Dungy: I don't take it for granted

Colts head coach Tony Dungy talks with the media about how much it means to clinch a playoff birth. Dungy says he doesn't take what the Colts have accomplished in the last few seasons for granted, see what else he has to say about the team's consistency and more!

General comments...

"It's nice to be talking to you from in the playoffs. I didn't realize that last night when I was at the podium. That's always your first goal, so that was a nice added benefit of yesterday's action, and something that we're very happy about. Now we have other goals that we can reach in the next couple of weeks and starting with clinching our division this week. So that will be the focus, to go out and play another good game against Oakland, see if we can improve and win our division and guarantee ourselves a home game. I was proud of the team last night. I think we caught Baltimore at the right time after a real emotional, tough loss on Monday night. We talked about going out there and getting off to a fast start, playing hard and see if we could take some of the wind out of their sails knowing that they had had such a tough Monday night. And that's exactly what happened. Our offense moved the ball early. We converted a couple of big third downs on the first drive, scored, our defense got a takeaway, and that really set us off. Watching the tape, I was really impressed with how hard our guys played. We had a lot of young guys in, especially in the second half, and the guys on defense played hard. Offensively, I thought we protected the ball well. It's very critical to play against them turnover-free, and we were able to do that. Special teams-wise, we played hard and did some really good things. We had the one return that is always disappointing. It seems like we'll have seven or eight coverages do well and had one get out on us. But all in all I thought we did play hard with energy, we played pretty smart, and it was a good win."

On if the offense finally got back on track...

"I thought we'd been playing better the last few weeks. It probably started in the second quarter of Atlanta where we got some things rolling, made some plays, and then kept it going against Jacksonville, and really had four touchdown drives in that game against a real good defense. Then last night, so much of it is poise and identifying where they are and picking up blitzes. You know if you do that you're going to have some chances to make big plays. But getting everybody involved has been good to see. Us moving the ball and scoring in different ways and different people contributing, I think we are hitting our stride at the right time."

On the reason for the offense getting back on track...

"We went through a stage there when we had Marvin (Harrison) out, Dallas (Clark) was out for a little bit, and we're moving people around and guys are playing in different spots. We've been able to settle down. Anthony (Gonzalez) has gotten comfortable in his role outside and we're running the ball well. I think guys understand what they have to do. We are looking forward to getting Marvin back and being able to slide Anthony back inside and really get to our full complement, but I can't say enough about what guys have done who have stepped in. Charlie Johnson, Michael Toudouze, Kenton Keith, Bryan Fletcher, it just seems like everybody who's gone in has contributed."

On averaging nearly three yards per carry the last three games...

"We played against three teams that really were going to not let you run the ball. You have to still run at times, and we've been effective and we've run in the red zone and scored rushing touchdowns. We've gone in knowing we were going to have to throw to move the ball, and we threw it well against Jacksonville and against (Baltimore). We played some other defenses early in the year that were going to take the passing game away take the wide receivers away, and we had great run numbers. We don't really care how it goes. It really is a function of the defense we play a lot of times."

On the reserves' production...

"It's been great to see. You talk about that really from the start of mini-camp, that we're going to try to pick a 53-man team that's going to be good for us, guys that are going to develop into their roles, and everybody has to be ready to play. It has been great to see guys like Kenton (Keith) come on and really know that you can count on them when they go in there. Offensive linemen, defensive linemen, Keyunta Dawson and Quinn Pitcock played really, really well last night. Different guys have had to step in and play, and we have some other guys now. Keiwan Ratliff, I think we can get him involved in what we're doing. He's a guy that we like and (we'll) see if he can grow into the system. But that's what you need, and you never know who's going to be that critical guy game in and game out."

On LB-Gary Brackett being underrated by the national media...

"Gary's playing well for us, and being elected captain of our team tells what our guys think of him. He's been a very productive force. Our defense is starting to play better, and a number of the young veteran guys, the Bob Sanders, the Marlin Jacksons, those guys are a big part of it, Robert Mathis. They probably are always going to be unsung here to a certain extent because the offense has had the notoriety for so long. That's probably just the way it's going to go, but I don't think those guys mind. They know what their teammates think of them."


Anthony Gonzalez
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On the development of WR-Anthony Gonzalez and if the experience he has gained outside with the injury to WR-Marvin Harrison will help him once he's back in the slot...

"I think it definitely will help him (down the road). When he first got here, we obviously had him penciled in to play the slot. We did everything in terms of learning that slot position. Because of the injuries, he was kind of forced to play outside and I think that's helped him learn the whole offense and what happens outside and inside, how it complements each other. I think it's just going to be a big help in the long run. He's playing well outside and I really think we're going to be in good shape when we do get Marvin back. I think Anthony's going to be that much more polished and more ready to play inside."

On remembering Raiders Head Coach Lane Kiffin growing up...

"Lane Kiffin was a very little kid when I was at Minnesota with Monte. Lane really started getting into coaching when we were at Tampa together. A very smart guy, been around football his whole life, and I'm sure he's going to do an outstanding job there."

On with another win and having 12 for the season, how hard it is to win 12 games in one season, not to mention five consecutive...

"Before I got here, I had never coached on a team that won 12 games before, and that was taking a lot of good teams and good programs. I played on a 14-win team in Pittsburgh, but it's just hard to do. So to think you're going to do it year in and year out, it's just a special feeling. Obviously, we have a good quarterback and a good offense, but I think being consistent and having those high expectations and working at it, I can't say enough about the coaching staff that we have here, the personnel that we've gotten and just everybody working together to make it happen and everybody putting winning first. That really helps."

On winning three out of every four games as the goal, and winning 12 a season...

"I always tell the team that three out of four is championship football. If you're winning 75 percent of the time, you're going to be in the upper echelon. But we never really look at it that way. We never say at the beginning of the year it's going to take ‘X' number of wins. Whatever it takes to win that division, that's our number one goal. We look at those division games and we have a chance to win them all in our division, which again, is hard to do, but that's really our starting point. If it turns into 12 wins as it has these last few years, that's good, but it's never something we really talk about."

On being so consistent during the salary cap era and if he would have thought a team could win 12 games for five consecutive seasons...

"I would not have foreseen it. I know Philadelphia was close a couple of years ago. All it takes is a couple of key injuries or just a year when things don't go your way. It's hard to win three out of every four in the NFL, and it takes a special type of team, a team that can stay focused. Fortunately, we have a group like that, so I have to take my hat off to these guys."

On earning a playoff spot...

"It's always a celebration to me, to get in, because you never know what's going to happen. You see teams that are right on the doorstep and don't win and don't get in, so I don't take it for granted. It's something I'm excited about today."

On tying Tom Landry as the only coaches to lead teams to nine consecutive playoff appearances…and surpassing Chuck Noll (8)...

"That's really hard for me to believe, that you're in that group, because you have to realize what those guys were when I came up. My first meeting in professional football, I'm looking at Chuck Noll talk about what it takes to go to the Super Bowl and writing a thousand notes as fast as I can, 100 miles an hour, and I was just mesmerized. Watching Tom Landry, you just put those guys in a totally different category, and then to be able to do something that they've only done, it is very special. Special is the only word I can use."

On if he has spoken to Coach Noll recently...

"I haven't talked to him much recently. I still have all my notes and things and really rely on all the things that he taught us. And that's how I've built the teams that I've been around, trying to do things the same way that he did."


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