Dungy: We Have To Break Out Of Slump

Tony Dungy talked to the media Wednesday as the Colts continued their preparations to take on New England Patriots Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. See what Dungy had to say about the team's "slump," the lack of size on defense, coaching styles and the World Series. Dungy also had good news about injured starters Joseph Addai and Bob Sanders. See what he had to say inside!

"It seems like we're back again getting ready to head into November playing the Patriots. It seems like that's kind of a tradition as we head to the first week in November. They're definitely a tough opponent to play, maybe a little bit different without (QB) Tom Brady, but are doing a lot of things offensively, giving you a lot of different packages, still the same thing defensively. They're playing great special teams. They have three returners that have really run well, so we're going to have our hands full. It's obviously a big game."

On the offense being close to making big plays:

"I've been watching (Philadelphia 1B) Ryan Howard in the World Series, and he was struggling with those curveballs for a while, coming up with runners in scoring position and just a little bit off. Then, all of a sudden, he got hot. Hopefully, we can do the same thing. I think we still have that type of talent and can maybe take a cue from him."

On if DB-Bob Sanders will play this week:

"I think Bob, (DB) Kelvin Hayden and (RB) Joseph Addai will all practice, and if everything goes smoothly, they should play."

On if RB-Dominic Rhodes still needs to get carries even when Addai returns:

"Absolutely. I wouldn't see Joseph playing the whole game and Dom's done a good job. We have to be smart how we use all three of those guys in their first game back."

On the way Rhodes played with Addai out:

"He's always done it for us. Anytime he's played and had a chance to carry the load, he's done a good job. So, it wasn't really a surprise."

On if QB-Peyton Manning and the offense are in a slump:

"I'd say you'd have to say it's a slump, based on his numbers and his productivity. He's generally been seven-plus yards per attempt and a high number of touchdown passes. Usually, we score 28 to 30 points. We've generally scored more touchdowns than we've had punts. We haven't done that, so you either have to say skills are deteriorating or we're in a slump, and I think offensively we are. We're just a little bit off. I don't see our skills deteriorating, so I guess, for lack of a better word, that's what I'd have to call it.

"I think our whole team is in a slump right now. It's a team game. Everybody is in it. We have to break out of it. Usually, it's just fundamentals and doing things a little bit sharper. I wouldn't put it on one person at all. I'm in a slump. On fourth down, if you don't go for it, it's bad. If you go for it and don't make it, it's bad. We went for it in Houston (Oct. 5) and made it, but that was a long time ago."

On if quick passes make sacks impossible:

"There are ways you can avoid getting sacked. People have thrown the ball quick against us a lot since I've been here. Every place I've been that's been something that happens. Pass rush isn't necessarily about sack numbers, but it's effective rushing, making people throw fast. If we're tackling well in the secondary and limiting gains, that's effective."

On if the pass rush has been effective:

"The pass rush has been there pretty good, at times. The pass rush, actually, was pretty good the other night. There were a lot of fast throws, a lot of pressure, and a lot of hands in his face. Yes, we haven't had a lot of opportunities, but overall, it hasn't been bad."

On the defense against quick passes:

"No. You have to tighten it up. We have responses to quick drops and quick throws. When we're tackling well, we're usually in pretty good shape. What happened to us the other night was when we did get them in the 3rd-and-8s, the 3rd-and-9s, we didn't come through. We didn't get them off the field. We did in the first half. We didn't in the second half. The first half was two field goals and pretty effective defense. In the second half, we got in those situations, and we got a penalty on the very first drive. That led to a touchdown. Then, they got some big completions on 3rd-and-8 and 3rd-and-9. That's usually when we shine."

On if it makes sense to get WR-Anthony Gonzalez on the field more instead of playing two TEs:

"It depends on who you're playing and what packages they have and that kind of thing. But, Anthony's a good player. He's made big plays for us, and we're definitely looking at ways to get him in."

On if there is any advantage to having losses early:

"I'll say it is now since that's the situation we're in. We kind of liked it the other way where we were floating along and cruising. I've been in both situations and this, believe it or not, is more the reality of the NFL. It's not common place to have those kinds of starts that we had. We certainly appreciated them and we didn't take them for granted when we were going through them. I've been with a lot of teams that hit the ground running this way and improved in November and December and played great, so that's what we're looking to do."

