Dungy: It's Been a Blessing

Tony Dungy talked to the media in a wide-ranging interview session Wednesday. See what the coach said about the Colts' success in the wild-card round, giving carries to defensive tackle-turned-fullback Darrell Reid, the Colts' winning streak and his lucky hat, coaches getting fired and the pressure to win, and more inside!

On the reason the Colts have played well in the Wild Card round of the playoffs:

"That's really hard to say. I think we've gone in in pretty good shape health-wise those years. And, we played at home so that helped. You have the momentum and the crowd, but there is really no way to explain it."

On the continuity of ending the regular season and going straight into the playoffs:

"I think you do like that routine as a player and you know what you're doing and you go. We've had bye weeks during the season, though, that we've been able to come back and play well. We just haven't seemed to play as well after our bye in the playoffs. Being in the routine and being in the groove, I think does help and hopefully that will be the case this year."

On if he thought about giving DT-Darrell Reid a carry when he was lined up in the backfield at the end of last week's game vs. Tennessee:

"No. Sometimes you give those guys a carry and then it creates a life of its own. We want to keep him just the way he is, a defensive lineman, a special teams guy and a blocker. We don't even want to entertain that thought."

On if Reid was trying to get QB-Peyton Manning to get him the ball:

"He was, yes. On Friday we practice different emergency situations so we have some things where we throw him the ball and we do have some things where he could run it, but I just don't see us getting to that in a game."

On if this season's close games are a sign of a resourceful team or of a team that can't pull away from its opponent:

"It's probably how you look at it, but we've played a lot of good teams. You're not always going to play games where you have that type of cushion, especially on the road. I think part of it is us being able to finish games and making plays in the fourth quarter, and that's what you're going to have to do in the playoffs."

On if he has a better idea on the injuries to OG-Mike Pollak and C-Jamey Richard:

"I really don't. We'll probably see. (RB) Dominic (Rhodes) actually did some things, worked out (Tuesday) and looks like he's going to be OK. The two linemen, we'll probably see (Thursday) what they're able to do."

On if he has superstitions during winning streaks:

"No. I just like my hat. I like my comfortable stuff. I wear the same stuff. It has nothing to do with superstition, it's just all comfort and fits and feels good. You can't let superstition get in the way. I think everybody has that routine that you get into. I don't know if you chalk it up to superstition or good luck or anything, but it does feel comfortable and you just keep it going as long as things are going well. As soon as we lost, that hat stopped feeling good."

On if it is an advantage that backups have played with starters throughout this season:

"I think it does give you a little confidence when you have to put people in the game and you know what they can do and they feel comfortable, they've been in, there's no doubt about them being able to do the job. So, in the long run, it is a little blessing in disguise. You don't like it when it's happening during the year, but the experience those guys get really does help."

On head coaches being fired:

"It affects everybody. When you put together a football team, you're doing it on the basis of, ‘We're all coming together, we're all going to go after a common goal,' and we all are in it together. So, it affects the players and everybody around the building. It takes a little while to get over. We're in a fast-paced business. You see the teams with the one-year turnarounds and that's what everybody's saying, ‘If I don't like the way things are going, let's make a change and see if we can jump-start it.' You have to give people like Tennessee credit. They knew they had a good coach with Jeff Fisher. They had a couple of years that weren't as good as their playoff years, but they stuck with the formula and got back to it. That's hard to do in this day and age because nobody wants to be patient. Nobody wants to hear, ‘We're on the right course even though you may not see it.' I just think that's what we're in, probably in sports in general, but certainly in the NFL. We're in the quick-fix, quick-solution type deal. I've never felt that was the best thing, but it is what it is.

"It's all about Super Bowls now. If you feel like you have a Super Bowl team and you don't go to the Super Bowl, then making changes seems like the way to go. Continuity says a lot and does a lot. (Former Pittsburgh DT) Joe Greene told me a story when I first got with the Steelers. Joe had been there, came in 1969, they weren't winning, it was Coach (Chuck) Noll's first year, and they're making progress, winning a game or two more, but still not there. He's watching the Miamis and the Oaklands at that time. He went into Coach Noll's office and said he was finished and packed his car up, packed his stuff out of his locker and left. Lionel Taylor was an assistant coach and Lionel went and got him and talked him into coming back. Two weeks later they put (RB) Franco (Harris) in the lineup – Franco was a rookie – and the rest is history. Joe told me, ‘I almost quit that close to something special.' Patience is hard. It's hard, and people can't always see that they are close, that they are making progress when you don't have the wins. The easiest thing to do is be impatient and change for change's sake, but it's not always the best."

