Q: Obviously you have a lot of good things about Peyton Manning, but how much does preparation play into things?
Tony Dungy: I think it's a large percentage of it. He is a guy that's very driven. He's not satisfied with being just good or just okay. He is one guy who enjoys the whole process about the game. He enjoys the game planning, preparation of training camp, learning opponents, watching tape. He enjoys it and that's what makes him good. He's accurate, has a good arm, is big and has all the things you need to play quarterback. It's no doubt in my mind that it's how he approaches it that makes him special.
Q: How comfortable were you with him making play calls at the line of scrimmage initially and how comfortable are you with it now?
TD: It's funny. Tom Moore is our offensive coordinator and Tom came his first year here. They've been together the whole time. The system that we run is actually the system I ran in college. Tom was my quarterback coach and we did the same thing, no huddle and the quarterback called all the plays at the line of scrimmage, so I was very familiar with it. It's a fun offense to be in and it really does encourage you to study and know what's going on because you are responsible for getting things done at the line of scrimmage. I was very familiar with it. We haven't changed anything in the five years that I've been here. We've just grown because we basically had the same system and the same quarterback for the whole time.
Q: Was there ever a time when you thought about changing your style and your demeanor?
TD: No, I never really thought about that. I just know that when you win, whatever you do, whether it's scheduling, your demeanor or how you pick the team people will say is a great idea. When you do the same things and lose, that becomes the problem. What you have to do is win. I couldn't really change the way I was. I think Bill Polian and Jim Irsay really knew that we had a good system in place that was in place long before I got here. We didn't really think about changing anything we did, we just felt if we stayed in there and hung in there long enough, eventually we'd make some good things happen.
Q: Did you develop your conviction from working with Chuck Noll or did you develop it on your own?
TD: It was partly my parents and certainly the way I was raised, but certainly my football convictions from Coach Noll. That was one of the things he was huge on. You did what you did and if you did it better than the other guys you would win. He was accused of being stubborn. He used to always tell us stubbornness was a virtue if you were right. I probably did draw on that from him.
Q: How is the defensive unit patched up in the offseason after losing a few guys to free agency?
TD: They're doing fine. You lose people every year in this day and age. We lost a lot of players last year before our Super Bowl run. Something was made of it early in losing Edgerrin James, Larry Tripplet and David Thornton. We lost some other guys during the course of the year. That's one of the things that our team understands. You have a 53 man roster. You have eight guys on the practice squad. You have 60 guys that will be willing to play, work and prepare. I think that's one of our strengths. We had some guys in the wings that we thought were ready to go. We drafted some guys that we really believed were going to help us. Some other guys that were here are really improving. We like where we are. We are obviously going to be tested by the Saints offense on Thursday, but we like where we are.
Q: Was your book something you always wanted to do?
TD: It's not something I ever really thought of doing. I had several people ask me about it for a number of years. Several people asked me about it after winning. I was hoping to not do it. It's turned out great, it's been a great experience. It's probably a once in a lifetime thing. The timing was right and now we're probably ready to move on.
Q: Why were you hoping not to do it?
TD: I think it becomes what happens. You win a Super Bowl and have a great achievement and write a book. I didn't want to be one of those guys. A lot of those people thought it was the right time and it did turn out to be that. Probably were looking for something positive to read and we had a lot of negatives in the sports world this offseason for us and this summer. I think it came out at the right time. Maybe the Lord was good.
Q: Can you discuss Joseph Addai's development into being a go-to guy?
TD: Joseph was a perfect addition for us. There were a lot of great backs that came out for us last year. We probably would have been happy with any of the five or six guys that we could have gotten. I think we felt that in replacing Edgerrin (James), Joseph was the guy that could do most of those things. He was a good pass protector. He could run. He could make big plays. He caught the ball well. He played in a pro-style offense. He just reminded us so much of Edgerrin. We thought he was going to be good and he didn't disappoint us at all. This year with Dominic (Rhodes) not here, a lot more is going to fall on his shoulders, but we feel like he's ready for it.
Q: Did that Super Bowl performance show you that he was ready to do it every down?
TD: No, he showed us that long before. We didn't start him in the regular season last year. That was more to keep him fresh. He was used to playing 11 game seasons and we knew he was going to have to play 18, 19, or 20 games, so we didn't want to shock him with that type of workload and have him have 350 carries by the time we got into the playoffs. We knew from early on what he was going to be able to do. He had some big games for us in midseason. There was no doubt in my mind he was going to be a special back.
Q: The Colts and Saints both have high powered offenses and you guys were able to break the cliché of defense winning championships. Do you kind of see teams like that getting involved in the playoffs and making a push in the Super Bowl or is there nothing to that?
TD: I don't think it's really changed. You have to play excellent defense to be a championship-caliber team. Our offense and the Saints offense probably gets highlighted because of the numbers and number of good players that they have, but the Saints have an exceptional defense. I like the way that they play. Our defense played like a championship defense in the playoffs. It didn't in the regular season, but we certainly did in the playoffs and we wouldn't have won. We had to win a game 15-6 where we didn't score a touchdown to get to the Super Bowl. You need defense and I don't think you can win being a one dimensional team. I don't think the Saints are and I don't think we are either.
Q: Did you hate to lose Jason David?
TD: I'm proud of Jason. He came in here as a fourth-round draft choice. He was probably one of our most consistent defenders over the time he was here. He didn't miss many games, he got better every year and just made himself into a guy some other teams coveted. You hate to lose some starters off of your team, but I was really happy for him. I was happy for the type of contract he received. I think it shows people that you can come in and work hard and that you don't have to be a household word as a rookie to end up developing into a great player.
Q: Does it get agonizing when you have a player like that you want to keep and can't keep him due to the salary cap?
TD: That's the tough thing about coaching in this system. You know that's the way it's going to be. We've had quite a few players leave, 16. I think we have 16 different players on our team from last year when we won the Super Bowl. That's part of it every year. The only thing you can hope is that they learn something while they're here and they move on and do well and they take some of the things you taught them and take them someplace else. I know Jason will do that. I saw him at our ring ceremony and I just told him how proud I was of him and I know he's going to do a great job for the Saints.
Q: How is he able to compensate for his lack of height?
TD: He's a good athlete. He has tremendous hands and ball skills. He's a fighter. He's been that way his whole life. We saw him play in the Pac 10 and he played against Mike Williams at USC and Reggie Williams at Washington and we saw him cover those receivers. Sure they're going to try to get matched up on him. He's demonstrated his whole life he can do it and we never really thought of his height as an issue.