Dungy: Colts Enter Defining Period

Colts head coach Tony Dungy talked about his team's performance last Sunday, entering the critical last quarter of the regular season, wide receiver Marvin Harrison and more!

Opening comments:
"Obviously, a disappointing day for us. We had a chance to clinch our division and put ourselves in the playoffs and didn't do it. Probably more disappointing than that was really just not playing our best, and this is the time of year you need to do that. I really have to take the responsibility for that. We were not sharp in a lot of areas and didn't do what we normally do. So, we're at the point now we have a four-game season, coming into the last quarter of the year. This will be the time period that really defines us. I think we'll either get our game back to where it should be and start playing really well or it will be a struggle. But I think we'll play well. We have everything at stake. We've really lost our cushion now, our margin for error, and we just need to play how we're capable of playing and I think we'll do that. Yesterday, we let the game get away from us, gave them a little bit of life and when they had the opportunity, took it and took advantage of it. They did a good job, I thought, doing the things that Vince Young can do really well, put him in position to win the ballgame. And he did that for them. Then, we had some chances to make the plays offensively and didn't quite do it. So, again, disappointing but we're at the three-quarter pole and still in first place. So, I think we can safely say we still have things in our hands and we just have to come out and play the way we can play."

On it not being as bad as it seems:
"No, it's as bad as it seems, and what we have to do is do what it takes to get it back right. It's not that far. It's just a very, very little thing, but you can't say, ‘Oh, everything's fine,' because everything isn't fine."

On how sharp can the team be and can they reach that:
"I think that's what we'll find out this last month. We certainly aren't as sharp as we need to be. We have to be better. I think we can. We're coming into some very big games. We're coming into a stretch that we knew we were coming into going back to our division opponents on the road where you have to play well. We didn't play well yesterday, so we need to play well this upcoming week."

On just worrying about your team now instead of others like San Diego, etc.:
"That has to be our mindset, playing like we can play. If we play like we can play, I don't think we'll have problems, we won't have to worry about anybody else or other people beating anybody. If we don't play like we can play, it probably doesn't matter anyway. I have confidence in this team. I know we can play a lot better than we played the third quarter of the season, and we're going to have to."

On WR-Marvin Harrison approaching 1,000 career catches:
"One thousand catches is an unbelievable career, and he has a long ways to go. You do, you kind of marvel at his consistency and what he's been able to do. I saw Cris Carter for four years get quite a few of his thousand and it was the same type of thing. It's something you appreciate and when he gets there, it will be a well-deserved milestone."

On what has been most impressive about WR-Marvin Harrison, his consistency and practice routine:
"That's been the most impressive thing to me, is attention to detail and his consistency of doing what he does. I think the thing I really appreciate is the game is the thing for him. He appreciates going out there, practicing and doing what he does and catching the ball and running his routes. That's how he gets his thrill. That's probably been impressive more than anything."

On not having a stretch like this in a while, losing two of three:
"We've had a good stretch where we didn't self-destruct, and maybe two times in the last four weeks we have. So is that a trend? I don't think it's something to be concerned about, but we just have to get back to playing the way we can play. The last time we had a stretch like this was before Halloween in ‘04. We played a game against Jacksonville here that was very similar to yesterday and then we went to Kansas City and lost in a real high-scoring game. After that, we didn't have too many where we did things to hurt ourselves. So, that's what we have to get back to. It's nothing phenomenal. There are no changes that need to be made, no systematic changes, no personnel changes, no stepping up our level of play. Just getting back to doing the things that we should do, executing the defensive and the offensive play, remembering the snap count, catching the ball when it comes to you, just simple things like that."

On if the run defense has to get better or just accept it for what it is:
"No, it has to be better for us to do what we want to do. There are some things about it that are better, but we still have situations where we have a 33-yard run or a 25-yard run. That was the disappointing thing to come out of yesterday. They get 80 or 85 yards from the quarterback on really passing plays. A lot of the run defense is fairly good, but then the three or four plays that get out end up being long runs. That's what we have to eliminate. We're making some progress, playing our base defenses a little bit better. But the long runs were really disappointing yesterday."

On not over-reacting to losing two of three:
"That's really what we have to guard against. We've had a situation around here for about a year-and-a-half that most people don't have, and we'd like to keep it going and we'd like to have every game be a 17-point win and win every week, but it doesn't happen in the NFL. We had a 4-0 first quarter, a 4-0 second quarter and we had a 2-2 third quarter. So, if you look at that, you can say, ‘Well, after 24-2, 2-2 is a crisis,' or you can say, ‘You know what, we had two games on the road where we didn't play as well as we can play, but we're still 10-2 and we're in control of where we want to go.' And I think that's the approach that our guys are going to take including Peyton (Manning), that we have four games left to play and we're in control."

On if he thinks of DTs-John Henderson and Marcus Stroud and the defense when thinking about Jacksonville:
"They're playing very stout, and especially at home. I saw a stat, they're (giving up) six or seven points a game at home. It's going to be a big test for us, a big challenge. They're a strong running team. They ran the ball pretty well on us the last time we played them. They're right in the hunt now, so this is going to be a big game and one we felt was going to be a big game when the schedule came out."

On Jacksonville being desperate for a win playing for a playoff spot:
"They've been in that mode for a couple of weeks now, and it really showed yesterday. They went and played well at Miami. I think we have to get in that mode coming down the stretch and approach it the same way."

On bouncing back:
"It's a long year in the NFL. You have to be able to bounce back and you have to be able to play coming down the stretch well. It's going to be a good test for us, to see how we play. I think we've responded every time we've gotten in this situation before, and I think we'll respond again. But it will be a good, fun deal to have games that you have to win in December."

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