Dungy: It Feels Very Good To Win

Tony Dungy chatted with the media on Friday after the team returned from Jacksonville. See what the coach had to say about Thursday's game, Keiwan Ratliff stepping up, Peyton Manning's big night, getting back into the playoffs, the implosion ofhte RCA Dome, and more inside!

"It feels very good to win. It still feels good this morning. I thought we had great effort in coming back in that fourth quarter and some of the things we had to do to win. In looking at the tape, the disappointing thing is how we put ourselves in that position, especially on defense. (Jacksonville RB) Maurice Jones-Drew is a great back. We play a lot of defenses where one guy is going to be free to tackle him and sometimes you can't get him down, but we did some things that really were hard to explain on defense in terms of just lining up properly and being where we're supposed to be and doing the right things. It was hard to imagine how it happened and why, but we'll get to work on those things and see if we can get that straightened out. The thing I was happy about was hanging in there and continuing to play and work even when we got down and not panicking, especially on offense. Sometimes you have a tendency to try to score too quick, and we didn't do that. We just stuck with our game plan and played well, but we have to get some of those things squared away on defense and we have to get our running game going so we can get back to our play-action pass game, and we have a week to work on it."

On what is not working with the running game:

"It's a little bit like our defense. (Thursday) night, (Jacksonville) did some things, their run and pass rush games and running into things, but we get a 21-yard run and there's a holding penalty. We have another run that's going to be pretty good and one of our receivers doesn't hear the audible or doesn't see the signal and thinks it's an inside run and it's an outside run so we have a corner that's free in the hole. It's just one little thing there after another that puts you in tough positions, so we just have to work. It's probably like our run defense was in '06 where it's not that far off, but it's just not pretty right now. It can be if we get some of those little things corrected."

On his plan for the Tennessee game on Dec. 28:

"I don't know exactly yet, but I don't think we'll scale back too much. The one thing we will do is we'll protect the guys who are a little bit nicked up, so the guys who are iffy probably won't play, but we definitely want to win. We'd like to get to 12 (wins). We'd like to not have our division teams think they can beat us. In that regard, it'll be a big game. We'll see how it goes as the week progresses, but we'd like to play to win and get ourselves ready for the following week."

On how long the starters will play vs. Tennessee:

"We'll have to sit down and look at it all and see who can play and what we want to do. I know our guys want to play and they would like to keep performing. They'd like to get that 12th win, so we'll see. It's a little too early to tell."

On if it will matter if Tennessee is still playing for position:

"No, that probably won't impact our decision making."

On if he has a preference on whether Tennessee is still playing for position next week:

"Not really. We're probably looking at just the things we want to accomplish and how we can win the game."

On if the players wanting to play will impact his decision:

"Probably not, no. They've done that in the past. They always want to play. They're competitive guys and they would like to play, and they definitely want to win. We'll try to be smart and try to win at the same time."

On if the team had any injuries from Thursday night's game:

"(Thursday) night talking to (Associate Head Athletic Trainer/Team Services) Dave Hammer, it was a pretty light list. We didn't have anyone that wouldn't have been able to finish the game, so that was a good sign. The guys have some time off. We might not have all precincts reporting because if you weren't injured you got four days off, so there might be some guys that come in on Tuesday a little bit banged up that we didn't know about, but I think we left the stadium in pretty good shape."

On if the team will practice Tuesday:

"Yes. We're going to practice Tuesday and Wednesday and then take Thursday off."

On not having any turnovers at Jacksonville:

"Our offense really takes a lot of pride in that. Frankly, that's what short-circuited us early in the year. We had some critical turnovers against Chicago and against Green Bay. We had the big turnover against Jacksonville (on Sept. 21) that's at least a 10-point swing. When we don't do that, we move the ball well and we're hard to stop, so no turnovers, no sacks was good (Thursday) night. We had a couple of penalties that made it tougher on ourselves, but I think our guys take a lot of pride in taking care of the ball and protecting the quarterback."

On DB-Keiwan Ratliff coming up big:

"I kind of had a feeling he would. He had the fumbles on the punt returns last week (vs. Detroit), and he felt bad about that and really wanted to make up for it. I thought he had a chance to do some good things for us if we could get him into those passing situations. He's a guy that has great ball skills and has a feel for the game, and (his interception) was certainly a big play."

On if Ratliff has been a valuable addition:

"He has. He's handled the punts for us and played several different positions in the defensive nickel scheme. He's a smart player, and he's really helped us."

On if Ratliff's play shows that all 53 players are important:

"That's what you talk about. You never know who the guy is, so you have to prepare like it's going to be you. Keiwan was not with us early in the year, and then he's with us and then off again when we had some injuries and back and forth and (he) makes two of the biggest plays of the season. I think it does speak to nobody's role is really defined and ‘these guys have to make big plays' and ‘these guys are just on the team.' The big plays can come from anywhere."

