Dungy: It Was A Big Win

Tony Dungy talked to the media Monday after the team's come-from-behind win over the Minnesota Vikings. See what Dungy had to say about the team's struggles in the running game, the play of Anthony Gonzalez, this week's game against Jacksonville, and more inside!

"It was a big win for us, one that looked like it was in doubt for a long time. We certainly didn't want to go to 0-2 and put ourselves in that kind of hole. As I said (Sunday), I was really proud of the guys for the way we fought and the way we continued to work even though we were working uphill a lot of the time. It was a good win for us to get. All the things that you preach in the off-season program, and in training camp, and during the week, you just have to continue to fight and continue to battle and hang in there. If you can keep the game close enough where you just need a couple of big plays to win it, anything can happen. That's the way a lot of NFL games are. That's pretty much what happened. We didn't play extremely well. I thought they had a good plan, offensively and defensively, for where we were.

"They got the lead, but we were able to stay within striking distance. They had a very, very good pass rush putting pressure on us all day. Because of that, I think their DBs really started crowding us. The first interception of the game, (Vikings CB-Antoine) Winfield really plays under (Colts WR) Marvin (Harrison) just feeling like we're not going to have time to throw it deep. We felt like we had some things. We had four or five plays that we just couldn't make for one reason or another. Then, we hit a couple in the second half and got going and fought and hung in there. We have some things we have to get squared away. We still had a couple of penalties and assignment errors that really hurt us. We gave up some field position with penalties on special teams that could have been disastrous and we were able to overcome that.

"We had some little things where we just weren't sure. Part of it is (RB Adrian) Peterson making you a little bit hesitant. In the second half, I thought we pulled the trigger a little bit better and held those runs down. We have to continue to improve. Our young guys are getting a baptism by fire and a lot of those guys will be in this week as well. We'll continue to get better. We have a big division game coming up that we have to get going on as well."

n LB Freddy Keiaho hitting Vikings RB Adrian Peterson:

"He had a good day. When they run the ball that much, your Will linebacker is going to be involved in a lot of plays. Freddy made some, had some tackles that he couldn't quite get him down. He played well and made some big stops for us, especially in the second half."

On Keiaho's potential at LB:

"Freddy has everything we're looking for to play that spot. He certainly knows it much better now and is playing fast and playing very hard. These first two weeks, he's been pretty good."

On DB-Melvin Bullitt's play:

"Melvin came in, and he gets an advantage because we hold (DB) Bob (Sanders) out on Thursdays in practice, so Melvin does get to practice and that really helps him. He came in and played well and gave us a lift."

On the running game:

"I'm not that concerned with the running game. I'm concerned that we just have to be sharp. If we know what we're doing and execute well, we're going to be fine. We've had games where people try to take the running game away and we always feel like we can throw the ball in those situations. Whether it's run or throw, we have to execute and do what we can do. When we get that done, the running game will be there. Now, we have to run it better to make our play-action passes go, no question about that, but that will come along as everything else, our execution in every phase, gets better."

On if new players on the OL is a factor in the running game:

"That's part of it. We have some things with the audibles and understanding what we are doing and not only getting to the right play but the proper way to block it. There's a little bit of that, but some of it is just we have to play sharper."

On broken plays:

"We had a couple of those where they either didn't hear the play call or didn't communicate the way we needed to block it right. That was part of it, but we just have to continue to work and get sharper in that aspect of things and eliminate some of those errors."

On if it's frustrating not to be able to run the ball:

"No. We tend not to get frustrated. I think guys just want to win. That showed up yesterday. You had guys fighting all the way through and not giving up, not worrying about what's happening at other positions, just doing their job. That's why it was so satisfying to win that game that way."

On the two-point conversion play call:

"We work on a number of plays in the two-point situation and (Offensive Coordinator) Tom Moore dials them up depending on what he feels like we're going to get from (the defense). Obviously, most people feel like when the game's on the line we're going to throw the ball, so we may have caught them by surprise a little bit."

On WR Anthony Gonzalez:

"Anthony had a big day. We had some chances to get people open and get behind the secondary because they were playing us so tight and crowding us. Anthony was the guy who had the opportunities come his way, and he certainly took advantage of it."

