Dungy: I Think We'll Play Well

Tony Dungy talked to the media Friday, discussing the team's first game with Chicago on Sunday, the new speakers in defensive players' helmets, how teams steal opponents' signals, how Peyton Manning his timing back, who will return kicks and punts and more!

On if he is curious about how things will go Sunday:

"I think you're always anxious for that first game to see how your team does. You have a good feel coming out of preseason how it's going to go, but you don't know for sure. You want to see how they're going to perform and you really don't know until the lights come on that first night. But, I feel good about our team, where we are, and I think we'll play well."

On if the new no-force out rule will have an impact:

"I think it'll have a little bit of an impact on balls that you throw up around the sidelines and in the back of the end zone, fade routes. You have to be more conscious offensively of making sure you have enough room to catch the ball. I think that could show up, not many times, but in some big, big plays and big situations.

On the speaker in a defenders helmet:

"It's worked fine for us. The only issue you have is it is going to go out on some contact, some tackles if you have it on linebackers. It has gone out for a play or so, but for the most part it's been good for us."

On deferring on the coin toss:

"I would only see that coming into play if you had real, real strong wind one way or the other. Most of the time, I know for us, we're going to take the ball if we win the toss. I think most people feel that way. If you have a situation where you want to make them make the decision, ‘Would I rather have the ball first or rather go with the wind in the first quarter?' That's a decision that happens in windy stadiums. In Giants Stadium I could see that being a factor, but most other places we play — I can't remember ever being anywhere other than Giants Stadium where I would have deferred."

On if there have been any issues with the defensive headset:

"Not really. We've been used to having it on quarterbacks who don't get hit very often. Occasionally on the quarterback after a play it will go out. I would assume with the linebackers that'll be more, but how much more I don't know that anyone knows yet."

On if the defensive headset has made communication clearer:

"Oh, it definitely helps you. You can wait a little longer as a defensive signal caller. You can talk, you can change calls a little quicker before you get to that 15 seconds, so it does help."

On if there are any disadvantages to the defensive headset:

"There haven't been for us. People that use a lot of different packages and have different guys in and don't have one guy that's in there a lot, I think that you are signaling some and then talking some; that might be a little harder. But, for us, it's been good."

On if it has taken so long to get defensive headsets because of rules favoring the offense:

"No, I wouldn't say that. Most people didn't have confidence that we could have a system that worked and they were worried how long it was going to hold up. If mine goes out, would you still have yours? That's a disadvantage. They always told us with the quarterbacks, ‘If this guy gets hit, we don't know that this speaker is going to hold up.' No one is still even really sure how long it's going to hold up because most of these guys haven't played a full game. (LB) Gary (Brackett) has played 15 plays, although we've had it on some guys that played 30-40 plays in the preseason and it seemed to do okay."

On if less chatter over the headsets is better:

"I think it all depends. Some teams you're playing, you won't need to say a lot and other teams, I think it'll help you to have some different reminders. Gary, I don't think, minds the communication. Other guys may be a little different."

On how much an offense can change in the last 15 seconds after the speaker is turned off:

"Not a whole, whole lot. Usually, by then you are ready to snap the ball and you don't want to be communicating to the guy anyway. But, there will be some interesting times where you'd like to say something more and you're not able to. I guess that's just going to go with the territory. But, I think you should be able to get your defense called and get that in.

"We have our personnel in there and we are at the line of scrimmage. The biggest problem for the defensive signal caller is he doesn't know who's in the game. Once you find out who's in the game, then it's pretty easy to make your call based on the down-and-distance. But, when they're going back and forth — and that was always the problem before — two guys come in, you're not sure who's going out, you wait and wait and see who goes out. Then, you decide what you're going to call, they're breaking the huddle and you still have to hand signal to the defensive captain. Where now, (Defensive Coordinator) Ron (Meeks) can just wait and say ‘OK, this is three wide receivers, we want to go this defense.' And you can get it in a lot quicker than having to hand signal at that point. That'll help."

On if the offense can change personnel in the last 15 seconds:

"Most offenses want to get in so they can do all that at the line of scrimmage, but if you were trying to not let someone talk, that would be the way to do it. You don't even have to do it at 15 seconds. You could do it at 19 seconds. By the time I know who's in there, there's only 16 seconds left and I can't get my call in."

On how much signal stealing actually goes on:

"I think it's just like baseball. Everybody tries to steal signals. I read Oscar Robertson's book and in basketball everybody knew the other team's plays and all the hand signals. Back when you only had six teams and you played each other, you knew the signals to a great extent. You try to disguise them, you change them at halftime, but it's part of the game."

On if he ever thought another team knew every call:

"I never felt they knew every call. There have been some times where you felt like, ‘Well, they had to have the signal on this one. They had the perfect play for this defense. They either were real lucky or they had the signal.'"

On if he has settled on KR and PR:

"Probably (WR) Courtney (Roby) will be the kick-off returner and (DB) Keiwan Ratliff will do the punt returns. Keiwan did it in college and also did it for the Bengals."

On if he senses an eagerness from the players now that it is the first week of the regular season:

"Week one is always that time with a little more energy, a little more preparation. You want everything to be the same in the pre-season, but the guys know that this is when you can't afford to make a mistake, so I think our preparation and our excitement level is up."

On if QB Peyton Manning's timing with receivers is affected by missing training camp:

"Not really. I'm sure it's not where he would like to be. He's a pretty routine-oriented guy and would have loved to have the whole training camp. As far as not having timing with (WR) Marvin (Harrison) and (WR) Reggie (Wayne) and (TE) Dallas (Clark) and Gonzo (WR Anthony Gonzalez) and (RB) Joseph (Addai) — the main guys that we have — I don't think that'll be a problem. I'm sure he'd like a little bit more time with (TE) Jacob Tamme and (WR) Courtney (Roby) and some of the new guys, but I haven't noticed anything."


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