On if the team surprises him with all of its comebacks:

"I wish we wouldn't test that out so much. It's amazing to do it on the road the way we have. Sometimes with your home crowd and some things roll right, but to go down two scores on the road is generally very tough and we've bounced back in some tough places to play."

On if he has any information on RB-Joseph Addai and WR-Marvin Harrison:

"Not really. Joseph was cleared to go, wanted to go (Thursday) night. (RB Coach) Gene Huey decided once we got going to stick with (RB) Dom(inic Rhodes), but I think Joseph is going to be good for us down the stretch. Marvin has some discomfort behind his knee. We found out on the MRI it's in the lower hamstring area, so we'll see how that heals up. If there's any question at all, if he's not 100 percent, we won't play him (vs. Tennessee), but we'll see how he is once Tuesday comes."

On the play calls on the two red zone touchdowns:

"We knew that they were going to attack the line of scrimmage on the 3rd-and-1 and (TE) Dallas (Clark) – that was a play that we run a lot and he happened to be the guy that they left open. Dominic's was a screen and another one where (Offensive Coordinator) Tom (Moore) and (QB) Peyton (Manning) anticipated the coverage. We thought we'd have one-on-one coverage on Dom, and we got our guard in front of him to block the linebacker who had him man to man. Those were two plays that we practice and we got them against the defense we thought we were going to get and they worked well."

On if he is surprised when Manning plays so well:

"It's pretty fun to watch. It does surprise you at times. I was kind of amazed last night because of the situation. You get down 14 and your running game's not going well, usually the other team's teeing off, they're able to just mix their pass coverages and it generally becomes tough to throw in those situations. To be as accurate as he was and find guys and keep the ball moving, not take any sacks, not have any turnovers in that environment, that was really a great performance."

On OG-Mike Pollak being flagged for holding in the past three games:

"I didn't think (the first two) were good calls. I talked to (NFL Vice President of Officiating) Mike Pereira on this one. He thinks this one was a good call. I guess he thought the other ones were, too, but what happens, and we were the beneficiaries of one. (DE) Dwight (Freeney) fell down and they called holding. I think that's what they're looking for. When guys go to the ground, whether you block them to the ground, whether they fall or whether you hold them, if they end up on the ground I think we have a sense that these players are so good that nobody can take them to the ground. That's what happened. Mike's guy comes and dives and ends up on the ground and they call holding. We're going to work on that on defense next year, falling down more and see if we can get some holding penalties called."

On DT-Raheem Brock's personal-foul penalty:

"Mike (Pereira) thinks that was a good call. He said that the quarterback got hit in the facemask. If (Referee) Walt Anderson had told me it was a facemask penalty I could live with it, but that's not what he told me on the field. He said it was a personal foul for unnecessary roughness. He said the quarterback was sliding feet first and got hit in the head. Mike and I had a long discussion about that. He wasn't sliding feet first, he was trying to make a first down and he fell. And, when he's out of the pocket and running he's no longer a quarterback, but I think we're treating these guys as quarterbacks. If that had been Maurice Jones-Drew with the ball, in my opinion, it wouldn't have been called. That's another one of the things that we're into, just like guys falling on the ground, we're into protecting the quarterback, which is good. We can live with that. The safety of the players is important, but then our quarterback does slide and gets hit by two guys and it's not a penalty and they don't think that should be a penalty. So, I'm really baffled by what is protecting defenseless players and what isn't."

On what 10 straight playoff appearances means to him:

"It means that I've been in two really good organizations with a lot of really good players who had the ability to focus. I've been with some great coaches, some of them have been with me all the way through, and just really been blessed, blessed by the Lord to be in those situations, to have talented guys that are able to focus week in and week out. It is a little bit thrilling to me when you see the names of the people that are in that area, (Former Dallas Head Coach Tom) Landry and (Former Pittsburgh) Coach (Chuck) Noll and (Former San Francisco Head Coach Bill) Walsh. It's hard to do, so I really feel fortunate to be around two groups of guys who have allowed me to do it."

On if he ever takes the playoffs for granted:

"I don't. We had a big celebration (Thursday) night. Making the playoffs is hard to do. People can say, ‘You've made it seven straight times,' but they're all special and I commended our group. We had to do it the hard way this year, and sometimes things just don't go right for you, but to fight your way through and get there, every one is special. I don't take it for granted and definitely appreciate the opportunity that we're going to have."

On the RCA Dome:

"It's pretty special. For Indianapolis to build that facility without having a team and to attract a team here, and really that's the start of all of the Colts' history here, you have to commend the leadership of the city. For it to be our home for six of the seven years that I have been here, we had some special games in there and it became a great home-field advantage for us. Some great, great memories, so in a way I'll be sad to see (it imploded)."


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