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Tony Dungy Press Transcript

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**Q: Tony, one of the interesting aspects between the two quarterbacks is that they're both very cerebral in their approach to the game, and certainly your quarterback has to really think on his feet every time he goes to the line. Can you talk about that aspect Peyton's game and perhaps Brady's?

TD:** You're right, they are very similar and they're both great leaders. I think their teams have a lot of confidence in their ability to make plays. They both operate in offenses where the quarterback really does control a lot of things and makes things happen. Peyton is certainly central to what we do and his ability to get us in and out of the right plays. It's not so much the throws that they make, but orchestrating the game and running the game and I think that's what makes both of them pretty good.

**Q: How did you analyze Peyton when you first took over there in terms of his ability to think on his feet? Did that impress you? Was that particularly an important part of what you thought his makeup was about?

TD:** Yes that is a big part of his game and it's something that you don't see a whole lot of anymore. I think the quarterbacks nowadays want to execute, they want to run the game but they don't want to be involved in a lot of the decision making. Peyton is certainly different, he takes the challenge he wants to get us in the best plays, he wants to have that freedom that Tom Moore gives him and it is a great part of his make-up and what really makes him special.

**Q: Are his thinking and his ability to operate a game a big part of your streaks on the road and setting the tempo for your victories?

TD:** What has happened to us this year is our team has grown in such a way that we have more confidence in what we're doing. I think our offense has been together for a long time and our veteran guys on the offensive unit have been through the battles, they understand our philosophy and we really are a smooth-working unit. Our defense and special teams had to grow into that and what we've had is everybody kind of believing in each other and buying into the system and so when you have road games and tough places to play, when you have good teams coming at you, you fall back to what you believe in and that's good teamwork and good effort and I think that's been the biggest part of getting us to this point.

**Q: Are you practicing outside this week and how do you think the cold will affect you on Sunday?

TD:** I don't think the cold will affect us too much. We play in a dome stadium but we live here in Indiana and we're experiencing the same winter that New England is, we start our cars and scrape the ice off the same way so we're used to functioning in it. Cold is really a mental thing and we've got mentally tough guys. We're going to try to get outside and do some of our kicking outside to get used to fielding balls in the wind. Our field is not in great shape, it's frozen so I don't know how much we'll be able to do but what we'll do is open our doors in our indoor building and get the cold air circulating. We'll work in the cold, I don't know if we'll be able to work in the other elements.

**Q: Why wouldn't you go out when the field is not in good shape? Wouldn't that best approximate the conditions you'll face here?

TD:** I don't think you necessarily have to approximate the conditions. When I was in college Bud Grant was famous for winning a lot of cold weather games in Minnesota and can remember when I was a senior in college and they were playing the Redskins and the Redskins came up and with George Allen, they came up to Minnesota to practice and they practiced there all week and Bud Grant said 'I don't know why anyone would do that, practice in all this cold.' He took the Vikings to Tulsa and practiced in good weather and came back and won the game. I don't think you have to sit in cold weather and work on frozen fields to know that you can do it.

**Q: Can you put Mike Vanderjagt's streak in perspective, especially now it seems with games being so close that any advantage can tip the scales?

TD:** It's really unbelievable, I actually wasn't around Gary Anderson in the year that he had his streak, but I coached Gary when I was in Pittsburgh and he's the same type of kicker, the same routine and just a guy who tries to do everything the same way all the time, but having 37 or 38 straight would be comparable to making free throws. It's hard to do and it's hard to do especially when some of them are just major clutch kicks, but he's had a great year and I assume we're going to need him. New England has the same type of kicker and if it comes down to field goals I think you want to be the team that's kicking and not the team that's trying to block one.

**Q: Do you watch the Patriots and marvel at how important and critical their special teams seem to be in these games of high magnitude?

