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Tony Dungy 1/1/04

TONY DUNGY 1/1/04 (on today’s practice) “I thought we had a good day, seeing how it’s New Year’s Day, not a typical day. Our guys came in very focused and ready and we had a good practice, which is what we needed.



(on today's practice)

"I thought we had a good day, seeing how it's New Year's Day, not a typical day. Our guys came in very focused and ready and we had a good practice, which is what we needed. If we can get one more tomorrow, get the finishing touches on things, I think we'll be ready to play."

(on if he thinks QB-Peyton Manning should win the MVP)

" I think so, of the people that I've seen. I've said a couple of times, if you couldn't vote for a guy on your team, I'd vote for Steve McNair. He's really impressed me my two years in the AFC. This year, I thought he had a tremendous year, but we won the division. We beat them (Tennessee) twice, so if I was voting, I'd vote for Peyton."

(on if the Colts just don't match-up well against Denver)

"I think every game is different. We won out there (against Denver) last year, and maybe we didn't match-up well, but we found a way to win the game. They beat us, and they matched up pretty well against us offensively and defensively in that game. I think whoever loses this game, it will be a bad match-up for them afterwards."

(on how important playoff experience is)

"I think it's a little bit overrated. It's a lot like playing big games. We've got a lot of young guys, a lot of rookies, who haven't played in playoff games, but they've played in National Championship games and Big Ten title games. They will be ready to go. I was talking to Pete Mitchell and they went in at Jacksonville and went on a roll the first year they were in the playoffs. None of their coaches, none of their players had been in it, and sometimes that happens. If you're hot (as a team) and ready, I don't think that really matters."

(on the importance of a positive turnover ratio in the playoffs)

"It generally is the big thing in playoff games, no matter how things go. If you take the ball away from the other team and don't give it up, you have a heck of a chance of winning in the playoffs. Most playoff games are decided by the turnover margin. Both of the teams (Indianapolis and Denver) have been very good at not giving the ball away. There was only one turnover in the game the last time (Denver played Indianapolis). We'd like to keep it that way from our standpoint."

(on the team's vast improvement in turnover ratio this year from last year)

"That was a big help to us. I told the team last year that we were fortunate to get into the playoffs minus in the giveaway-takeaway. It generally doesn't happen. We did it last year, but you don't do it very often. Our offense did a much better job of protecting the ball (this year). We did a little better job taking the ball away. I still think we can make some improvements there, but plus-10 certainly puts you in that category. If you look at all the teams in the playoffs in the AFC, you go right down the list, the top five are all in the top five in turnovers (ratio)."

(on DB-Donald Strickland)

"He's a good player. He reminds me an awful lot of Rhonde Barber. I think he's a special type of corner. In our system, I think corner is the best spot for him, but he has done a good job at safety for us and been productive."

(on if Denver will alternate RB-Clinton Portis with RB-Quentin Griffin after Griffin's performance against the Colts in the regular season)

"I think it would be hard (to play Quentin Griffin). You've got a guy (Clinton Portis) who we talked about as being a possible MVP candidate, a guy who averaged 5.5-yards-per-carry all year. To not give the ball to Clinton, and not have him going in your biggest game of the year, it would surprise me. Griffin is obviously played well, and if Portis has any issues with conditioning after sitting out a couple weeks, I'm sure they would be thrilled to play Griffin. I think he's (Quentin Griffin) dynamite on turf. I don't know how much we will see him, but if he plays, he will play well I'm sure."

(on the impact of WR-Brandon Stokley's success in the playoffs)

"Brandon has been a productive player in the playoffs. He's made clutch catches, and in the games that he's been able to play for us, he's done that. I would expect him to continue. We're happy that he's fresh and ready to go."

(on Denver's team speed)

"They are exceptionally fast on defense. It's the fastest defense we've seen. Their offensive line is definitely the fastest, most athletic group we've played. I can't think of a group that we've played faster than them."

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