Tony Dungy Press Conference Highlights

Colts head coach Tony Dungy talked to the media about the hard-fought win over Jacksonville, his running backs, Dwight Freeney, the offensive line and this week's opponent -- the Carolina Panthers. Find out what he had to say inside...

General comments...

"Looking at the tape, it was probably more gritty and hard-fought than it was artistic, and sometimes that's the way it has to be. Especially coming off a bye, probably not as sharp, not as technique-sound as you would like to be, and we had some things we had to overcome. We had a few more penalties than we would like and some technique errors that showed up on some plays. But we got great effort and contributions from a lot of guys on the team, which is what you're looking for. I thought our special teams, with the exception of one play -- some of our young guys assumed Maurice Jones-Drew was going to throw a ball on a kickoff return to maybe a lineman or someone -- but other than that play, we played pretty well on special teams. We won the battle of field position. Defensively, I thought we tackled well. Offensively, we did what we had to do to move it and overcome some of those mistakes. So we got accomplished what we wanted to. Our goal was to win these first three division games on the road. We were able to do that, and it's gotten us off to a good start the first third of the season. Now, our task today will be for our players to rest up, for our coaches to put in a long day and see if we can get prepared for an opponent we don't know a whole, whole lot about in Carolina."

On how difficult is it to prepare on a short week...

"It's harder. It definitely is. Normally, Monday would be a day where our coaches spend half a day looking at Carolina and formulating some ideas and then we'd come in today and start to talk about it. We have to do all of that on a short time frame and it's not an opponent that we really know. So that even makes it a little tougher, but we'll get it done."

On not harping on the short turnaround too much or it might create a negative vibe...

"You can't turn it in to an excuse. Two teams have to do it every week, have to come off Monday night games. That's just the way it is, so you know that going in and you prepare. I slept all day yesterday before the game so I would be ready to go today, and I think most of our coaches did the same."

On if splitting carries between RBs-Joseph Addai and Kenton Keith had to do with Addai's prior injury or if he was wanting to even the carries more...

"Kenton has played well, and we want to get him in there. I think we're developing more and more confidence in him. Joseph just coming off, missing the week before, may have had a little something to do with it, but more and more I think having those guys go and keeping them fresh is going to be good for our running game."


Kenton Keith
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

On if RB-Kenton Keith has done better than thought...

"He's not more than we expected, but maybe more than a lot of other people. We saw it in the spring, and again, he's a guy that has played professional football (CFL) and made yards and run well. So that part of it we knew was going to be good. It's just all of the other things that go into it. He's had some good pass protection. He dropped a ball last night that he normally doesn't drop. He's been very reliable in the passing game. We felt we had a good player there, and it was just going to be a matter of getting him comfortable."

On RB-Kenton Keith doing well in short-yardage...

"I've been pleased with our short-yardage this year. Both he and Joseph have run up in there and banged it in and made the yards when we needed it. The one he made last night by a couple of inches, he actually got hit behind the line of scrimmage and made it. So that was a big play, when you don't have to punt, you're able to keep drives going. And we had several plays like that, that really to the naked eye might not show up as being too much. Kelvin Hayden knocked a ball loose when they had the ball at the four yard-line that's going to put them 1st-and-10 out at the 15. He knocks that ball loose and then the next play is a safety. Those plays sometimes go unnoticed, but those are the kinds of plays you need to win games like that."

On DE-Dwight Freeney not getting single blocked...

"I was with Derrick Thomas in Kansas City, and it got very similar. Derrick would get frustrated and he's facing a lot of chips and fullbacks and tight ends on his side. That's the mark of a good rusher, when you put yourself in that category, the Reggie Whites and Derrick Thomases, (Julius) Peppers, a guy we're playing this week. Those guys, you don't see them get single-blocked very much. You have to learn how to beat double teams. You have to learn how to beat chips if you want to continue to be productive."

On still recognizing a one-on-one block...

"Yes. And that's the biggest thing, and I know we used to have to talk to Derrick (Thomas) about that. They can't double-team you on every play, so you're going to get some. But if you go into every down thinking, ‘Oh, here comes the double, here comes the fullback,' and you're not ready, it's almost like that fastball hitter that when you finally do get the fastball, you want to make sure you hit it."

On with such a big division lead, is there a challenge not to let up at this point...

"I don't think there will be because of what's happened the last two seasons. We started out 13-0 and didn't win it. Then, we went 9-0 and we had a stretch where we didn't really particularly play good football. We have a lot of guys that were on that team last year that we had some poor games in late November and December. So, I think our team realizes you don't win championships in September and October. We were happy to get off to the good start. We have a lot of things, we'll watch the tape tomorrow night, and we'll have some things from this game that we need to work on. Our coaches do a good job of that, and our veteran leaders on the team do a good job of really just maintaining those practice habits and that drive."

On the consistency of the offensive line...

"The offensive line has been good. We had Tony (Ugoh)'s situation of who is going to fit in at left tackle. Other than that, we haven't really had a lot of issues in there. The other four guys have been relatively healthy all year. That continuity is what's important. And the more they play together, the better we're going to be. It's a good group. It's a solid, fundamentally sound group. They take a lot of pride in their play. We have run the ball better probably than any time since I've been here, the consistency of running it against some pretty good run defenses. So overall, they've been pleased. The quarterback has gotten hit a little bit more than we like, but I think we've played some really good rushers. For the most part, we've been good."


Bob Sanders
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

On Bob Sanders' ability to make plays...

"Bob's a great player. He's a Pro Bowl guy. When he is out there, obviously, we benefit from that. He had an interception, had a big play on a third down early. The 4th-and-1 is really an unbelievable play of getting out there. He had a sense of what was happening, but to get out there is one thing, which takes something. But then to make the tackle and get (Maurice Jones-Drew) down for a loss, another big play. He just has a knack for that."

On DT-Ed Johnson...

"I was surprised when we got him. I didn't realize he was that good of a player. But what we saw in camp, we realized he could do a lot of good things. He's been another one of the reasons that we've been better. He's a very physical guy but still has the ability to run and chase things down. He's played real solid for us inside."

On not getting pulled in to the New England game and hype...

"Even before the season started, everybody's saying that's who you're going to have to beat and it was San Diego, that's the best team. I think New England has been in it long enough, and we have too, with this group of guys for the last four or five years that you know what you have to do, which is play and get better every week. And if you get better every week, you have a chance to be there at the end."

On the New England game 11/4...

"That game, believe it or not, is not going to be the end-all to the season. It's not going to be the Super Bowl, and there's no guarantee that the winner of that game is going to get there. So, it's going to be what it is. It's going to be hyped up, it's anticipated. It was circled on the schedule I'm sure early by a lot of people, but it's going to be one game out of 16. It may have some big ramifications, but by the end of the year, it may not."

On with the Colts offense, if he feels they have an advantage facing NFC teams because they only play once every four years and they are not familiar...

"I think we do offensively in that people that don't see us, don't play us as much, aren't as familiar with us. We think it helps us because we're basically adjusting to whatever they do. We're calling our plays based on what fronts and coverages we see. Conversely, though, defensively, we like to know what people are doing. They have a new coordinator since we played them last, so we really don't know a whole lot about these guys. We know Steve Smith is a great player, they have a couple of good running backs, but we don't know how they block, what their thought process is. And that's what we have to learn in the next 24 hours."


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