TD:** I love the Patriots and the way they play. I admire them because they are a team that utilizes everybody on their roster, everybody contributes, special teams, defense, offense, they play totally as a team and that's why they're successful. We're trying to get that same type of attitude going here. They win games a lot of ways. They win a lot of close games. They won our game in the kick-return game, they did that in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago when they went to the Super Bowl, won it on special teams. But they don't care how they win and to me that's a sign of a great team.

**Q: Were Bethel's two long kick returns in that first game more just a case of a guy making a really good play?

TD:** He's an outstanding returner, they've got a great scheme, they've got good blockers, they're a good kick-return unit. We had a couple of chances to make tackles on both of those two long returns and didn't get it done and I think you have to credit their whole return team, but he ran through some tackles.

**Q: Could you talk about Richard Seymour and the challenges he provides your offensive line?

TD:** He's playing very well for them and you can't just zero in on him. Some teams have one great rusher and you say 'we're going to do this and we're going to slide the center this way or double him with a back,' but they've got other guys that can get there which makes it tough. But Richard Seymour is playing a total game, he's playing against the run, he's rushing the passer and playing with a lot of energy and as a coach that appreciates defensive line play it's fun to watch.

**Q: What did the Tampa Bay game do for this franchise, and can you use that at all to draw back on in difficult situations?

TD:** I think what it taught us is that when we play our game, you can beat anybody and win anywhere and you don't really worry about the exterior and all of the other elements surrounding the game. There was a lot of drama with me going back there and the game being on Monday night. We tried to tune all of that out and focus on winning the game. We got behind by 21 points which you don't want to do against those guys, but we were able to hang in there and come back and win. I think, especially with our young guys it really made them aware that they shouldn't worry about anything else, don't worry about the score just continue to play and if you do good things will continue to happen.

**Q: Can you draw back on that this week?

TD:** Yeah. Fortunately we've had that. The Lord has kind of prepared this team in a lot of different ways and we've gone on the road to a lot of different situations, we've gone on the road to Tampa where they've never lost a Monday Night game in that stadium, we went to Miami where supposedly we had trouble playing, we went Tennessee where they had a long winning streak and a loud stadium and Kansas City had won 13 home games in a row, so our team has constantly heard about all of those historical things and they really don't matter in the 60 minutes that you're out there on the field. I think we have learned to just focus in on the opponent, watch the tape and see of we can concentrate on trying to beat the Patriots.

**Q: What makes your team so effective on the road?

TD:** The biggest thing is our veterans on offense. Usually, when you struggle on the road you have trouble scoring points and moving the ball. Our offensive system has been in place and these guys have not allowed noise and things like that to be a factor so we have confidence that when we do go on the road we can move the ball and I think that helps us.

**Q: You talked about appreciating good defensive line play. What does Ted Washington bring to the field and how does he simplify things for the Patriots defense?

TD:** I'm really mad at my friend Jerry Angelo for sending him to the AFC, that wasn't a very nice thing for him to do. Ted is a guy who can control certain parts of the game and if you don't double-team him in the running game, it's very hard to get movement and run inside and he just makes it difficult for offenses to function in the middle of their offensive line. That helps their pass rush, that helps other guys get free and I think that was a great move for New England to get him and they're certainly utilizing him very well.

**Q: Willie McGinest got all of the credit in the highlights for the goal-line stand against you guys the first time around. How much credit does Ted [Washington] deserve for that?It was one of those critical plays where you needed everyone. Ted Washington made it tough for us to run the ball in that whole game. We don't feel like the game came down to that fourth-and-one. That was one play that they made. We had some opportunities earlier and they had opportunities to put the game away, but when you get in that situation, you have to block Ted Washington, no question.

**Q: It looked like you guys tortured Eugene Wilson in the first meeting, he was on the scene on a lot of plays that went for big yards. Was that true or false?

TD:** No. When you look at things you never know from the outside what the coverage is and what guys' responsibilities are. We moved the ball around a little bit and threw it to different guys. Eugene Wilson is playing pretty well for them and I wouldn't say that you could make him the scapegoat at all.

