him in terms of what he was looking for and have Jim Irsay create the cap room and the money to do it, really making a commitment to our team. Just all the things that you need, your front office working it out and some of our players getting on board and kind of recruiting Corey a little bit. It was really one of those things that you just don't expect to happen."
(how far does Simon have to go to get into shape?) "He has a ways to go to get to where he was at the end of last year obviously. But he's a hard worker and he's going to continue to make progress. I would say probably through the first seven or eight weeks of the year."
(are you disappointed in how he showed up?) "No, not at all. He played 30 plays for us the other night. He played really well. We just think we're going to get so much more as he gets used to what we're doing and gets himself back into the feel of the contact and everything that goes along with playing football."
(do you think Simon could be the difference that puts your team over the top this year?) "I never like to look at one person that way. I was very cautious with our team to not look at it that way. We can't rely on 'this guy is going to fix the defense'. Everybody has to get better. I think he's going to be an important piece to the puzzle but if we just rely on only Corey Simon to do it, we're not going to make the progress we need to."
(were you pleasantly surprised your contract was extended?) "Jim (Irsay) had mentioned it to me after the season last year and it wasn't something that really needed to be done. He told me that he wanted me to be here for a long while and that was really good enough for me. But it was nice to see it come to fruition. I was thankful to him but it's something that you look at it all in the future. It's not something that really affects this year too much as far as our planning."
(after what happened in Tampa, it has to be a good feeling) "It's always a good feeling to be appreciated. Yes, it is. It's a great feeling."
(are you surprised your team is a nine-point favorite this Sunday?) "I'm not sure what they're basing that on. The last four games we've played, they've won two and we've won two. We won down there one time. They won up here. They've all been close games that have gone into the fourth quarter. I'm not sure why that's the case. We're certainly not preparing like we're nine-point favorites and I'm sure no one in our building has that misconception."
(with the Colts defense improved and the Jaguars offense improved, do you feel both are parallel in terms of the steps forward they've made as a unit?) "I think that's probably a good observation. They've drafted some real weaponry in the last couple of years and with Byron (Leftwich) improving week-in and week-out, I think they are going to be very, very good. We feel the same way. We drafted some guys that are starting to play now and are going to help us. We need to be better as well. I thought that we showed some signs of that in the preseason. Even though the game scores didn't always indicate it, I thought we were making progress defensively and looking at them in the preseason, I thought they played really well and in coming down the stretch last year. So I think there is probably a good comparison."
(on Corey Simon's bigger build) "He is certainly the biggest guy that I've had. We had Gilbert Brown when I was at Minnesotain Gilbert's rookie year, but we really haven't had a lot of really big people like that. I think Corey has some of the same explosiveness that Gilbert had. I think he's going to be good for us. He played in this type of system at FloridaStateand really excelled and we hope he'll do the same here."
(are you looking for Simon to do for you what Tony Siragusa did when he was really good with the Ravens?) "Not really. We're more of a one gap attacking style of team. We're looking for Corey to penetrate the inside, to really come off the ball and make people double-team him. We're looking for him to be a force in the pass rush. We just want him to be the type of player he was at FloridaStateand the type of player he was at Philadelphia, and we think that's going to really help us if he does."
(is it hard to hold the Colts to under 24 points?) "As a defense, you never feel like giving up 24 points is a good night. I'm sure the Ravens didn't feel that way even though they played us pretty well. We always go in on defense looking to hold the other team under 17 (points) and I'm sure most people do against us. I'm sure their defense has higher aspirations than that but conversely, our offense doesn't feel like 24 points is a good night for them. So I think you have both sides of the coin where people have high expectations."
(with so many weapons, is it almost unrealistic to think that a team can hold you to 17 points very often?) "We don't like to think we're going to only score 17 points very often. We did in the playoff game last year. We've had some games that way but we're certainly disappointed if we don't score more than that."
(does New Englanddo anything different against your team?) "No, they really don't. They play their game and the force you to make plays. It's got to be a combination of things. You have to do a good job defensively and not let them possess the ball and have the ball for 36, 37 minutes. Then you have to convert on third down which is what they do a good job of. But we've played New Englandin the past and scored points and put up points. Sometimes they've stopped under 24 a couple times. Sometimes we've scored 31, 35 and still haven't won the game. It's not something where they've got a magic theory of how to play us. They just play pretty well most of the time."
(is the key to stopping Peyton Manning ball control on offense and keep him off the field?) "No, that's part of it obviously but if you can pressure up and cover the receivers, that's the secret to playing any passing team. No question you have to try to mix things up and not let the receivers catch the big plays down the field and somehow get pressure on the quarterback, and that's easier said than done a lot of times."
(is Manning getting any better or has he peaked?) "He is getting better. I thought his last two performances against Baltimore, for instance, they do so many things and have so many gadgets and gimmicks on defense and to go through two games against them with no sacks and no interceptions, that's almost as unbelievable as throwing 49 touchdowns. I think he's doing those kinds of things, managing the game, setting the protections, keeping us away from bad plays as well as still executing and being able to make throws. So, I think he is improving."
(is your goal for this season securing home field advantage for the playoffs?) "No, we never really look at it that way. I approach every year the same. You're number one goal is to win your division and you have to control these division games. That's why this game is so important. Division home games are critical, but that's always the first thing. If you