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Tony Dungy Quotes 1/14/04

TONY DUNGY 1/14/04 (opening statement) “I thought we got off to a good start. Our practice was pretty crisp and enthusiastic.



(opening statement)

"I thought we got off to a good start. Our practice was pretty crisp and enthusiastic. Obviously, we have a lot of work ahead of us. New England gives you a lot of things you have to work on. I liked our preparation today and I think our guys will be ready to go."

(on who didn't practice today)

"We didn't have that many guys that didn't practice. Walt Harris did not, kind of his normal time off. Nick Harper we held out. He was actually doing fine and got some back spasms in the first part of practice, so he did not work. Donald Strickland we had planned to give the day off. He should be ready to go tomorrow, but he did not practice. Brandon Stokley's son is sick in the hospital and he missed practice today. Marcus Pollard did not practice. It's a mild high-ankle sprain is what they are saying. Hunter Smith is listing him as probable. I have a feeling that he's going to be able to play. We'll see how he does probably on Friday. Marvin Harrison did practice and seemed to do fine."

(on the offense that New England runs)

"They do a little bit of everything. They have hit some people with deep balls, they have some guys that can run after the catch, Troy Brown and (David) Givens and (Deion) Branch. They've got tight ends that can catch the ball, Kevin Faulk is a big, big part of their passing attack so they spread the ball around and they're very effective with it."

(on preparing for the game conditions in New England)

"The footing is not really very good. It's a very hard surface and kind of icy in some places, but we wanted to get used to having the ball in the wind and the atmosphere so we practiced our kicking game outside and our practice drills, and we did everything else inside. It worked out okay. We got a chance to handle the ball and do that."

(on preparing to play on the road)

"I think you have to learn to play on the road and learn to do the same things that you do at home on the road. That's basically what it is if you function as though you are at home and not get derailed by the noise and different things that go on. Generally the veteran teams are a little bit better on the road. I think our team, especially on offense, has a lot of veterans and a lot of leadership and we've been able to move the ball and score on the road."

(on if you have to prepare any different to play in this environment)

"You hope not. You hope that you can go and do what you always do. Those are the teams that win in these situations, not the team that can rise to the occasion, but the team that can do what they normally do, even though it is a big situation and there is more riding on it. If you can function the way you normally do, you've got a great chance to win."

(on the game coming down to 3-4 key plays)

"I think it does and we've had that. New England's certainly had that. They've had any number of different guys step up and make big plays in a lot of close games and we have, too. We've had it from young guys, we've had it from veterans who've had big days. Offensively, it just seems to be somebody different every week for us. Defensively, you can make a play, one play at the right time, a tipped ball, a fumble recovery down the field. David Macklin makes a huge play chasing down Priest Holmes causing a fumble and recovering it on the second play of the third quarter, and you just never know when those big plays are going to come. The trick is to play every down like it's the key play of the game."

(on what DB-Rodney Harrison brings to New England's defense)

"He's a veteran guy who's very smart and very tough. He's made a lot of plays for them. They always had that kind of physical attitude, but he's been one more guy to enhance that and he wants to win. Just talking to him before the game when they played here and talking to him a little bit after the game, he's very excited about being in a situation like this where you're playing big games that mean something. I know it's been a good acquisition for them."

(on if he's seen anyone like WR-Marvin Harrison)

"Really not many. John Stallworth maybe is the only guy that I've been around. Cris Carter, I'd put them in the same category. He can just catch every ball that's close and make it look almost effortless. He'd probably be right there with those two guys as far as guys I've been around."

(on where QB-Peyton Manning ranks in terms of how he prepares)

"I haven't really been around anybody who prepared like Peyton does. Donnie Shell, I'd probably have to put in that same category. He's a guy that was an ultra-preparer and I'm sure there are guys like that, but I just haven't been around many that do. Steve DeBerg was similar, but Peyton, preparation is everything to him and he has the desire to win and the desire to be the best and he just doesn't leave any stones unturned."

(on covering as many bases as possible in tape study)

"You just try to put them in the situations in practice. You talk about them, you put them up in the tape study, go over it and you know that you're going to see some things as a coach that aren't going to quite register with them. The trick is to get as many of those situations covered as many times as you can so it does register. You do all you can do and then they have to go play."

(on if the game plan will be different against New England the second time)

"Not really. We have gone through our preparation, looking at New England like we always would. We're not going to change anything drastically. I think we have to do what we do and just execute better than we did the first time against New England."

(on if the Colts beat themselves against New England in the first game)

"No, they beat us. They put up 38 points, they converted a bunch of big third-downs, they hit some touchdown passes on us, they got a kick return, they did some things to put points on the board and somehow, we're going to have to get those corrected so we don't give up 38 points again."

(on his perception of QB-Peyton Manning before he came to Indianapolis)

"My perception, and I had a little bit different insight because (offensive coordinator) Tom Moore and I are very close friends, and Tom told me his (Peyton Manning's) rookie year what he was like and how good he was and how good he was going to be. I wasn't surprised when I got here. You see the stats, and you see the numbers when you're watching, and being in the NFC (with Tampa), I didn't get to see that much tape on him, but I knew he was a good player. I guess the biggest thing in my memory of Peyton, after the 1997 season, he was the College Player of the Year, he won the Maxwell Award and I was there. We road in the limousine together, his family and my wife and I. We had a great conversation. He was getting ready for the draft and that kind of thing. I got here in 2002 and I didn't think he'd remember much about that and as I started to introduce my wife to him at my press conference here, he said, 'Oh yeah, I remember your wife. We rode to this airport together in the limousine at the Maxwell Awards and we talked about this and that.' He had total recall about the whole thing, and I said, 'Wow.' That's how he is about a lot of things."

(on if QB-Peyton Manning has increased confidence after two playoff wins)

"I think he's always had confidence. I think he's very relaxed right now and is a rhythm because everybody in the system is playing well. I just think our whole group, offensively, has confidence right now."

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