Dungy's Monday Press Conference

Tony Dungy addressed the media on Monday about the pass protection, Peyton Manning, what he would change, and what next year's team will look like.

(general comments)

"As we said yesterday, it is very disappointing when you lose any playoff game, but especially when you lose at home it's even more.  I talked to the players today about differentiating between disappointment and discouragement.  We have a lot of people disappointed today.  There are probably eight or 10 teams that didn't make the playoffs that won their last game of the season and they feel better than we do today.  That's just normal.  We have to use the disappointment to fuel our fire for next year, and we have to look ahead and see what we can do a little bit better to get ourselves in position again and then take advantage of it.  I have to give all the credit to the Steelers.  They came in and played an excellent game.  They didn't have many mistakes or penalties, and they had two big turnovers, but their defense was able to hold the fort.  They played well enough to win.  [Sunday] we didn't play well enough to win, but I thought we played hard all the way through.  We never gave up.  That's a tribute to us.  The way we play, and we played that way all year.  I don't think we have major changes.  We have to put ourselves back in this position next year, which is not easy.  It's tough to make the playoffs year after year, but that is the mentality that we have to have.  We have to start April 3rd in our offseason program and we have to work the same way we worked this year.  As I told the team when they left this afternoon, I'm very proud of them and I'm proud of the type of guys we have and the type of team we have."

(on Bill Cowher and the Pittsburgh Steelers)

"They've played well for 14 years.  To me, doing it in one place that long and being in the playoffs that many times it is really consistent, and that is what I would like to do."

(on if this season is a failure)

"Well it is in many ways.  You come in and your idea is to get to the playoffs and to win the Super Bowl.  We got there and didn't win in the playoffs, so that's a disappointment.  It is a failure because you come up short of your ultimate goal.  We did a lot of good things.  There are a lot of building blocks.  We found a lot of players that I think are going to help us in the long run.  The ultimate disappointment is going to be there."

(on the protection of the QB being a problem in their losses)

"It is and that's where everything starts offensively and defensively.  If you can pressure the quarterback, then you have a chance to be effective on defense.  We pride ourselves in protecting well and we're at the top of the league every year in the least amount of sacks.  When we don't do it well, it's hard on us.  [Sunday] was not our best day of protecting the passer and that hurt us."

(on why the Colts were so affected by the Steelers' rush)

"They did a good job.  They brought people and they came very aggressively.  We got them blocked a little bit better in the first game and this game, we didn't get them blocked as well.  We had a little bit of miscommunication on some things, but some of it may just be them coming a little bit harder and playing at a faster pace."

(on their adjustments towards the blitz)

"I think they executed a little bit better.  It wasn't anything new that we hadn't seen.  They're overloading different sides and you have to change your protection and get it communicated.  And they did a good job with it."

(on if Peyton should take some stress off himself in big games and just play)

"That thought always comes up when you lose.  I guess I've said it before in my press conferences.  When you win, whatever you do is fantastic.  I'm a low key guy and when you win everybody thinks that's good, and when you lose a game they think you should be less low key.  When we win, then Peyton is a really good tactician and he does a lot of good things for the offense, and when we lose he should do less.  I guess our deal is that we just need to win a little bit more."

(on how he feels about the label people are trying to give Peyton of not winning the big game)

"I guess if I hadn't been around and seen it before, I would probably think a little differently.  I saw it for 14 years with John Elway and then he won the last two years and we kind of forget the first few years.  In the short term, it's going to be tough.  That's what you're judged by in the short term, but he has a long career ahead of him and what I've seen, it just takes a year or two or a couple games for people to forget all about that.  It's going to be there until we win one."

(on Edgerrin James not being as involved in the second half as the first half)

"It's how the game went.  Some of the things that they did to dictate it, and not being in the lead or down 11 most of the half had something to do with it.  The better we play the more he gets involved."

(on what he may second guess about his decisions)

"I'm disappointed that we didn't play our best.  That always has to fall on me and you look back at different things you could have done preparation wise, but we didn't play our best.  That's the only thing I am disappointed about."

(on if he wishes they would have gone for the first down on 3rd-and-2)

"We wanted to make a first down there and we had a pattern called where we have a lot of different routes run and we have some short balls that we can throw we just didn't make the first down.  It was our intention to make the first down."

(on if the finality of the season is more difficult after all he and the team has been through)

"We had a tremendous amount of support from people in football and out of football, and I suppose there was a small part of me that wanted to win for those people that supported our family.  We've got a great bunch of guys and I wanted them to enjoy winning because they've worked very hard.  They've done it well and they did it well in the regular season.  More than anything else, that's the disappointing thing, that our guys aren't going to get to move on."

(on the sun rising this morning)

"Well, I knew it was going to come out.  That's one of the blessings in my son's situation that really puts everything into perspective.  I'm sure I'll get over this a lot faster than I'll get over my son.  It's our job and it's football and it's disappointing and you want to play well, but it's certainly not the end of the world and it's not the biggest story of the day in the world.  It's tough to deal with."

(on if he will say they were the best team this year)

"No, I won't say that because we didn't prove it.  We had a pretty good team.  Even though this may be the most talented team that we may ever have, some of our future teams I think can still win it."

(on what next year's team may look like)

"I really don't know.  My sense is that it will look very similar to what we have, and there will be very few guys that aren't here.  If we don't get a new collective bargaining agreement, then all of that could change."

(on the players whose contracts are up)

"That's a difficult process this year because of the collective bargaining agreement.  Until that gets resolved, we are kind of at a stand still not knowing how much money we're going to have to spend.  It's kind of unfortunate because we are just going to wait and see if this agreement gets resolved, and we're in the same boat with everyone else in the league."

(on wanting to have WR-Reggie Wayne and RB-Edgerrin James back)

"Very much so.  I'd like to come back with our same group and take a run at it next year.  Every year you are going to lose a few guys.  You hope that you can keep as many as possible, and I think if we do get a new collective bargaining agreement then we will get to keep a lot of guys."

(on if he is committed to his coaching staff)

"I am 100 percent committed to our coaching staff.  I think we have a great staff.  I think those guys do a good job.  I'm pretty sure I'll be back.  When you lose you're not sure if they're going to ask you back.  If they ask me back I'm pretty sure I'll be back."

(on if they should blow this team up and change it)

"No, you can't blow it up.  We have become pretty consistent.  We haven't had bad games in the regular season very often.  Now we have to find a way to transmit that into the post season.  We have to figure out a way to do it three times."

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