Dungy: Start Focusing on the Playoffs

Colts head coach Tony Dungy talks to the media about Indianapolis' goals in the next few weeks, their secret to their consistency, the physical play of the their defense, what it's like playing in Oakland, and more!

General comments...

"I was on the conference call with the Oakland media and a guy asked me if I had ever (coached in Oakland), he didn't remember me coaching a game out in Oakland before. I said I'm glad that he didn't remember (the 45-0 loss while with Tampa Bay in 1999). We're going to try not to have a repeat performance of that. I think our guys understand how tough it is going out there going to the west coast and going out and playing well. So that's our goal. I think we're off to a good start in terms of preparation and meeting time, and we want to go out there and see if we can get our division locked up. That's kind of the order of business for us."

On if the Colts clinch everything, if he has decided whether to rest or play his core players down the stretch...

"Your goal is to get in the playoffs, number one. We have that done. The next goal is to win the division, and that's what we're focused on this week. If we win, we can do that. If we win and get a little help, we can clinch that first-round bye. Once you get in and get things where you can't do any more or any less, then you start focusing in on the playoffs and how's the best way to prepare your team to do that. For some guys, it's rest. For other guys, some of your younger guys, maybe it's playing more. I think we'll take it in an individual case, but if we get it clinched, whenever that is, we certainly wouldn't put anybody in jeopardy that's a little bit iffy. But you do start pointing for the playoffs at that time."

On possibly becoming the first team ever to win 12 games in five consecutive seasons...

"I told the team this morning that really I think it will be something that I will be proud of for our organization. It says a lot, I think, the way we've been able to do things, to have a lot of different players. If you look at the 03 team and the players in that picture, there are a lot of different faces. We've brought in some good players to keep things going. Our core group has been the leaders and they have definitely done their share, but I think it's a group thing and something that hasn't been done before, it's always kind of fun to be the first to do something."

On if the Colts have been able to maintain their success because of the continuity in the front office, coaching staff, etc....

"I think a lot of it is keeping that group in the front office, the scouts, the personnel people and the coaches, we're all on the same page in terms of what we want and what helps us to win. And then that allows us to continue to bring in good players to cycle through. And we've lost a lot of guys. We've lost, I think back to the first guys that kind of started that, the Chad Bratzkes, Mike Peterson, Edgerrin James, guys that were here when I got here, and we've had to replace a ton of those guys, but we've been able to do it and that's kind of the fun of it, it really is."

On DE-Josh Thomas being a veteran on the defensive line...

"It's different for him being in the huddle and guys asking him what to do and where we are and talking to him on the sideline, but that's where we are. Bob Sanders went through that in the secondary. We're a young team, but I like it. I like the energy that those guys bring."

On him seeming to be excited about playing the younger guys...

"Many times you have a good feel on guys but you just don't get them in the game for some reason. And when you do get them in the game, they play well. I can think of a number of guys that have gotten to start because of injury and then you find out that they really are either as good or even better than you thought they would be. I think some of our young defenders are going to prove that over the next couple of weeks."


Bob Sanders
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

On the physicality of the Colts defense, particularly in the secondary...

"It's a big part of it, and I always felt to play effective defense you needed 11 guys who were going to be involved in everything. I never really liked the term ‘cover corner' or ‘cover safety,' and we try not to have too many of those guys around. We like guys that can cover, but you have to be willing to do everything. The more physical you are, the better you're going to be on defense. We have a lot of young guys that fit that bill and it's really helped us."

On each of the DBs having bit hits this season...

"That's what you want. Again, our guys, I don't think it's anything that they're not used to. That's just the way they play. That's kind of what attracted us to them as college players, and they've carried it on here."

On his last trip to Oakland...

"The last trip to the Black Hole was in 1999. We were in Tampa trying to clinch our division, we were on a six-game winning streak at that time I think, and we lost 45-0 to a team, I know they weren't in the playoff race, they might have been right around .500. Napoleon Kaufman as I remember had a big day, Rich Gannon was the quarterback, but it was the same type of scenario and I kind of referred to it last year after we lost to Jacksonville. The Jacksonville game was beautiful compared to that one. I know what it's like going out there, going out there with a good team and still not being able to come back with a win. So we're forewarned and I think we'll be ready to go."

On the atmosphere at the stadium in Oakland...

"You have to really work to focus on the field, and you can't get caught up in what happens off the field before the game, after the game, those kinds of things. You have to really just zero in on their team, and that's hard to do. So that's part of it, too, especially if you don't play out there a lot."

On Raiders Coach Lane Kiffin...

"Lane's been in coaching a long while and he's been around coaching his whole life. I think he understands the mentality of the NFL. He had good background, good training. He's been at places where they've won. I think it just goes to show you there's a lot of different ways to do it, a lot of guys who can do it if they're given a chance, and I think he's done a pretty good job."

On if he thought Lane Kiffin would be successful in Oakland and so soon...

"Well, you never know what's going to happen when you take any job. I went to Tampa, I assume we're going to be 16-0 that first year, and you think that's the way it's going to go. There's tough times rebuilding things, but I think he has a lot of youthful energy and he probably brought that enthusiasm that the Raiders needed and he's done well."


Colts Blitz Top Stories