Tony Dungy 1/5/04

TONY DUNGY 1/5/04 (on the Denver game) “I know this is going to sound a little strange, but after watching the tape, my conclusion is that (Denver and the Colts) are two evenly-matched teams and what you saw was two games that really weren’t all that much different.

TONY DUNGY

1/5/04

(on the Denver game)

"I know this is going to sound a little strange, but after watching the tape, my conclusion is that (Denver and the Colts) are two evenly-matched teams and what you saw was two games that really weren't all that much different. The score went our way the other night and went their way two weeks ago. The games weren't that much different. They ran the ball at us. They moved the ball, had the time of possession on their side in both games. We just made a few more plays and did a better job on third down offensively and defensively. We got ahead in this game as opposed to them getting ahead in the first game. That was the difference. Our guys played with a lot of energy and we made some plays when we needed to. We were a little sharper on offense, and that was the difference in making some big passing plays as opposed to being a little bit off and getting incomplete passes or having to punt the ball. It was a great win for us. Now, we have to focus on Kansas City and we have to focus on playing a little bit better than we did last night."

(on if the Denver game was the best the Colts have played all year)

"I don't think so. We still have some things we need to clean up on defense. Special teams-wise, we played pretty well. Mike (Vanderjagt) kicked the ball well, we covered pretty well, and we didn't have to punt. Offensively, we can't be much sharper than that, but we have some things we have to clean up. We had a fumbled snap, two fumbles offensively, two penalties lining up on defense, a holding penalty on special teams. Those are things that you can't allow the hype of the moment to let you make those kinds of errors. On the road, that's going to hurt you. There are some things that we have to do better, but we played with a lot of energy and we made plays."

(on if C-Jeff Saturday will go back to center and C/OG-Tupe Peko will go back to right guard)

"They probably will go back. We're going to talk about it, but our first thought is that this is just really a special situation. I think they'll flip back around."

(on the performance of C-Jeff Saturday and C/OG-Tupe Peko)

"I'm really more impressed with how Jeff played. Tupe has practiced a lot at center and played a lot at center. People don't understand how difficult that is for Jeff to change positions with just one week of practice where he never practices at guard and then play against a Pro Bowl Player. He did a great job. We rolled the dice and it went in our favor."

(on how the decision to switch C-Jeff Saturday to right guard was made)

"We looked at what happened the first game, and (Trevor) Pryce was a big factor. He's their best defensive player. He plays not very much over the center, he plays over the guard. Steve Sciullo hadn't had a lot of practice time. We were looking at different ways we could help that guard and then Jeff kind of came up with the suggestion, 'Why alter everything to try to help one guy. Let me just move over there.' It was an idea that no one would have thought of on our coaching staff. We certainly wouldn't have asked him to do it on our own. When he volunteered, we started thinking about it, and it made a lot of sense."

(on scoring a lot of points for a defensive-minded coach)

"It think part of coaching is trying to utilize what you have the best that you can. Obviously, when I came here, we had some really talented offensive guys, a system that has been here five or six years. They had an ability to score points and move the ball and make big plays, so you have to build on that. I have to say it is tough for me to watch 38-35 games and 41-35 games. It's difficult at times, but that's what we do. We're going to get better and better on defense and we've played some great defensive games, but our strength is our offense right now and we're building things around that."

(on having the right playoff mentality)

"You have to know that every game has a life of its own. What happened in the past doesn't dictate what happens in the future. The stakes get higher, but you have to play them the same way. We've got to go into Kansas City and expect the same type of environment that Denver ran into. We're playing on the road, so that's a little different, but the game is the same. It's not going to be any different then when we went to Tennessee, or when we went Buffalo. We're going to have to perform the same way even though the stakes are a little higher."

(on if the win against Denver answered a lot of questions)

"This is not just a mission to come in and win one playoff game. Our mission when this thing started was to win the Super Bowl. Obviously, to that, you have to win week one. We wanted to have a home game. Our fans deserved a home game. I think they showed that yesterday. That was something the team wanted to do. That's why the game in Houston was so big. We were never just focused on this game and finally getting a win. We expected to go to Kansas City and we're going there."

(on the Chiefs)

"They are very similar in a lot of ways. They have explosive guys, they are well-coached, they have a system that they believe in. They have two really talented players in Priest Holmes and (Tony) Gonzalez, and they score a lot of points. We're going to have to be on our game. We're going to have to go in there and be able to deal with a lot of different formations and shifts like Denver. You are going to have to be able to stop the run and pressure the passer. You can't just focus on one thing. It's going to be similar in a lot of ways (to playing Denver)."

(on having a 7-1 record on the road this year)

"I think we take a lot of confidence in that. We've won seven games this year on the road. We've won in some tough places. I think our players know that and they look forward to going on the road."

(on the difficulties of playing on the road)

"I think the big thing is that when you go on the road, you have to play offensive football. It's tougher dealing with the noise and snap counts and things. You can't be as sharp, normally, offensively. I don't think your defense suffers too much, but most of the time, it's a struggle on offense. We have a veteran offense. We can deal with the noise. It hasn't really been a problem for us. We've been able to score points on the road."

(on the play of QB-Peyton Manning)

"That was a big-time performance, because I really have a lot of respect for Denver's defense. They played well all year, held some good offenses down. To do it against that type of defense, in that type of environment, it's big."

(on if the offensive explosion was due to QB-Peyton Manning, or offensive coordinator Tom Moore)

"I think it's a little bit of everybody. The thing that we had in our favor, that people don't realize, we had almost two weeks of preparation time because the games were so close. Much of our offense that we put in the first week, we didn't get to use, only having 30-some plays. We had a lot of good things stored up that we didn't get to use. We were very comfortable by the end of the week with what Tom (Moore) and Jim Caldwell had drawn up. By Thursday, you could just see that he (Peyton Manning) really felt good about it."

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