Talkin' With Tony: August 21

Tony Dungy had some interesting things to say to the media on Thursday about the passing of Gene Upshaw, leaving the RCA Dome, the competition for the starting right guard spot, and some new "traditions" the players are thinking of starting at Lucas Oil Stadium. Get it straight from Dungy's mouth here!

On his reaction to NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw's passing:

"It's really sad. I heard, actually, when I was on the way to work (Thursday) morning, and it's very surprising, obviously. Gene is a guy I played against and knew for a long time, since 1977 actually. I thought he had done a tremendous job for the union. He was a great player and did a great job in that capacity. You hate to see that happen. It's a very, very tough day."

On the disadvantages of leaving the RCA Dome after losing only three games there in the past three seasons:

"I've always thought that it's how you play, so I don't think we're going to look at it any differently and hopefully we have the same type of record (at Lucas Oil Stadium). We enjoyed the RCA Dome. It was good for us. We knew that facility very well. It was nice and loud for us, so we did have that going, but it was a lot of good players playing well and that's what we have to have at the new place. I think it's going to be great for our fans and I think we'll get the same type of enthusiasm, the same type of noise, so it's going to be up to us to continue to play well in there."

On if the home-field advantage will be lessened by moving into a new stadium:

"No, I don't think it will. I think our guys will be charged up about playing in Lucas Oil and I think they'll do a good job the same way."

On if TE Tom Santi is still on the PUP list:

"He's still on PUP. He is actually working out and has done some things and looks like he's close to being ready to go. We have to make a decision whether to take him off and get started or not. He's feeling better. He's probably in the same capacity as (DB) Bob Sanders and (DE) Dwight Freeney were in for a couple of weeks. They were, in their minds, ready to go and anxious to get started."

On if expectations for a fast start change with all the injuries this preseason:

"We've had (Team President) Bill (Polian) and his staff do a lot in terms of tracking injuries and we've looked at different ways we practice and how we structure things. We've had some injury issues in the past, and usually the guys have come back and have been ready to play that first game and that's what we are hoping again. We've missed some guys, some guys have missed time, but hopefully we're structuring it so that the majority of them will be back and ready to go week one and we can come out of the box fast. We've been able to start fast in the first six years that I've been here. That's been critical and hopefully we can do the same thing."

On the competition between Charlie Johnson and Mike Pollak for the starting RG position:

"They're both doing well. Right now, with (OG) Ryan Lilja still being on PUP, we're looking at that and maybe they're both going to end up having to play. It's the type of thing where you just have to keep developing good players. Both of those guys will play different spots and in some capacity, but they are both doing well."

On OG Mike Pollak coming across as low-key:

"That can fool you. People throw that ‘low-key, even-keel' around quite a bit and everybody that's labeled that way isn't always that way. Mike is very much a perfectionist. I think he's very similar to a lot of our other offensive linemen. He's not going to be demonstrative, maybe not do a lot of talking, but he takes a lot of pride in how he plays. He's a very smart guy, and he's making good progress."

On when he will decide how much playing time DE-Dwight Freeney and DB Bob Sanders will get Sunday vs. Buffalo:

"We will see how the rest of the week goes. If they come back to practice (Thursday) and continue to improve and continue to go – Bob, I don't think is going to practice (Thursday), but he'll be on his normal routine of Wednesday, Friday. But, after Friday's practice if they're ready to go — they certainly won't play as much as the other starters, but we'll get them a good dose."

On if there are any challenges for the players moving into a new stadium:

"We're all creatures of habit. We all like things that are comfortable that you know and that's part of it. We knew all the lay of the land at the RCA Dome and were very comfortable there. We have to develop that same comfort and there'll be some things that are different. We have, fortunately, a couple of pre-season games to work our way through that. The main thing is to not really focus on where you're playing. That's something we've tried to do from day one here, that you have to play your best and win no matter where you are, no matter what the elements – indoors, outdoors, home, away, playoff game, pre-season – you have to treat them all the same. I think from that standpoint of how we approach it, it'll be the same, but it's going to be different. It's going to be new, it's going to be exciting and we can't let that overwhelm us. We just have to go do our job and play our game."

On his thought's about DE Dwight Freeney's proposed ‘Lucas Leap':

"Well, there is one end of the field, if we score at that end, the leap is a little more feasible than at the other end. Hopefully that's the end he was talking about and not the other end.

"I'd be fine with it, I guess. We've never had to deal with it, but I guess the rule is that one person can go, if two, then it's a celebration. If one person goes it's acceptable. I could see that happening a few times."


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