**Q: Is he playing uncharacteristically well for a guy that came into the League just this year as a highly rated cornerback?

TD:** He is, that's a tough transition. We've got a guy who's doing the same thing, Donald Strickland came in, we planned on playing him at corner, we had some injuries at safety and he's learning on the run and it's just not easy. But those are two smart guys and guys who've been in winning programs and both guys are doing a great job.

**Q: Can you talk about shifting the focus of your team from being a defensive team to being so offense-oriented now that you're in Indianapolis?

TD:** It's not really shifting any focus it's playing to the strengths that you have. In Tampa, when I got there, there was some real good defensive personnel in place and we were able to draft some defensive personnel early, we spent most of our salary cap money on defense and that was where we were going to have to make our hay. When I got here there was an offense in place and here we've got a lot of young defensive players and we've got to get better on defense and we think we will, but the strength of our team right now is on the offensive side of the ball so you have to play to that strength and that's what we're doing.

**Q: What do you take from that first meeting with the Patriots?

TD:** It reinforced to our guys that we have to play a complete game, offense, defense and special teams. We have to play for 60 minutes and you can't have lapses. They put a lot of pressure on you defensively, they move around, they've got different alignments, different personnel groupings and they do the same thing on offense, and you've got to be able to think and react and respond to those. One or two plays in a game like that can really hurt you and we will respond to that and our young guys I think will play a little bit better.

**Q: The last time you guys played on that last series of downs, when you looked at it on film what did you come away with on that?

TD:** That they rose up and made some plays. We had four chances from the two and we got down to about the half-yard line and we couldn't get it in, we were in a three-wide receiver package because we had some injuries and couldn't get in our goal-line package, but what it comes down to is making plays and they made three plays to keep us out and you have to give them the credit. Hopefully, if we get to that situation again, we'll be able to have a little bit of a different package and somehow get the ball in there.

**Q: When you looked at it did you have any second thoughts?

TD:** I don't even look at that. What I looked at is we gave up two long kick returns, we let them convert three touchdown drives by converting third-down plays, some things that we don't characteristically do gave them 38 points, that's what I looked at. We'll get our offense going and hopefully we'll score from the one if we get down there, but we can't give them 38 points in this game and expect to win.

**Q: There is so much focus on your offense, but can you talk about the quality of New England's offense?

TD:** New England's offense is very efficient and they do what they do very well. They spread you out, they move the ball around, they have six or seven different receivers that can all hurt you. They've got a couple of tight ends that they use in the passing game and they move them around and they've got two different kind of backs they can play a power game with Antowain or they can be a more outside running, throwing the ball offense with Kevin Faulk, and they've got a quarterback who really likes the pressure of winning close games and they're very complete on offense and that makes them tough to defend.

**Q: Are you saying they're underrated offensively?

TD:** It depends on who is doing the rating. I don't underrate them. I think any time you've got a team that's been to the Super Bowl and a team that has won this many games, I don't see how they can be underrated.

**Q: Can you talk a little more about Brady? You described him as being tough in close games. Is there anybody else that you face who is like that, and why in particular are they good in those situations?

TD:** There have been quarterbacks that we have played in the past and he just reminds me of that guy that you really don't want to have the ball with two minutes to go and they're behind because it seems that no matter how the game has gone, no matter how he's thrown, no matter what's happened, he wants that ball and he seems to have a way of making it happen and his team believes it's going to happen. John Elway was like that to a great extent. At the end of the game you might have held him down pretty well, but you certainly didn't want him to have the ball on the last drive.

**Q: What makes their linebackers special and enables them to do what Belichick wants them to do so well?

TD:** They are veteran guys, they're really smart players and the three of them are really big, physical guys that can overpower people but they can also run and then Tedy Bruschi is just a special talent. He doesn't look the part, you try to figure out where to play him to have the most impact, but he's a playmaker and they utilize him very well, move him around, he makes plays in the run game and the pass game, but I think all four of the guys are really instinctive and they fit in really well in what they're trying to do.

