Dungy: We Can Still Control Everything

Colts head coach Tony Dungy talked to the media on Wednesday about how the Colts are feeling as they prepare for Jacksonville, the decision to release DE Simeon Rice, the recent incident with Washington's Sean Taylor, and much more!

General comments...

"It's fun being back at work preparing for a big game. December games with kind of division standing ramifications are always fun to prepare for. I think our team is re-energized and looking forward to the challenge. Jacksonville is playing very good football right now since they got David Garrard back. I think they've been re-energized, too. They won two out of three with Quinn Gray playing, but Garrard is playing excellent football, doing a lot of great things for them. His passer rating is right up there with all of the household words that everybody talks about, and I think he's doing as much for his team as Tony Romo and (Brett) Favre and some of the guys that he's right there with, (Ben) Roethlisberger, in terms of numbers. So we'll have our work cut out for us. We went down there and we were able to outplay them in the game down there, and it's going to take the same type of effort, the same type of fundamentals, not turning the ball over. It's all those things that we need to work on, and I think we'll be able to get three good days of practice in and should have our best practices in a while with the rest that we've had and a few people back."

On not looking too far ahead in September and October, but if this is the time where he says, ‘This is what's on the line, etc.' regarding division and playoff implications...

"It really is because you can see how things are going to unfold. There's not a lot of guess work to it. If we win this game, it would take really a monumental disaster for us not to win the division. If we don't win this game, then it's going to be a dogfight the last four weeks of the year and we're going to have to come in and not only win our division, but hope Pittsburgh loses some games (as well). So we have everything in front of us to understand that it is a big game, and I think we'll play accordingly."

On surviving the war of attrition and injuries, and Jacksonville doing it this year as well as the Colts...

"I think what you start out every year is try to develop a 61-man roster and use all your players and know that at some point you're going to have to use them. And if you're fortunate and you go through the year with no major injuries and you don't lose any players, that's an unusual year. But the good teams, I think, get those rosters developed where they do have confidence in guys, and they've (Jacksonville) done it. They've lost some players that have been really good for them and guys have stepped in and played well. We've had players out and our guys have stepped in well, and I think that's what the good teams do."

On the decision to release DE-Simeon Rice...

"Simeon came in and did well for us, did what we thought. We just had some young guys, and I'm a big believer in the young guys, that normally if you let them play they usually step up. And we had some guys on the defensive line that played well. We had been wanting to get Luke Lawton back for several weeks, and it just became a thing where we thought that we can get some productivity out of those young guys if we play them, and we can build our special teams and help that out. It wasn't so much what Simeon didn't do, it's just where we were going and giving the young guys a chance…Those guys have all played well. Quinn Pitcock, we have to get in playing more. It could be Raheem Brock playing more at end and some of the tackles playing a little bit more. I think we have a lot of talent in our defensive line that we have to let those guys play."

On if the Colts win, being in control...

"And that's what you want. That's why the beginning of the year is so important, to put yourself in this position rather than be in Jacksonville's position where they have to win and then hope someone else beats us. We can still control everything. We've worked hard to get there, we've won nine games, and that's put us in this position and now you want to take advantage of it.."


DE Josh Thomas
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On if the Colts defense at Jacksonville earlier in the season was designed to make Jacksonville pass more...

"No, we played the same defenses we played against them in the game that they ran for so much down there (in 2006). I think they felt good about their quarterback and receivers and felt they would have some shots to take and some completions to get. It's just kind of a guessing game. Should you take what the defense gives you or should you play to your strengths and see if we've made any improvements? They moved the ball and got some throws in on us early, and it will probably be the same type of game, where we feel like we have to take away the running game and we'll see what happens."

On Jacksonville having worked on the passing game and feeling comfortable throwing the ball...

"I know they have a lot of confidence in their quarterback, and rightfully so. He's one that we have to take into consideration, too. I don't think you can play this team and say, ‘Well, if we stop the runners, we're going to win,' because he has won games for them."

On defeating Jacksonville in October and QB-David Garrard getting injured, yet they are still there competing for the division...

"They're a good team, and we've said that all along, that our division is pretty stout. I think with Jacksonville and Tennessee and Houston, it's going to be a tough stretch for us. I'm glad we have a one-game lead and we're not chasing from behind. They've been good for a number of years. They beat us last year when we were really getting ourselves ready to go to a Super Bowl. So we know what they are and how they play, and they know us very well. They're a good football team, and regardless of how this game turns out, we're likely to see them again in the playoffs."

On the Sean Taylor situation...

"It's one of those things that as a parent and as an American you think about. I just think our young people are getting the wrong message about life. I think we're taking life much too casually. You see these things we're reading about Sean Taylor because he's in the NFL and sports pages are big. In Miami and Indianapolis and most major cities, there's probably five or six of those every day that we don't read about, that have the same thing happen and the same kind of consequences. And somehow we have to get that mentality changed. I think it's a countrywide problem. If there is any benefit out of this, that maybe people will stop and think about it now because they're hearing about it in the life of a young guy that a lot of people know. But there are a lot of 24-year olds that anonymously have the same thing happen, and it's not good."

On the Washington Redskins having to move on...

"Well, the team does have to move on and you have to do as well as you can. You go through different problems and tragedies, and it's going to be tough on Washington, but the team does have to move on. But at some point as a country, we have to say we can't just move on through this and forget about it. Somehow we have to change the climate where it's not just accepted and move on and say, ‘Oh, well, that's the way it is. Young people die every day.' Somehow we have to make life a little more sacred, a little more valuable than we're tending to make it right now."

On if he saw the Pittsburgh-Miami game Monday night...

"I saw a little bit of it as we were working on Jacksonville. That's one of those things that can happen. You play that many games on a turf and then have that much rain, it's not going to be pretty. One play was going to win it and Pittsburgh made it. Everybody plays those games every now and then, and there's nothing you can do but hang in there and hold the fort."


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