Talkin' With Tony: August 13

Tony Dungy talked to the media in between practices Wednesday during training camp in Terre Haute. The coach talked about the injured players, the meaning of preseason games, the tight ends, wide receivers, and more!

On the morning's practice:

"It was the beginning of a pretty good day, just fundamental work and practicing against ourselves. I always like these kinds of days. It will actually be the last one we have as we start (Thursday) to prepare for Atlanta. It was good work and I thought our energy level was good. It was another good day."

On DE Marcus Howard:

"Marcus is doing well, the typical ups and downs of a rookie. I think he surprised some people from Washington, maybe, (in the Hall of Fame Game) that didn't have a good scouting report on him and had a good day. Then you get a little bit more attention the next time around, but he's learning. He's going against (OT) Tony Ugoh a lot in practice and he's growing every day."

On how many DEs he would like to have in the rotation:

"We like to have five on the roster, and you want to have four guys that are playing up and running. We use everybody, so we like to come out of it with at least five good ones and sometimes six."

On the meaning of preseason games:

"Coaches are looking at different things. We haven't won nearly as many preseason games as I would like to. People think you don't care about winning — I think it's always important to win — but more than that you are looking for different things. You are looking for how your guys that you are going to count on, how they play, and you are looking for young guys to step in and do well in certain situations.

"I thought our first group played very well in Canton (during the Hall of Fame Game). We didn't play well last week (at Carolina). I'm looking for that group to maybe play a little bit more and play better, play more like we did the first week and really work on developing that consistency."

On if a preseason loss is a better teaching tool:

"The thing about the preseason is a lot of times the winning and losing depends on how your second and third group plays. They are playing the majority of the game, so I think it tells you a little bit about your depth and what you're getting out of those units. You can't always read into the score, but you want to see how the flow of the game is and how you are doing compared to the other guys you are playing, whether it's your first group or your third group. Our first group didn't do as well (at Carolina). We had 10 plays and we were down 14-0. In a regular-season game that can be disastrous."

On if getting more reps has helped QB Jim Sorgi:

"Everybody benefits from playing more. That's one of the things we had talked about as a staff is getting Jim more reps this camp, even before (QB) Peyton (Manning's) situation, so he could get comfortable and improve. I think it really has helped him and you can see the confidence that he's gained by it."

On the team's group of TEs:

"They're coming along. Tom Santi has just started running and doing some field work after practice, and we hope to get him back in the swing of things pretty quickly. Because he hasn't been there, some of the other guys have gotten more work. Jacob Tamme and Gijon Robinson are really coming on. They are improving and I think they are going to show us that the two tight end set is something we're still going to be able to use effectively."

"Special teams is important for those tight ends. Jacob is our backup long snapper now and does some things on the return units. Gijon is a guy that we're going to have to count on on everything — on coverage units and the return units."

On how WR Anthony Gonzalez has progressed since his rookie year:

"Anthony's doing well. He learned a lot as a rookie. He's a very confident guy and a very smart guy. I think just knowing the offense better, he's going to have the same progression that (RB) Joseph Addai had. I think he had a good year (as a rookie), but it will be so much smoother and easier for him this year, I think his production level is going to really pick up."

On how much WRs Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne help Gonzalez progress:

"I think just watching those guys helps but, more than anything, in our offense you have to get out and do it. You have to experience the change of the calls and you have to experience the routes changing a little bit based on the coverage. They've tried to help him through that, but so much of it is just seeing it on the run and reacting."

On if he expects the PUP list players to be back on the field before breaking camp in Terre Haute:

"That's a decision we are going to have to make. (DE) Dwight (Freeney), (DB) Bob (Sanders) and (TE) Tom (Santi) are getting closer and it's whether they start here Friday or whether we wait until Monday, but we are going to be absolutely sure they are ready to go. They are all making progress. My sense is we probably will wait until Monday, but you never know."


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