**Q: Are the linebackers a pretty smart corps of defenders?

TD:** Extremely. I think you have to be in that defense the way they play. They can play a package for a particular team one week and then come out and be totally different the next week and that's not easy to do. You need veteran players for the most part, but you need very smart players. When you watch five or six games you see a lot of things that they do but it's because they can change from week to week.

**Q: I understand you make your hay on offense as you were talking about earlier, but for you are there times where you say 'I'm going to go for it here on fourth down here whereas at another time I might not have gone for it in this situation?'

TD:** We're not playing as consistently on defense as I would like us to. We're improving and we're playing better this year than we did last year, but we're still a work in progress and we're growing, we've got some young guys that are going to be some really good players and we just have to work through that. In Tampa I was used to a veteran defense and more young guys on offense, here it's just the opposite and we have to continue to work. We have a lot of confidence in our defense and we've got to go in there with the idea that we've got to be the best defense on the field and if we don't shut New England down better that we did in the game here, we're going to have problems.

**Q: How much is your defense playing the "Tampa-two" and could you explain what the difference between the Tampa-two and the cover-two is?

TD:** I've never quite figured that out myself. We're probably not playing as much cover-two as I had envisioned us playing. Our guys don't know it quite that well and we're still a work in progress that way so we're doing a little more blitzing and playing a little more man coverage that we probably will two or three years from now. But we're getting there and improving every week.

**Q: Do you subscribe to the axiom that defense is ultimately what wins?

TD:** I think you have to play good defense to win consistently. I think you have to be able to run the ball and line up and stop people from running it, in the long haul that's going to win. You can get on some little streaks and you can win games in other ways, but that's kind of an axiom of football that I think will always be there.

**Q: The Patriots' offensive line does not have a lot of heralded guys. What do you make of them and what do they lose with Damien Woody being out?

TD:** He's a great player and any time you lose a great player you have to make adjustments. The thing about the Patriots, they've done that all year, we've done that all year. We played them the first time without Tarik Glenn and Makoa Freitas stepped in and played really well and did a great job and I think that's the mark of a good team and those guys have that. They won't expect whoever plays that guard position to play any differently. They won't plan any differently and that guy will probably step in and play well if Woody can't play.

**Q: Who are some of your favorite leaders that you've watched?

TD:** I've been fortunate to be around some really good leaders. Joe Greene was probably the most dynamic guy I've been around in a leadership role and having a team follow him and take on his image. We had some guys down in Tampa, Derrick Brooks was the same way, John Lynch, here Peyton Manning is the same way for us, but here we've got some leaders in other ways that aren't quite as vocal and visible. Chad Bratzke has been a fantastic leader for us and they can come in a lot of different ways.

**Q: Is there anybody that you style yourself after?

TD:** I've always been intrigued with coaches, Coach Noll was a tremendous guy and obviously I learned most of my football knowledge from him and I watched him and worked for him the longest. I admire John Wooden, watching him coach his teams it seemed like they were always in control and he was always in control.

**Q: Is there any moment or any instance that you remember from any of those guys that you fall back on in tough situations?

TD:** The one thing Coach Noll told me when I first got the job in Tampa was that you have to do what you believe in and never let other people change your beliefs or ideas, you have to be yourself. He won his first game and lost 13 straight, but he had a foundation he wanted to lay down and a certain way that they were going to do things and I've always tried to remember that. So whether you are doing well or not as well as you would like, you have to continue to pound those things that you believe in and eventually it will come around.

**Q: What has allowed Reggie Wayne to emerge this year?

TD:*Reggie has really grown into the system and I think it's been a knowledge of what we're trying to do and what the offense is all about. With that knowledge has come confidence because he now has an understanding of what we're going to do before it happens. I think in his first two years he waited for Peyton to call the play and then tell him what to do, but now he's starting to anticipate and understand what we're trying to do and why and with that he's just been able to relax more and play and he's had a great year for us *

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