They are ranked tenth in offense and basically running the same offense they had before Tony took over. The glaring thing about them is that they weren't starting out real fast as far as scoring points. They would get behind in some games but they scored 157 points in the fourth quarter. That is a lot of points, so they make their comeback somewhere around the middle of the third quarter. They are a pretty good road team; they have won four games on the road. They beat
Would you rather be playing someone else?
Yeah but because we are in the same conference it will eventually boil down to this. It will be a fun game for both of us. We both have a lot of admiration for each other and we respect each other a whole lot like Tony said yesterday, we're like family. It'll be interesting. It will be a fun game.
On Marvin Harrison:
143. It's amazing—11 touchdowns. They get him the ball – he's the guy—sometimes you double him. But you can't double him every play but it seems like if you don't they throw him the ball so maybe you have to double the guy every play. He has 143 catches—that's a lot of catches. They have a knack— he gets open. I was watching the
On the way
Even when he was at
On the similarities between Curtis Martin and Marvin Harrison:
They play in
What are Marvin Harrison's best attributes:
He's not big but he's fast—fast and quick. It's really unique because I can remember playing him when we were in
On the message for the team now:
I told them the big thing now is we need to win a playoff game. That is the next hurdle we need to climb as a football team. I told it is very hard to win your first playoff game. That is a difficult task, it seems like it shouldn't be but it is for all teams. If you can get through that one then you can get on your roll in the playoffs. That is always the tough. This will be the toughest one that you play because of all that is involved in it—it's the playoffs, first game and it's at home. There is a lot of added anxiety because it's the first playoff game this is the one you have to go through.
On changing the emphasis on the season:
I think what we have to realize is the way we got here was we visualized on this is the game we are going to play and we are going to have to continue to do that. I think it is good to go in with some momentum and winning games—that is a positive for us. But what we've done to get here will not help us in the playoff game. We have executed and we can't lose sight of that. When you are starting the playoffs everyone is 0-0. What I stresses to the players the most is the tempo that will be played in this game is very fast. A lot faster than it is in the regular season. We kind of played some playoff games here at the end against
On the Colts TE Pollard:
He's an excellent tight end; he's like a receiver. They split him out on third downs and sometimes even on second and first down and use him on linebackers. He's good across the middle. They get him matched up on some linebackers. He's obviously a very good player; he's got 43 catches for about 11 yards a catch. He's third in their reception as far as average per reception and he's got six touchdowns.
On speaking with Tony Dungy:
I talked to him yesterday and we won't talk again until Saturday. The wives talked last night. It was a good conversation. We talked for about 20 minutes. He was congratulating me and I was congratulating him and the fact of taking over the first year and getting to the playoffs and winning ten games is an accomplishment in this league. That is a tribute to him and his staff. We talked about some other things about how we started. We talked about how we were in
On the offense Coach Dungy and the weapons he has on offense:
On his thoughts when Coach Dungy was fired in
We basically just talked about how he was going to handle it. He told me how he was going to handle it and I figured he was going to handle it that way, like a gentleman with class and he did. The next time we spoke we really had a good conversation at the White House. We were there for the Martin Luther King celebration. Denny was there, I was there and Toni and our wives. We spent a day and a half there. We talked about it that time. It was really a funny period for me at that time because Denny just got fired and Tony just got fired. I'm standing there looking at these guys who I looked up to and thinking this is crazy. We're talking and I knew at that point Denny wasn't going to try to get back that year. Tony had a couple of things in the fire and I w as trying to convince him to go where he went. I had coaches from that team call me and say we really want him and I talked to Tony you're choosing now, think about what you're getting ready to do. He made his own decision but I just said go to one place where you have to start over but you did that in
Did you talk about how he should handle the
No. That is the way you're supposed to handle it. There are a lot of ways to handle it and the best way to handle it is the way your parents taught you. Do what you have other people do for you. Tony is a big believer of that, he's a class guy and good things happen to good people. He's still coaching and he knows how to win and that organization is glad to have him. I just think there are a lot of times that coaches are going to be dismissed and you can wait until the season is over with to do that. Everybody does it different and that is up to them. The first thing before you're a coach, you're still a man and you're dignity is very, very important. I you don't show a man dignity after he's been there and he's supposed to be your head coach that bothers me a little bit But that I'm not the owner and I'm not the people that make those decisions. I think there is a right way to handle things and a wrong way to handle things.
