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AFC Guest analyst

Lindy Infante, an NFL coach for 13 seasons, finished his career as Colts coach from 1996-97. He spoke with staff writer Joanne Korth about the ways a great defense and a mediocre offense work together for team success.


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2001

My background is offensive and, obviously, I'd like to see great plays on offense and lots of points scored. But having been a head coach, I appreciate a great defense. There's nothing that an offensive coach likes to see more than a great defense because it means you don't have to score as many points and you're generally not out of the game.

Part of being a winning team is that whichever side of the ball is dominant, the other side has to compliment it. If you have a shoddy defense and you feel like you have to go out and score 25 or 30 points, it changes how you approach the game. When you have a great defense, it ends up handcuffing offenses a little bit because they tend to play the game a little differently.

Conservative is not a good word, but I think they play within themselves and are very conscious of not turning the ball over or doing something that puts their defense on the short end of the field. You have to give Baltimore and New York credit. They have played to their strengths.

People talk about quarterbacks Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins not being marquee quarterbacks like Brett Favre or Peyton Manning, but they have been around and they play within themselves. They don't feel like they have to go out and throw a touchdown every time.

If you look at the history of the two teams, you have to think one of these defenses will get a couple more turnovers than the other. The difference in the game could be which offense capitalizes on those turnovers and doesn't put its own defense in jeopardy.

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