Tony Dungy Press Conference Highlights

Tony Dungy talked to the media earlier this week about his thoughts on the Colts' performance against the Broncos, how the Colts responded to the loss of some key players, this week's game against Tampa Bay, and more!

General comments...

"As we looked at yesterday's game, a lot of gratifying things out of it. We certainly don't take winning for granted, and when it was 10 to nothing, it wasn't really very pretty. But I thought our team kept our poise and I thought we had a lot of guys that had to step up and play, make big contributions. That's really gratifying as you practice and you get your first group ready. You're always telling guys that they have to prepare, and when you know guys do, it makes a big difference. We had Bryan Fletcher, Aaron Moorehead, Kenton Keith, Matt Giordano had to go in for Bob Sanders, Rocky Boiman again. When they go in and play really well, it gives you a lift, and you realize that you can make some things happen with other guys in the lineup. I think that's going to hold us in good stead down the road. Once we got through the first part of the game, Denver had a little different attack—some goalline formations out in the middle of the field, some tight formations, two tight ends—different ways to attack and run the ball, and we were a little out of sync. We went back to a little bit of some of the things we did last year of just trying to guess and not really take care of our own responsibility. Travis Henry is a good back. They controlled the ball the first quarter, but after that I thought we played better defensively. Once we got the ball, we played sharp offensively. And our special teams, really, we won the field position battle, and that was a big part of it, too. They ran the first kickoff back to the 36. After that, they started really at their 20 or inside the 20 every time, and to go 80 yards is tough. So that helped us. We got some good field position with kick returns and had a shorter field to go. All in all, I think it was a good team win against a good team, and it put us in good shape after the first quarter of the season."

On ball security and no turnovers the last two games...

"It's not easy to do. It's something we emphasize. It's our goal every week. Our guys do a good job of it. They know how important it is to take care of the ball, our people that handle it, putting it away, tucking it in traffic, our offensive line protecting so we don't have bad throws, we don't have sack-fumbles, those kinds of things. We've been good at it. I think we've turned it over less than anybody the last four or five years, and that's going to help you win games."

On if there are any updates on injuries...

"We always have our medical meetings Monday evening after we get the results back from the MRIs and a lot of the testing. I really don't have a lot to offer at this point."

On the response to injuries being that the next guy must step up...

"It really is, and they did (vs. Denver). That was the gratifying thing yesterday. We come out, it's 14-13, we're up, and (Associate Head Athletic Trainer) Dave Hammer comes to me and says Marvin (Harrison) won't be back, Rob (Morris) won't be back, Bob (Sanders) won't be back, (Ben) Utecht won't be back. And other guys, you sit down and say, ‘Hey, Bryan (Fletcher), you're going in, Aaron (Moorhead), you're in, Rocky (Boiman) and Matt (Giordano), and here's how we have to roll.' And they did a great job."

On red-zone efficiency...

"A little bit better execution than we've had. That's the difference, make the throws, make the catches. We had the fade to Marvin in the corner of the end zone last week or the week before and just can't quite get it. We get the fade to Dallas and catch it, so that's the difference between a touchdown and a field goal. Very similar coverages, similar throws. We were just a little bit sharper this week. We emphasize it, we work on it, and it's the difference. They had a couple of long drives and had to settle for field goals twice, and we got touchdowns. That was the difference in the game."

On running the ball well in the red zone...

"I think we're going to have to. People are taking that approach, keeping the safeties back, double-covering the wide guys, and saying, ‘We're just not going to let you throw touchdown passes.' We are going to have to run the ball to keep people honest and make them play. And that's what happened in the Denver game. We ran it in a couple of times and then they blitzed us. We got one to Reggie (Wayne) and got some single coverage on the outside on some of the passes."

On RB-Kenton Keith filling in for RB-Joseph Addai...

"Kenton has practiced well. We saw it in the offseason program. He just had a little more moxie than our rookies. He had been in football in the Canadian League, not necessarily in the NFL, but he had played and you could sense that. He did some good things in the receiving game. He hadn't had a whole lot of chances, but we always felt he was going to do well. We were running the ball well, and Peyton stuck with him. We got the looks to run the ball when he was in there, and when he got in the secondary, he exploded and made some things happen."

On QB-Brett Favre breaking Dan Marino's TD pass record, and if he thinks QB-Peyton Manning will eventually break the record...