On similarities between what Jim Fassel did this season and what you did:
I thought Jim did a great job and I admire him as coach and I told him that. I told him that in the tunnel before we played. That you did a great job of handling your guys and they believe in you. You can tell by the way they play and the way they fight. It's really amazing because he talked to me when I first got this job. He told me what to expect as far things that will be written and said. He just told me to make sure that you understand what you need to do and you'll be fine. I can remember that—him speaking to me. We kind of went down the same road.
On what you did specifically to handle the team at 2-5:
I told them basically to not focus in on the circumstances, that I would handle the circumstances. All they needed to focus in on was to prepare to win a game. If the circumstances were being written about and talked about and everything else I wanted to make sure the circumstances were pointed at me and not so much them. I think that is very important so they can stay focused on their jobs and what they needed to do to win a game. That is what the head coach is supposed to do. It's your guys and you have to protect your guys. That is my role and whether I did a good enough job or not I don't know but I tried the best that I could do. That is all you can do. I would deal with the circumstance and focus in on winning the games. If you do things like that in a team atmosphere that is how you win. That is what I was taught from my dad and its pretty good method. Pretty simple and hard to convey sometimes but you have to be a pretty disciplined guy to understand that.
On how much you were prepared for this situation:
Nothing can prepare you for this, believe me. The only person that was kind of wearing me out was my wife. Basically I would come from here and go home and she would wear me out. She would look at me and shake her head and say you're not talking to them right. "What are you talking about?" We would lose another game and she would say you're really not talking to them right now. It got down to the third game and she said you better figure it out. I said okay I'd figure it out. She kept giving me confidence by telling me you're a good coach. You know you're a good coach so just keep coaching. She kept saying to make them listen. I understood what she was saying and that was probably the toughest thing for me to go home and look at her everyday because she suffers. She is a wreck; if we lose a game she is a wreck. That was the toughest thing for me. I thought the players and coaches were bad—seeing her—it was crazy. She doesn't like losing. She can anticipate what is happening. She just shakes her head and says you better talk to them better than you are talking to them and tell the right thing. When you're the head coach and all this stuff is happening you don't really have anybody to talk to. I really never thought about it that way but he was right because when all this stuff is happening the assistant coaches are in their office and they got their doors closed. The players are down there and you're sitting in your office and going whom am I supposed to talk to about this. You can't call another head coach because he has his own issues. You don't have anyone to talk to. You're sitting there going well and you're looking at all these things of what I can do to get this thing going. The assistant coaches are bewildered too and whatever you tell them their going to go "yeah coach that sounds good" because they don't want any real part of it. They're just trying to get their players to play good. This year you really feel it because of what we went through. So you just deal with it, persevere and believe in what you are doing and find a way to get through it.
Was there a defining moment of what turned the tide:
I think the bye week and then when we went to
What message did you try to convey to your coaches:
That is personal. That is one of those behind close doors. No one was in there but me and the coaches. It had nothing to do with x's and o's.
Was it about changing things you did:
It's just certain things that we were doing. How I felt we needed to that and this. I don't want to get into it.
Is there something different that you talked about with the players for the playoffs:
This is our second time in the playoffs for us. We've accomplished something that hasn't been done here a lot. For us we need to take the next step. Now you have to start winning playoff games, which is kind of important. You don't want to just get in you want—now you want to start winning some. When you can start doing that then it really gets good. It's really a lot of fun now. Especially if you can win the first one. It's always the key one to win the first one and I learned that as a player. We lost our first one in Philly. The next year we won two and kicked the door in and went all the way. It was the same way in