HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(general comments) 1/5/05
"I thought we had a good practice today. It was a little bit strange coming back for the second week in a row practicing for the same opponent, running a lot of the same plays, that type of thing. So, we had hoped to be a little bit sharper than we were last week and we were. Right now, I think we're in very good shape. It's a fun time of year. I think our guys are enjoying it, and we looked like we did today."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on P-Hunter Smith's improvement) 1/5/05
"We've actually punted a lot more these last three weeks than we had earlier in the year, and that may be something to it, a little bit more rhythm that he's developed. There have been games where we've needed it. We got it the Baltimoregame. It was a tight defensive game. San Diegowas tight, and we punted quite a bit last week. So, being able to net 40 yards plus in those games has been huge. I think it's just a matter of relaxing and getting in a rhythm."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on if they felt they had to hold anything back last week with the possibility of playing Denvertwice in a row) 1/5/05
"No, we really didn't look at it that way. We felt we wanted to practice well last week, and we did that. We wanted to come out and play well. Our first group, when they were in the game, played well offensively. Defensively, we weren't as sharp as we wanted to be. But we got some young guys some playing time and they're going to be better for it down the road. The last game we lost, we won eight straight after that. So hopefully that trend continues."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on QB-Jake Plummer's scrambling ability) 1/5/05
"They're going to run bootlegs and they're going to have some designed things for him to get out. He's going to scramble around in the pocket on drop-back passes. He's going to run when the play breaks down. That's part of what makes him good, is his ability to move around. We have to use our speed on the turf. We have to keep him in there. We have to run him down and force some bad throws when he does scramble. It's going to be a challenge, but hopefully we have our speed and do a better job of it than we did last week."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on the differences in this year's and last year's defense) 1/5/05
"I think we're more active. I think we have more speed. We're playing with more energy. We've certainly taken the ball away more. We've put more pressure on the quarterback. We've been ahead a whole lot more this year than we were last year, so that helps. We're probably not as consistent a group as last year's group. We don't have as many veteran players. We've probably made more mistakes, more errors, than last year's group, but I think with our energy and speed, we've made up for that."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on with the offense, how he has to rely on players developing in the defense) 1/5/05
"It's not difficult. Guys have to come in and they have to grow in the system and you have to play well. I thought we'd be playing good football at this time of year, and we have in many, many cases. There's been a couple of quarters that we haven't, but other than that, we're growing and we're improving. And we should be better next year."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on if the defense is good enough to lead them to a Super Bowl) 1/5/05
"The way I answer that is, everybody says New Englandis still the team to beat. And this defense, we had the ball on the one-yard line going in, and if we punch the ball in, we beat New Englandat New England. They played well enough that day to probably win the game and they can do it again. Now, can we do it three or four weeks in a row, which is what you have to do…we'll find out. That's what the next four weeks is all about. But yes, if we got to the Super Bowl, I think this defense could play well enough one game to win the game."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on the progress of the defensive line and DE-Dwight Freeney) 1/5/05
"I think it's a part of all of those guys. And it's a part of everyone, including (Defensive Line Coach) John (Teerlinck) working with guys, getting them going. I think we're better rushers. We're more mature rushers. We have one special guy that people have to take into account, and we know a lot of times how they're going to block certain things, and that certainly helps the other guys. But it's the other guys creating some rush, too, and the coverage being there. I think Robert (Mathis) has been as big a part of that, too, now when you have another edge rusher that people have to worry about. That helps us, but I think it's all of them."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on QB-Peyton Manning winning AP Offensive Player-of-the-Year) 1/5/05
"I don't think it was a big surprise or a lot of suspense. There has been some guys that have had some great years. Muhsin Muhammad has had a great year, Curtis Martin. But when you look at everything that has happened, what our offense has done and the touchdown passes, it probably was not a hard call. And it's well deserved. Peyton has worked hard. He's practiced. He's been the beneficiary of some great teammates. So, I'm very happy for him. I know it's not the award he's really concerned about, but I think it's well deserved."
HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY(on how his defense has improved this season) 1/5/05
"The first half of the year, we had a lot of up-and-down play. We made a lot of mistakes and we gave up a ton of big plays. The first half of the season, we averaged 25 points a game against us. The second half, we were about 16 or 17. So, we cut just about a touchdown per game off of what we were giving up. We've played a little bit more consistently in terms of following our rules and playing our reads and not giving up big plays. If we don't' give up big plays and we make people have to have 10-or-12-play drives to score, we have enough big-play guys on defense who can come up with a sack, a fumble, an interception, a momentum-changing play. If we have three-play touchdown drives and 30-and 40-yard plays, that's when we struggle. But we've cut those down as the year's gone on."