Tony Dungy Media Conference Highlights

Colts head coach Tony Dungy updated the media this week on the status of his wide receivers, shared his thoughts on players such as Robert Mathis and Joseph Addai, discussed the challenge presented by San Diego's defense and much more!

General comments...

"We're starting the second half of the season. The first drive coming out of the locker room is always important in the second half, and this one unfortunately is a tough one going to San Diego. I think they're in the same boat that we were in last year after the Jacksonville game. You look at a lot of tape and you see some very good defense. Then you look at one half and a great back and see what doesn't seem like good defense. I'm sure they will get pounded about the number of yards they gave up and what happened. I think we're going to see a team very much like we were after the Jacksonville game. We'll see their best, and their best is pretty good. So we have to be ready. We're trying to bounce back after a loss also, and hopefully we'll take that same attitude out there."

On the team at this same point this year compared to last year...

"I think we're doing a lot of things better, some of the things that we really stress in terms of protecting the football and taking it away, not giving up big plays. We're running the ball better than we were at this time last year. We're defending the run better than we did. We haven't given up a lot of big passes, so there are a lot of things that we are a little bit better, but I think the league is better around us. I think our division is playing better. The records say that they are. So we're going to have to continue to improve."

On how the last month of games will effect the Colts...

"I think we're a team that pretty much goes along and takes the challenge of the week that comes, whatever that is. And this week it's facing a really good team with some explosive offensive players and a great front seven on defense. I think we'll step up to the challenge. We have had some injury issues, and that's given our young guys a chance to get in there and play, and they've done a good job when they've gotten the opportunity."

On the Colts' ability to bounce back...

"I think one thing our team does, it puts the last week behind them. That's the only way you get winning streaks, you kind of don't rest on your laurels. And when you lose a game, you examine it and see what went wrong, and you try to make those corrections. You don't get too overly down about it, you just know you have to look forward. We came off some tough losses last year, were able to come back and play better that next week. Our task is now that we have to go on the road and play well, and we can't use the emotion and the energy of our home crowd. Last year was a little different story. We were losing road games coming back to home games. Now we lose a home game and we have to really come up with our best effort."

On not having WR-Marvin Harrison vs. New England and if not having him cost the Colts because they were able to defend Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark...

"Well, with eight minutes to go, there wasn't anybody in the game that we didn't need. Everybody who we needed was there to play to defend that lead. We played well enough without him to get a 10-point lead with eight minutes to go."

On the status at WR position and the possibility of adding a receiver if WRs-Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez cannot play...

"Craphonso (Thorpe) is on the active roster and ready to go. We didn't dress him last week. We thought we had enough receivers to make it, and (Anthony) Gonzalez got hurt on the first play. If Anthony can't go, then Craphonso would be the next guy. I don't think we'll add anyone from the outside at this point."


Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney
Andy Lyons/Getty

On DE-Robert Mathis...

"Robert's playing really well. He does his job technically as well as anybody on our defense. He has the ability to make big plays and he plays hard the whole time he's in there. So we just have to monitor his number of plays and we're usually going to get pretty good a performance out of him."

On if he sees a difference in RB-Joseph Addai this season...

"Not in terms of ability, but I think he just understands what's going on a little better, so he's playing more and not thinking. He understands how we're blocking certain plays, where the holes are likely to be, and he's anticipating things better. That's what happens when you get a year in the offense, so I think it's just more relaxing and playing up to his ability."

On if he was surprised by RB-Joseph Addai's 73-yard TD reception...

"I guess I've seen it before and you expect those kinds of things. He can make people miss in the open field. You never expect it to go 70 yards in that situation, but he's done some things in practice that give us the idea that can happen."

On comparing RBs-Joseph Addai and Edgerrin James...

"I think it probably is a fair comparison in all the things that they can do. We said when we got Joseph, at least to me anyway, of all those backs (in the 2006 draft), he was the one that reminded me the most of Edgerrin in terms of being able to run inside and outside, to catch the football and be effective in the passing game, to pass protect, to do a lot of the little things. And I think we've been very blessed here to have Marshall (Faulk), Edgerrin and Joseph, three guys in 12-14 years that could do everything. Very unusual, but very similar all three guys, and very smart players. All three of them understand a lot about football, so you can use them in those different roles."

On San Diego's defensive talent...

"They're an exceptional group. You have to block them. It's an all-day-long effort. Their front seven, they have big, physical people inside. They have exactly what you need in the 3-4, two guys who come off the edge in (Shawne) Merriman and (Shaun) Phillips who can create havoc. You can't really block them with backs on a regular basis, so that forces you to do some different things, and that opens it up for other people. They have some secondary guys who are physical and make plays. Antonio Cromartie has been a big-play guy for them. So they're very talented, and I'm sure they're kind of going through what we went through last year trying to figure out why it hasn't been as consistent as it was the year before."

On how you improve field position and San Diego being at near the top...

"We have to do a better job. They are outstanding with their coverage units. They have a lot of speed, they have kickers that hang the ball high and put it directionally, and they have covered really well. Darren Sproles is their return guy. He's a tough guy to tackle. And they take a lot of pride in it. With their formula of running the ball with (LaDainian) Tomlinson, playing defense, field position does become critical. We have to cover better. We talked about it this morning, that we have to kick the ball directionally the right way, kick it with good height. The trickle-down effect that we've had with the injuries is showing on our special teams. Tyjuan Hagler and Rocky Boiman are starting and so you have to replace them on special teams. You get someone hurt and those backup guys go in, and now they're not playing as well on special teams because of the substitutions. We haven't had Luke Lawton because we've had to get extra linebackers up, and he was one of our better players. So guys have to step up, and our young guys are going to be counted on this week."


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