On the formation with WR Reggie Wayne in the slot and Gonzalez on the outside:

"It was our best way to go based on the injuries we had and how they were playing and how the game developed. We'll continue to look at that, but all those guys can play anywhere and the three-wide group really helped us (Sunday)."

On RB Joseph Addai's touchdown that was upheld after it was challenged:

"It was kind of like the two we had last week against Chicago. You really can't overturn them, whatever they call. There's not a real precise shot of the end zone, so it's hard for the guy to definitively say that it's different than what was called on the field. I'm still trying to figure out how Reggie's ball got put outside the 1-yard line. I thought it was either a touchdown or six inches away. How he can look at that replay and say it was a yard and a half away from the goal line is still a little baffling to me, but I think we had a few baffling things (Sunday)."

On the play that Addai scored his touchdown:

"I was ready to sneak again, we were that close. We gave it to Joe and he got it in. The question would have been what to do on 4th down had they overturned that. I think at that point we would have had to go for it. It's hard to say. We might have wasted our two-point play on that one if we would have had to go for it."

On what he saw from QB Peyton Manning when the offense started to click:

"We were getting rid of the ball a little bit faster and dialed up some plays where we could get rid of it. It's just a matter of him playing a little bit more and getting sharper. When you look at it, with the people we had in and the young offensive line and we're down 15-0, they have three Pro-Bowl defensive linemen just teeing off, that was as good of a job of executing and hanging in there and making the plays we needed to win. That was a very, very tough situation and I thought all our guys hung in there. You have to give him a lot of credit for delivering and getting the balls to the right people in that circumstance."

On Gonzalez's lateral to Wayne:

"It wasn't drawn up. There are times where it just happens and it's there. That was a play we made and you have to give him credit, he and Reggie both, for an alert play. It's not something we practice and you certainly don't usually make them at the end of 60-yard plays, but that was a big one for us."

On Peterson:

"He's a really, really good back. He was fun to watch, just the way he runs and the combination of being able to run through tight areas and run through tackles and break tackles and then make people miss in the open field. He's a special back. You have to think long and hard before you put somebody in the league in front of him."

On if he is concerned about the team's rush defense:

"We need to play better. I think the whole thing, run defense, pass protection, run offense, it's not necessarily who's not in there or, ‘If we had this guy we'd be better.' The guys we have can do the job and we have to be a little sharper, we have to play a little more sure of ourselves and then we'll be fine. (Peterson) was 15 (rushes) for 120-something in the first half and then he's 14, with the same runs, for 40-something in the second half. We got sharper, and maybe he got tired I don't know, but we got sharper and pulled the trigger a little faster once we recognized the blocking schemes. We have to be able to do that."

On Jacksonville coming in this week:

"We went up to Minnesota 0-1 and really not wanting to go to 0-2. I thought we played hard and continued to fight. These guys are going to be the same way. It's their second division game on the road. They certainly aren't going to want to go to 0-3. We're going to see everything that they have, and we have to expect that type of game, be ready for it, and we have to play much better than we played in the first two games."

On if he expects Jacksonville to run the ball:

"They're going to do what they do. They're like us. They have some new offensive linemen playing because of injuries. They haven't run the ball nearly as well as they're capable of with those two runners (Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor). When you see their stats and they're averaging 2.9 or 3.0 yards per carry, that's very unusual for them. I think both teams are going to look at, ‘Hey we have new guys in there, but we have to run the ball better.' I'm sure we'll see both of those guys run it quite a bit."

On how the young OL played:

"I thought they did well. With the circumstances, the noise, the situation in the game and having to sit in there and pass protect when those guys are teeing off, the young interior guys did well. Charlie Johnson did well after his first rush. The first play (OT) Tony (Ugoh) was out, (Vikings DE-Jared) Allen came off the corner and came off hard and well, but after that Charlie blocked him pretty well."

On DT Eric Foster:

"He played well. He and (DT) Keyunta (Dawson) both had to hang in there and battle. (DT) La Juan Ramsey got a few plays in and he'll get more and more comfortable and, I think, be able to help us. Eric and Keyunta battled. They hung in there and took on a lot of double teams and did a good job."


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