"I think he will, if he stays healthy, and that's the key. Brett has stayed healthy the whole time. I remember when he first started playing in 1992 when I was at Minnesota. It seems like a long time ago now, but to play that many years and that many games in a row. Peyton's going to throw a touchdown and a half to two touchdowns a game. You have to play a long time to get there, but if he stays healthy, I think he will. I wouldn't see his pace slowing down other than injury."


Peyton Manning
Andy Lyons/Getty

On if he ever sits back and marvels at QB-Peyton Manning's touchdown throws...

"I did my first couple of years when he would have the back-shoulder throws to Marvin or just the little communication things. And now he's getting that with other guys, too. He moves out of the pocket (vs. Denver), and Dallas' catch was a great catch, but even better than that, he just slides to his right about 10 feet. Simeon Rice is two feet away from him when he throws it, but just the knowledge of where everybody is, where the rusher is, what I have to do, how long I have to throw it, that was the great part about that one. And I think that's what impresses me more so than just the throws, some of the audibles and getting to the right play and feeling where everybody is and throwing the ball where only his guys can catch it. I think that's what the great ones do."

On why DB-Marlin Jackson is so effective inside...

"I really think that's his best spot. He's a physical guy, he has great quickness and he is instinctive. He's a lot like Ronde Barber. I think Ronde plays that nickel, inside position as well as I've seen it played. You have to be tough enough to make tackles in there, athletic enough to cover people, and then smart enough to know what's going on. I think both of those guys have that same feel."

On winning 11 straight at home...

"We have a tough place to play. We're built for the turf and the noise and all of the things that go into it. Now, I always tell our players, you can't count on that. The turf is not going to win for us. The noise isn't going to win. But it's obviously easier playing in those surroundings. That's part of it, but we'd like to do that same thing on the road if we can."

On what part the crowd plays in coming to the RCA Dome...

"I think they're a factor here. Everybody has to plan for it, silent snap counts, not being able to audible as well. I don't think we would have been able to come back from 18 down had we been in New England last year in the Championship Game. I thought our crowd really helped us in that game."

On if playing Tampa Bay is still special or if it is far enough removed...

"It's always special. I think we've had all of the guys come back here the last four or five games, and I saw Brandon (Stokley), David Thornton and Nick (Harper). Whenever you play a team where you've been, it's obviously special, so it will be big for me. But more than anything, it's a chance for us to get to 5-0 and get to the bye in first place in our division. We're playing another first-place team, and it seems like that's what we've had the last month or so. It's going to be a good game for us. I haven't seen a whole lot of them yet. I heard they're doing some different things on defense, so we'll have to see how much we still recognize. It will be a fun game, and a good game, I'm sure."

On remembering the 2003 comeback at Tampa Bay...

"What that 2003 game did, I think, for all of us here, was let us know (that) no matter where we are in a game, if we keep playing we have a chance to win. And believe it or not, I think that helped us in the (AFC) Championship Game. It helped us in some slow starts, yesterday (vs. Denver), when you're down 10 to nothing. That was a game that we can all point back to and say, ‘If we don't panic, our offense is good enough we can get back in to most games.' So that was, for me anyway, it kind of showed me what our offense could do."

On it being said the 2003 Tampa Bay game was when players felt it was his team...

"I didn't feel that so much. We had won a few games, and that was our fifth in a row that year. To me, it gave me a sense of what our guys could do. I think it gave us all a sense that, we're up against the best defense in the league and we're up against the crowd and everything else, and all of these factors, and we're down three scores. We were able to win the game, not panicking and (it showed if we do) what we should do, we can do some good things. I think we came together."

On if he thought the Colts could come back down 21 points with a few minutes left at Tampa Bay...

"I was 10 seconds away. I told (Offensive Coordinator) Tom (Moore) we ought to take Peyton (Manning) out. We're playing again in six days. It was Monday Night. And Tom said, ‘Let's just see where we get this kickoff, and let's see what happens.' And Brad (Pyatt) ran the kickoff back to the 10 yard-line and we went in and scored. Had we gotten a bad kick return and gotten backed up in our own end, who knows."

On if LB-Derrick Brooks is the model Cover Two LB...

"Derrick probably is, if you really talk about that ‘Tampa 2' and the weakside linebacker and what he has to do. Derrick was a perfect fit for it. He is smart, athletic, powerful, quick, all of the things you look for, as well as being a good leader. A great open-field player. Yes, if you were drawing one up, you could take that do the drawing board."


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