On if he is thankful to have had continuity in his career:

"I know coaches in this business that have moved a lot and been different places. We have moved, most of the time, by choice, and we've been able to stay places six or seven years. That's pretty unusual. I'm thankful for that all the time. I wish (the business) was different, but we kind of know that's the profession we have when you sign up for it. I got fired after three playoff years (in Tampa Bay), so it's not necessarily not having success. If you don't do what everybody thinks you should do, you have to make a change. Owners like (Pittsburgh's) Dan Rooney, guys who stay the course and understand that change for change's sake isn't always the way to go, are a dying breed. I'm thankful that I've worked for Dan and (Tampa Bay's) Malcolm Glazer and (the Colts') Jim Irsay. It has been a blessing."

On if this season is more special than others:

"I look at them as all pretty special. They've all been fun in their own way. Some of them have been a little bit more disappointing than others, but this has been special to see how some of our young guys have come on. You're relying on guys to make plays that aren't the normal guys we would think about. That's always fun and rewarding for a coach, when you have different guys step up and you see guys improve and the team come together. It's been fun, but no different than a lot of the other ones."

On if players tune a coach out who has been with one organization for too long:

"I think that may have been the case before. You used to hear a lot of people, (former Oakland coach) John Madden talked about that a lot, and I think when I first started coaching that might have been true because a lot of times you would have the same guys. You would have the same group of guys for 10, 11, 12 years, but there's so much change now. I talked to our team about the six 12-win seasons in a row that we've had and I counted them up, there are 12 guys that have been here for all six of them. I've been here seven years. There are only 12 guys that are hearing the same message, so I don't buy into that as much now because of free agency and all the turnover that we have."

On the prospects of Minnesota's Assistant to the Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier being considered for head coaching jobs:

"I did speak to him this morning. He's doing well. He's excited about being in the playoffs, and I think very fired up about that. I think most guys in that situation, (Defensive Coordinator) Ron Meeks' same situation here, guys would be excited about getting opportunities to interview but are zeroed in on their job and the playoffs. I think that's where Ron is and that's where Leslie is, but there are going to be some openings. You're going to have the Bill Cowher, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan names come up, but you're also going to have some of the assistants and I think it's good."

On if this is Frazier's chance to become a head coach:

"I don't think you ever know. I know for me, we had some good teams and good years and were in the playoffs and there were places where you knew someone and you felt like, ‘This might be a good shot.' The year I ended up getting it was a year there were only two openings and we weren't in the playoffs – it was the worst year we had had in a long time – and I didn't know anybody in Tampa. So, I don't think you ever know and just hope that you get a chance to talk to people and impress them."

On if any teams have asked for permission to speak to any Colts assistant coaches:

"You'd have to ask (President) Bill (Polian) on that. That doesn't come to my desk."

On if it helps assistant coaches that Atlanta's Mike Smith and Baltimore's John Harbaugh are in their first head coaching jobs:

"It should, but we don't always do things the smart way in the NFL. You would think it would. I think those guys have shown that if you get a chance a lot of times you can do the job. If you get good people and they mix with the players you have, you can have a great year whether they have a long pedigree, whether they've been head coaches before, whether they've been coordinators before. I don't think any of that matters, but we tend not to think out of the box all the time."

On if it is impossible to be the head coach and GM in the NFL:

"I'm sure it can be done. I wouldn't want to do it, personally. I think it's way too much work for one person. I enjoy coaching, and I know Bill (Polian) can do a much, much better job keeping track of all the other things, the salary cap and the draft and next year's draft and what you might have to do and rules. It would just be way, way too much for me. Some people might be capable of that, but I wouldn't want to try it."


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