Tony Dungy Press Conference

Colts head coach Tony Dungy talked to the media yesterday about Sunday's game against the Raiders, what the Colts' plans are for the remaining two weeks, his coaching staff's ability to maintain consistency despite injuries to key players, and much more!

General comments...

"It was very nice yesterday to win that ballgame to get one step closer to our goals, get our division locked up. It was a tough win. It seems like it always is for us when we have to do that, it seems like it's on the road, and tough games. But I was proud of our guys, the way they hung in there. We had a chance to maybe make it a little bit easier, but couldn't stick it in from the one-yard line to make it 17-0. Oakland, that was an impressive drive. They came back and just pecked away at us and got it to 10-7, and from then on it was really a tough, tough game. Sometimes it's good to win games like that. We showed that we could make some plays in the fourth quarter, both offensively and defensively, and that was good to see. Special teams-wise, we had a little bit of an up-and-down day. T.J. (Rushing) had the great start for us, then fumbled a kickoff and fair-caught a ball on the four-yard line. We'd like to not have that happen, but obviously the return was a big, big play for us and got us jump-started. Our coverage was good on punts, not as good as we need it to be on kickoffs. Again, we'll just have to continue to work at that. All in all, going on the road, getting a win to clinch the division, it was a fun plane ride home."

On the rushing game and if it struggled because the way Oakland played them defensively...

"We went in watching their tape and feeling like if they played their style of ball that there would be a lot of throws, and there were. We moved the ball well, just didn't punch it in inside the four a couple of times. When we had to run it, we did. The last drive we had a couple of good runs. We had two good runs to close out the game. But it wasn't the type of game that we thought we were going to run many times if they did what we thought they would do."

On if the run game is a huge concern on his part...

"I enjoy that part of it, and I tell our team to enjoy it, that it has been a special run. And what you want to do is take those moments and really enjoy them and look at them. We talked before the game about that we have a chance to do something that no one else has done (five straight 12+-win seasons), and we set that as a goal this week. But I don't think you dwell on it. That's where our team is so good. We enjoy it, we talk about it, we'll talk about it on Wednesday and then put it behind us and go to the next step. I think that's what makes this team unique, that they are able to take that in but not rest on their laurels."

On the young D-Line's performance...

"They did well. It was a grind-it-out type of game and just really, really different. We had really one veteran guy out there (Josh Thomas). We had some young guys that sucked it up and fought hard and scratched and clawed and did a good job for us. So it was gratifying."

On WR-Anthony Gonzalez...

"Anthony's doing well, and he's getting very, very comfortable. I think just being out there with the offense week after week and practicing and getting to practice well, and he's come through when we've needed it. And that's what it's all about; when you get that opportunity, your number gets called, to be able to contribute. I think that's what everybody wants to do and he's done it well the last month."

On if WR-Anthony Gonzalez's success also is coming from QB-Peyton Manning getting comfortable with him...

"I think it is, the unspoken communication and where the ball is going to be and when it's on the back-shoulder, front-shoulder, when he's going to come out of his cuts. A lot of that is just practice time and seeing it. Yesterday was another step forward for us. We don't see a lot of press man coverage, and we had to make some adjustments. Again, Anthony was able to go through that and get open and make some good plays against press."

On WR-Devin Aromashodu...

"It was nice to see Devin get on the board and contribute in a big way. He's gotten better and better, and again, he's another guy that's just gotten more practice time in the last three weeks. It showed up with a couple of big catches."


Peyton Manning
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On now with the division clinched and a bye, where he draws the line between resting injured players and also maintaining the rhythm at the same time...

"We definitely want to maintain a rhythm. We want to continue to improve. We have a lot of guys who do need to play and play more. We have some guys who probably we can rest, guys that are a little bit injured. But a month is a long time, so we have to continue to practice well, continue to gear up. I would foresee that kind of being what happens, that we really look at least this next game as playing like we normally would."

On if he thinks it helped playing Kansas City at home in the Wild Card Game last season to maintain a weekly flow...

"It probably got us in a rhythm and got our confidence going. But certainly if we would have had the choice whether to play a game and go to Baltimore or have the week off and have Baltimore come here, I think we would have rather had it the other way. We were disappointed when we didn't beat Houston last year and let that number two seed slip away. I think we'll know how to handle the rest and we'll do it well, and I think we need it a little bit differently than last year. We've had a lot of different lineups and a lot of people out of the lineup, where last year we had Bob Sanders but not many others at that point in time."

On the guys who have missed because of injury, if he wants them back for the regular season or will take a hands-off approach for them to stay healthy...

"We'd like to get those guys out there when they're healthy enough to go. That's going to be the big thing with us really not having any standings to worry about. It won't be the type of thing that, ‘Hey, we have to get them out there to win this game.' But when they are healthy, we would like to get them some playing time. I think it really benefited Dallas Clark last year to get that Miami game in, get a few catches under his belt and really get that confidence of going again. So that would be ideal, but we're not going to rush anybody back."

On if he expects WR-Marvin Harrison to play prior to the playoffs...

"If he's able to go, he will. When that is, I thought it might be this past week, we'll just have to see. But it will be at the timeframe when he's able to go. If possible, we'd like to have him get in there and get some activity before the playoffs."

On QB-Peyton Manning lobbying for playing time the final two weeks to build a connection with the younger players and wide receivers)...

"I think it is important. As I said, we have some guys that do need to play. And those guys do, Anthony (Gonzalez) and Devin (Aromashodu) need to play, and we need to continue to get sharper. So that's my thought right now, that we'll get those guys a lot of playing time, at least this week."

On regarding playing time, if he will treat Sunday's game like a preseason situation where a half may be good for some starters...

"I don't think we'll do it that way. I think we'll determine who can play and who can't, and the guys that play, we'll play it like a regular game. But if guys are a little bit iffy, we'll certainly keep them out."

On some saying it has been his staff's best coaching job, maintaining consistency despite all of the injuries...

"It might be the most gratifying and most fun of the six years, to have like Ramon Guzman yesterday playing defensive end after four days of practice and having Devin come in and make a couple of big catches and different guys playing on special teams. It is, it's great to see those young guys come on and play in big games. I think our staff has done a great job of not really even worrying about injuries and who can't play, but doing a great job of getting some of these young guys ready."


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