HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(opening comments) 1/17/05
"These are always tough days because they come unexpectedly. Twelve teams go into the playoffs and 11 of them are going to feel just like we feel, whether you go out in the championship game round like we did last year or this round or the wild card round like we did two years ago. They all feel the same. It's disappointing because you put so much work into it and you know what you had to do just to get to this point. Our guys put in a lot of effort in the offseason program, mini camps, our summer school program, training camp and the regular season just to get this opportunity. And then when you don't win the ballgame, there's a little bit of an empty feeling. We'll be able to, in another week or so, look at the season in total and realize that we did have a fine year. We did a lot of things that we set out to do. We didn't accomplish our ultimate goal of going to the Super Bowl and winning it. That's what we're going to strive for. As I told the team (in our team meeting), I don't know any different ways to do it. We have a very good offensive system in place, a very good defensive system and a good special teams system. We have good players and good coaches, and we just have to continue to grow on that. I know there is going to be a school of thought that, 'What do we have to do to beat New England?' and 'How are we going to re-tool this?', and that's not really the thing. Obviously, we've lost 10 games in two years and four of them have been to New England. So, almost half of our losses have been to them. I don't think we can get consumed by feeling we have to do anything special. We just have to continue to grow and get better, and eventually, we'll get to the point to where we beat those guys. We have to do that, but still be able to compete in our division and win that and to be able to play well in the playoffs wherever it is against whoever. So, I think we go away feeling disappointed, certainly, but feeling good about the direction we're going and feeling good about the guys we have on our team to do that."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on if he asks himself if the team is better than it was 12 months ago) 1/17/05
"I think the value of looking at the whole season—and I know that's what I encourage our coaches to do and that's what we'll do in the next few days—is to look at everything and evaluate where we did make progress and where we still have to get better. And we'll find a lot of ways where we are improved. So yes, I think we will fight that feeling of, 'Hey, everything's the same.' New Englandhas an excellent football team, and they're going to have their hands full with Pittsburghthis week, but they've improved, and I think we have, too. We just have to improve a little bit more. I think when we evaluate the whole season, we'll see a lot of areas we did improve and we'll see some areas that we're going to have to get better."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on if they were not as aggressive as last year because of all the turnovers) 1/17/05
"No, I don't think that was the case at all. I think there was good defense being played in the first half of the game, and they continued to play good defense in the second half. We had some chances to do that, and we just couldn't quite match them defensively in the second half. That was the difference in the game, just a couple of drives. We wanted to take some shots and just couldn't come up with any big plays. I think it was the first game that I've been involved with here where we didn't have a big pass or a big run. And you have to give them credit for it."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on if he thinks he's being tested by the football gods) 1/17/05
"There are always different challenges. We just happened to be hot at a time where there are some other good teams that are really hot. The tough thing for us is winning 24 regular-season games in two years and never really getting that advantage of having the week off and a home game in the second round. And that's unusual to win that many. Usually a 12-win team—we were an 11-win team one time in Tampaand had a bye and a home game. And it's tough to go on the road and win that second game. We did it last year, but it's not easy. So, I think what we have to do is just make sure we're consistent enough in the regular season and win a little bit more, so that we get that advantage of having that week of and a bye."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on how far of a gap there is between New Englandand the Colts) 1/17/05
"It's hard to say, but I don't think it's that big. Most of the games have been close. This one was probably the biggest blowout of all the ones we've played and it was 6-3 with a minute to go in the third quarter. So, I don't think the gap is that big, but certainly when a team beats you four times in a row, there's a gap."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on the striking differences between the Colts and New England) 1/17/05
"The biggest difference is that we have not been able to get the takeaways against them that we get against other teams and they've made some plays in the fourth quarter to win the games. Two of the games have come down to scoring from the one-yard line. So, I don't know that there's a big, big gap other than the fact that they're a really veteran unit that believes they're going to make those plays in those situations. And they've done it. They've only lost two games in 30-something games, so it's not like we're the only ones trying to find those answers."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on Raheem Brock and Robert Mathis possibly changing positions) 1/17/05
"Raheem's situation, he played exceptionally well inside, and you're always looking for inside players. I think this defense really starts with the tackle position. Montae Reagor came on and played well, Josh Williams has played well and Larry Tripplett played well in the playoffs for us. We feel real good about those three guys. Raheem did some things in there that look like he could be a difference maker. If Josh Thomas is going to bounce back from his surgery and be ready to go when camp starts, that may give us a little more freedom to think about Raheem as a full-time inside player. So, that is a possibility. Robert, there's some sentiment to moving him to linebacker. I kind of like where he is as a defensive end, a designated rusher and a special teams guy. I think he gives us a big impact. But our evaluation will have to be with (Linebackers Coach) Mike Murphy: Do we think he can be an impact linebacker and a guy in the Derrick Brooks mode? (If so) then you'd have to think about it."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on New England's rushing attack) 1/17/05
"Yesterday, the running game was them making a commitment to it and us not tackling as well as we needed to in the second half of the game. Corey Dillon is a good back. We knew that. We knew that if they got up on us and ran, it was going to take a big effort. But a lot of it comes with execution and doing things right all of the time. And that's what you have to do to be good. When things start to go a little haywire, you have to hang in there, you have to believe in the system and know that, '