Colts Getting Back To Work

After getting in two days of practice and then allowing his team to have a three-day weekend in order to rest up, coach Tony Dungy is ready to hit the ground running this week. Indianapolis will come off its bye week and begin preparations for Sunday's road game with Houston. The Colts will take an uncharacteristic 1-2 record into the matchup against their AFC South rival.

In addition to getting a chance to watch his son, Eric, make his first start at safety for a Tampa area high school, Dungy was able to catch up on the rest of the action in the NFL.

"What you see is the teams that are really are playing sharp and not beating themselves and minimizing their mistakes, not turning the ball over. That's who's winning," Dungy said. "I watched Tennessee. They've been as impressive as anybody I've seen all year. They're not turning the ball over. They're playing really hard on defense, making it tough on the other teams to score. Consequently, they're 4-0. So that's what we want to gear into and see if we can get back to playing that way."


Dungy says the Colts need to play better before worrying about the AFC South race
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Indianapolis, which has won five consecutive division crowns, is not used to looking up in the standings at other teams. But that's the situation that the Colts find themselves in right now.

"I'm not worried (about getting off to a 1-2 start and falling behind in the AFC South race) so much as I am about us," Dungy said. "We certainly don't want to go to 1-3. We don't want to have two division losses back-to-back and get behind the eight-ball that way. We've just got to start playing better.

"If we get ourselves playing, you can't control how anybody else is. As I said, Tennessee's playing great right now. But our concern is more of getting ourselves playing great. Then we'll be in good shape. We've got to start playing better and then (moving up the standings) will take care of itself, I think."

Quotes to Note:

"I knew when we did the contract that he's such a rare talent that you have to live a little bit with the possible injuries that come up. Bob is so combustible, so physical. He's so dynamic and such a rare individual. It's something you knew (was possible), but you know he might get on a lucky streak and go a year or two without having anything." — Colts team owner Jim Irsay on not regretting signing injured S Bob Sanders to a five-year, $37.5 million contract last December. Sanders' deal included more than $20 million in guarantees.

"I think it's a combination of a couple of things. Number one, the backs and receivers are probably better. You have faster, more athletic guys. You have bigger guys that are on offense, and that comes into play. And then, I think because of rule changes, because of the squad size, because of the salary cap, that you do less hitting and less physical preparation than in the past. So, I think tackling may be not as precise as it's been, but there are more good players on offense causing those misses.

"When I played in Pittsburgh, we had a lot more hitting than we have now. In San Francisco, it wasn't as different and maybe more similar to what we do now. Our practice schedule is kind of set up the San Francisco way off Bill Walsh and Dennis Green's schedule. And we have more no-pads days. Friday, when I played, was pretty much a live day that you went through everything full speed. We had pads on, and Friday was a full hitting day. We haven't generally done that here on Friday, and that's part of it." — Coach Tony Dungy, discussing the state of tackling in the NFL.

Player Notes:

— S Bob Sanders, who is sidelined with a high right ankle sprain, recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. There has been no official announcement on which knee was affected. "The feeling was the high ankle sprain would take longer (to recover from) than the scope," team owner Jim Irsay said. "I think they just cleaned out a few things (in the knee)."


The Colts are hopeful they can get top rookie Mike Pollak back on the field soon
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— Rookie OG Mike Pollak (knee) saw some work in practice late last week and could see more as the team prepares for Sunday's road game at Houston. Pollak, the Colts' top draft pick last spring, has been sidelined since suffering an injury in practice prior to the start of the regular season.

— OT Tony Ugoh (groin) returned to practice last Thursday after he was hurt in the Colts' win over Minnesota on Sept. 14. He did not play against Jacksonville a week later. Ugoh may be available to play this week at Houston.

— TE Jacob Tamme (ankle) might be able to play Sunday at Houston. Tamme, who saw some light work in practice late last week, has been recovering from a sprained ankle that continued to give him problems late in training camp and through the opening game with Chicago. He has not played since the season opener on Sept. 7.

— OG Daniel Federkeil (ribs) might return to practice later this week. Federkeil was hurt against Jacksonville two weeks ago. He did not take part in any workouts during the Colts' bye week. An update on his availability for the Texans game is not expected until Wednesday or Thursday.


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