Dungy : "I Like Where Our Team Is"

After Thursday's practice this week, Colts head coach Tony Dungy answered questions about the Colts' preparation for the Patriots, and the importance of the game to the team.

(On if the guys enjoy the hype of the game)

"I think you try to put it out of your mind during the week. You really do enjoy the fact that you're playing a big game. I know guys love to play on Monday night. You're playing the defending champions. Everyone would get excited about that. It's good for football, when you have these kind of storylines. These are the kind of games you want to play. But you have to be able to still put it in perspective and know that it's still a game that's going to be decided in about three hours on Monday night. It's still going to be decided by how you practice and how you prepare. So, you have to try to not do things differently, but enjoy the ride as you go."

(On if he feels as good about his team as he has going into New England)

"I've always felt pretty good going in against them, but I like where our team is and I like our health and the way we're practicing, so yes, I think we're as good as we're going to be."

(On if you can learn from past games)

"I think you can. I think we've learned that when you play New England, you have to play well to win. I think we've learned that the games that we've turned the ball over more than them we've lost, and the games that we haven't turned the ball over more than them we've won. So that tells you a little something right there. But more than anything, I think you know they're a sound, well-coached team that's going to play very well for four quarters and take advantage of any mistakes that you make."

(On how the Patriots are different from last year)

"I don't know that they're a lot different. They're still doing the same things. They've had to throw the ball a little bit more because they've been behind in some games, and they normally aren't behind. They've had some running back injuries and maybe that's what's caused them to throw it a little bit more. They've thrown it a little bit more than they have in the past, but everything else is about the same. And the things that you've seen from them in the past, you still see from them, so I don't know that they're a whole lot different."

(On how a win would be good for the Colts' ‘psyche')

"A win would be good for us in the standings. It would keep us three games ahead of Jacksonville. It would keep us two games ahead of everybody else in the race for home field advantage. That's what a win would do for us. If we win, I'm sure we'll still have some things we'll need to work on to get ready for Houston. If we lose, we'll have some things to work on and our cushion will be a little bit less. So, it's a game that we want to win. We want to continue to win. But to think that, ‘Boy, if we win this game, all of our problems are solved,' that's a little bit simplistic."

(On his motto to treat every game the same and if this game has a little bit more intensity to it)

"Hopefully not. It's going to be Monday night, it's going to be a big game, but we've had some games that have been really important. Jacksonville was a big game early in the year for us, our division games. Obviously, you're playing the defending champs, so it's not just another game, but it's not a playoff game, it's not a do-or-die where if you lose, you're knocked out of the playoff race. It's a big game, but it's one out of 16."

(On the challenge of keeping a team as a perennial contender each year)

"The challenge is that things don't get stale, that the routine doesn't get to the point where you say, ‘Hey, we have to do some different things because I don't like what we've been doing the last 50 weeks. To be able to continue about the business at hand, to look one week at a time and to stay patient, that can be hard to do, especially if you've been like us where you have been fairly good but you haven't won it. There's a tendency to want to tinker and change things. There's a tendency to try to get ahead of yourself when people tell you, ‘Well, the only thing that matters is the playoffs,' or ‘the only thing that matters is when you play New England, the first seven games really don't count, it's only the New England game.' So you have to fight that, and you still have to do things one week at a time and one practice at a time, and that becomes the challenge."

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