ANDERSON, Ind. —
He’s heard the national pundits who believe this Colts team could be among the worst in the league. But he isn’t putting much stock in those opinions.
Instead, he said, Indianapolis will set its own expectations from within.
“I know we don’t want to use ‘rebuild,’” he said. “I guess ‘retool’ or whatever word you want to use, but we want to have a chance to compete and have a chance to be in the playoffs, to have a chance to win games and do things people predict that you can’t do.”
Dungy supplied a gentle reminder of just how possible those goals are.
His first team in Tampa Bay in 1996 was torpedoed by a 1-8 start, but the Buccaneers were a playoff team just a year later.
Dungy said the key for Pagano is to stick to his plan no matter what outside influences suggest. And he brought up some examples from last season of teams that didn’t let others dictate how their stories played out.
“The thing about it, it’s not the talent but it’s about getting the talent to understand the system,” Dungy said. “So you’ve got new guys here, new system, and that’s the big thing. How quick will it get put together? But what I told the guys (during a post-practice address), our first playoff game last year, for NBC, was Cincinnati and Houston. Cincinnati was supposed to be rebuilding, they had a rookie quarterback, and Houston was playing the third-team quarterback after the first two got hurt, and they had never been to the playoffs. So we in the media can write about who is supposed to be good, who has got talent, who is going to be this or that, but they get the chance to prove it on the field. That’s really what it’s all about, and that’s what training camp is about.”