Just some random news.

Definitely worth posting though, because it doesn't say "undefeated" once.


Monday, December 12, 2005
A VERY GOOD OPPONENT
By John Oehser - Colts.com

San Diego Again One of AFC’s Best, Dungy Says

INDIANAPOLIS – One thing to make perfectly clear:
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy respects the San Diego Chargers very much, and thinks they are one of the NFL’s best teams.

Comments made by Dungy that the Chargers weren’t an “elite” team angered some San Diego players last season. Dungy said Monday he didn’t mean what he said as an insult.

Furthest thing from it, he said.

“I said it last year, and they took it as a slight, that they weren’t an elite team,’’’ Dungy said Monday, a day after the Colts clinched a third consecutive AFC South title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

“What I meant is they’re a lot like us,” Dungy added as the Colts (13-0) prepared to play the Chargers (8-5) at the RCA Dome Sunday at 1 p.m. “They’re blue-collar guys and they’re really, really good players – (running back LaDainian) Tomlinson, (quarterback Drew) Brees, (wide receiver Keenan) McCardell, (linebacker Donnie) Edwards, (tight end Antonio) Gates.”

“They’re guys who come to work every day and do their job, and that’s why they’re really good.”

The Colts beat the Chargers, 34-31, in overtime in the RCA Dome in the second-to-last game of last season. That game clinched the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs for Indianapolis, and was the Colts’ last regular-season victory by fewer than seven points.

“I meant it as compliment,” Dungy said. “They’re a hard-nosed team, but they’re very talented. It should be a hard game for us.”

SIMON INJURED: The Colts sustained only one injury against the Jaguars, Dungy said.

That was defensive tackle Corey Simon, who sustained a sprained foot.

“That looks like the most serious,” Dungy

Also, Colts linebacker Cato June – who missed his first start of the season – could miss at least another week. Dungy said team doctors told him Sunday June might benefit from another week of rest, and Dungy said because of the “luxury” of clinching home-field advantage, holding June out another week is a possibility.

Second-year linebacker Gilbert Gardner started in June’s place, and finished with seven tackles.

“Gilbert did well for really his first extended playing time this year,” Dungy said.

NO FACTOR: It’s within range for Edgerrin James. But Dungy said to the Colts’ three-time Pro Bowl running back, it may not matter.

With three games remaining, James is 56 yards behind Seattle running back Shaun Alexander for the NFL rushing title. James has 1,440 yards and 12 touchdowns on 334 carries; Alexander has 1,496 yards and 23 touchdowns on 303 carries.

A rushing title would be James’ third, and his first since he won back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000.

Dungy said he approached James when facing a similar situation last season when James entered the season finale 66 yards behind Alexander for the title.

James played one series against the Broncos, lost two yards, then did not play during the rest of what was a meaningless game in the standings.

This year, the Colts have clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with three games remaining, and Dungy was asked Monday if playing James to give him a chance at the rushing title was important.

“We’d like to get it for him,” Dungy said. “He was really in the same situation last year and I asked him what he wanted to do. I told him what the plan was, and that I’d have (Dungy’s son) Eric monitor where (Jets running back) Curtis Martin and Shaun Alexander were, and if he wanted to take a shot at it.

“He said, ‘No, it won’t be necessary.’’’

Dungy said he believes James’ approach will be the same this season.

“I think Edgerrin likes to play,” Dungy said. “He wants to play. He’s expressed to me that he’d like to play the last three games. I don’t think it’s about rushing titles. I think he just enjoys playing.

“I know our guys would like to get it for him, so well see how it goes, but I don’t think it’s high on his list of priorities.”

THE RIGHT CALL: While he wanted a different result, Dungy said the decision to try a fake field goal late in the first half against Jacksonville was the right one.

Leading 14-3, the Colts tried a fake field goal from the Jacksonville 5. On the play, Colts punter and placement holder Hunter Smith rolled right and threw a pass to long snapper Justin Snow.

Show was eligible because the Colts’ formation placed him on the end of the line.

Smith’s pass skimmed off Snow’s fingertips, giving Jacksonville a first down at the 5, and after the Colts forced a Jaguars punt, Indianapolis scored on a late first-half field goal to take a 17-3 lead.

“It was something we worked on,” Dungy said. “We thought it was the right spot and we could really put the dagger in and score seven points. If it didn’t work, we were going to have the ball at the 5-yard line. The way it turned out, we ended stopping them and getting the ball back and getting our field goal anyway.

“It was just the right place for it. It was something we had worked on for a long time and we felt it was the right time to do it.”


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