On if the team needs to play angry:

"Everybody's different and everybody gets motivation from different places. I always thought, when I played, when we weren't playing well or when I wasn't playing well, I needed to play sharper and play better. I didn't have to get mad to do that, but if it helps, I'm all for it."

On defensive penalties:

"It's some little, fundamental things. The first one on (DB) Marlin (Jackson), I don't know that it's anybody's fault. It probably is a penalty, and when you're not playing well, they seem to call those penalties. The second one, I think (DB) Melvin (Bullitt) was looking at something other than what he was supposed to be looking at, gets in bad position and doesn't recover well. We've had a lot of those. We've had penalties that we shouldn't get. We've gone through whole years without getting pass-interference penalties or illegal-contact penalties. We just seem to be not on top of our techniques real well right now."

On if he attaches a point value to a sack:

"No, not really. We just look at good, effective pass rush. You always want to get the sacks, but there are some quarterbacks that are tough to sack and you aren't going to get them. But, if you can pressure people, make them throw, forced interceptions are sometimes better than sacks, when you get a quarterback that has to move around and throw off balance and he throws an interception. So, I've never really looked at it that way."

On the last time the Colts went a whole season without getting a pass-interference penalty:

"We've done it a couple of times. I'd have to look back, but in our defense, you shouldn't get pass-interference and illegal-contact penalties. We just shouldn't, so it's a little bit baffling to me."

On complaints about the small defense:

"I'm kind of used to it by now. I guess I first started hearing that in about '92 or '93 when I was at Minnesota. We tell the guys, ‘When you're playing well, everybody's going to say you have a lot of speed, you play with energy, you play fast, and when we don't play well, we're going to be too small because that's how everybody views it.' The difference between whatever Tennessee got the other night with a really good running game, they got (88) yards, and the (236) that Jacksonville got, there's really not that much difference and no more poundage, it's just playing better."

On some of the things the team can "shore up":

"Just what we were talking about on the penalties, looking at what you're supposed to look at, responding properly to your key, going fast to where your key tells you to go and then playing with a lot of energy. I thought we practiced well all week. We understood what was going to happen, how they were going to try to come and run at us and we played fast Monday night and really did a good job of taking what they wanted to do away. They adjusted and threw the ball and beat us throwing, but I thought we played sharp in the running game."

On if he has addressed the desperate situation with the team:

"It's not a desperate situation, it's the fact that we have to string some wins together. I showed the team where we are, right in the hunt of the AFC. There are probably 12 or 13 teams right now that are fighting for the playoffs. There are teams that are 3-4 like us, but they've won their last three games. There are teams that are 4-3 and maybe don't feel as good as we do. It's a whole gamut of things, but what it comes down to is you get to November and you have to really be playing well and get on a streak and string some wins together. That's the same every year, whether you're on top of the division or in the middle of the pack as we are."

On his reaction to San Francisco coach Mike Singletary sending TE-Vernon Davis to the locker room during the 4th quarter of Sunday's game:

"I guess knowing Mike, I'm not surprised at it. He'll probably do a better job at not making those things as public in the future, but I would be surprised if he changes. I think his players are going to get to know the Mike Singletary that we all know and love. I think that's just part of his make-up. I think what he's learned from the situation is maybe you try not to make those situations all that public."

On if that is just a matter of coaching style:

"It is. You have to be yourself. That's who they hired as the coach, Mike Singletary, and that's how Mike's going to be. His coach was that way, and it was pretty effective for him. Mike is the same type of person, but he's going to be fine and I think their team is going to be fine."

On New England QB-Matt Cassel:

"New England does a great job of utilizing the strengths of everybody they have and minimizing their weaknesses. He has different strengths than (QB) Tom Brady, and they're playing to that and doing it. They're moving the ball in a different way, and doing some different things. But, he's doing well and I think the more he plays the more chemistry he's developing with his receivers, with (Randy) Moss and (Wes) Welker. He's going to get it going. He throws a nice ball. You can see the progress. You can see him getting better week in and week out."


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