Dungy: "Our Guys Are Excited To Play"

Colts head coach Tony Dungy spoke to the media on Monday about his team's preparation for this weekend, how long he plans to continue to coach, his thoughts on the AFC Playoffs, and how Peyton Manning benefited from some rest over the past few weeks.

(general comments)
"It's certainly nice to be back to work and fun to be back knowing who we're going to play and preparing for a game. It's very exciting for us and I think there are four outstanding teams left in it. It should be a fun couple of weeks and hopefully we are there for a couple of weeks. Looking ahead, Pittsburgh is a rematch of a month or so ago, and they're hot. I don't know if they've lost since they left us, and they're playing very well. They're playing physical, they're playing the style of ball we're used to seeing from Pittsburgh and they've gone on the road a few times and won, so everything is setting up to make it a great game. I think we're going to be in good shape. We're going to be as healthy as we've been in a long time, and I know our guys are excited to play. It will be a fun time, a fun atmosphere and we're certainly looking forward to things."

(on if he has thought of how long he will coach in the NFL)
"I always think about that at the end of the year. You hope they ask you back. That's the first thing I have learned about this, you can't assume that you're coming back. If they ask you back, you have to assess where you are. For me, it's if you still enjoy it, where you're family is and other things that you would like to do. I'm still enjoying it but we'll assess that at the end of the year. I had targeted 10 years when I started. I told a lot of people that I would be retired when I was 50, and I haven't quite made it. I always thought that 50, from the time I started at 24, would be close to where I would make a decision. I've made it farther than I thought I would."

(on if this playoff run has more meaning to him after what he has gone through)
"I don't think it does. You're always looking to be in the playoffs and that's what you take this job for. I've been fortunate to be in some good organizations where we've been in the playoffs a number of times, but they're always special. It's the end of the year and you get a chance to see where you match up. You know it's a one-game knockout and that's what you're really here for. With my son's situation and our family, it puts it all into perspective. I always thought that the playoffs are great and the Super Bowl's great, but it's not the most important thing in the world. I certainly don't take it for granted even though we've been there a few times."

(on if he wants the players to not play for him)
"I think it's going to be our opportunity to do something special and cap a year that was really a good year for us. That's the way our guys are going to look at it and that's how I want them to look at it. To win one for the city of Indianapolis and our organization and (Owner and CEO) Mr. [Jim] Irsay, that's what it's all about. Our team is very close and these guys are close to me, and we shared some special moments, but that's not what the playoffs are all about."

(on so many road teams winning playoff games)
"I think it tells that the teams in the playoffs are very good football teams, and usually teams don't worry about going on the road or not. It's just the team that plays the best wins. Sometimes when you're not quite as experienced or maybe not quite as good a team, you need that home crowd behind you to win, but most of these teams don't. They have good road records, solid quarterbacks, and it's a matter of who plays the best that day."

(on if he watched the four Wild Card games as a fan or coach)
"I watched as a fan. I was able to watch all four. It was good football. What you saw was some defenses rising up and making some plays and making statements. I think that is what playoff football is all about. Offenses are going to get in gear but the defenses really set the tone for who is going to win the game."

(on the power of the AFC this year)
"It goes in cycles. In the time that I have been in the league it has gone back and forth. When I was a player, it was a lot of AFC teams and some really good players, then it went to the Dallas, San Francisco run and then back to New England. It really goes in cycles and I don't think you can say one style of football or one conference because there is so much back and forth these days, I think that's just the way it is."

(on the physical toughness of the Colts defense)
"We've brought in some guys like DB-Bob Sanders, DT-Corey Simon and DB-Marlin Jackson which are guys that can help that mindset. The other players who were here understood that we had to be a little bit more physical. We've been healthier, which has allowed us practice more, and when guys are healthier they have a chance to be more physical as well. That's something that we thought was important, and the guys have carried it out. Bob [Sanders] is obviously a ring leader and he plays that way. It's been everybody, not just him [Bob Sanders]."

(on what he looks for in practice this week to make sure the Colts are ready for the Steelers)
"You always look for that in practice like how you go about things. If the ball is not on the ground very much, that's obviously a good thing. If were hitting our gaps properly and we don't have to have a lot of repeats, then that's good. I know our tempo will be good. I thought last Wednesday and Thursday might have been the two best practices that we've had in a long time. We were 14 minutes ahead of schedule on the Thursday practice. We didn't have any repeats and very good tempo, so I think we'll be sharp that way."

(on Peyton Manning's arm looking very alive in practice last week)
"That's what we hoped and that was one of the reasons for resting some of our guys, to take a break from the routine of being up every single week. I think the rest did help him and I think it helped some other guys. He was pretty sharp last week."

(on if you can learn more by playing a team than on tape)
"You can learn a little more by playing against a team. I know our guys talked about RB-Shaun Alexander, where you watch him on tape making long runs and running away from people, but not until you actually get there do you realize the acceleration that he has. There are things like that where you can gage a team a little bit better by playing them."

(on if the focus is more on what Pittsburgh is going to do or what they need to do)
"You definitely want to focus on yourself. You can out think yourself and out-analyze yourself because they did this and had success with this, and that can lead to a lot of things that are unproductive. The best thing you can do is say this is what we do well and this is what we have to do to win. That's what we've done all year and I think it will continue."


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