Dungy: It Was A Good Win

Tony Dungy talked to the media Monday about Sunday night's game. Find out what he thought was "weird" about the game, how he thought the defensive backs handled a tough situation and why Marvin Harrison returned a punt. He also discussed whether political talk has invaded the Colts locker room, the giant window at Lucas Oil Stadium, and many more things in a wide-ranging interview.

"Looking at our game, it was just one of those weird games. I haven't really been involved in many like that. Seven possessions, which is not a lot, a lot of sustained drives and a two-hour-and-40-minute game, so I think the parents of young kids were happy about that. They were able to get to bed on time. It was one of those games that I think both teams altered their game plan based on some injuries and personnel. Both teams were short on defensive backs. They were a little bit short on running backs, and it was just really strange. We did a decent job defensively in the first half, held them to two field goals, but they possessed the ball quite a bit. In the second half, they were even better on third down, and we couldn't get them off the field. So, our offense didn't really get that many chances, but fortunately we capitalized with a couple.

"We had one penalty on them that was really, really fortunate. I think their tight end (David) Thomas was just going hard, trying to block his guy and just happened to get (DE) Robert (Mathis) after the play was over, and that was really the big play in the game. We've been on the other side of that, where we've had some untimely penalties that hurt us in the last couple of weeks, so it was good to get one for us. That gave us a chance to get off the field with the lead and our offense was able to really burn the clock from there on out. It was a good win, just like our whole first half of the season, some good things, some things that we have to work on. Being 4-4 at the halfway point, we're in the hunt. That's probably the best thing to say about it. But, we have to get some consistency and get ourselves a winning streak going in the second half. It's always good to win your home games, to win on national TV and beat a team like New England."

On DB-Tim Jennings' roller-coaster season:

"It's just the life of a cornerback. You're out there, you're going to get thrown at, and you have to make some plays. He made a couple that really helped us, a big third-down stop early, and did some good things."

On if he thought New England would throw deep more:

"We knew they were going to be concerned about the pass rush. Matter of fact, (LB) Roosevelt Colvin told us that when he was in here about their game plan for last year, throwing the ball quick and concerned about the artificial surface and the noise, so we kind of expected that. We don't play a lot of man-to-man coverage to give them shots to take deep, and they did a good job possessing the ball. They had been sacked a lot coming into this game and didn't get sacked at all, so I think they had a good plan."

On the team's CB play vs. New England:

"Under the circumstances, what we wanted to do was not give them big plays, make them possess it and drive it, and we thought we could get off the field better on third down. We had some 3rd-and-mediums and 3rd-and-longs that they converted, and that was disappointing. But, all in all, we kept them off the scoreboard. They had the one touchdown drive and had we stopped that to a field goal, we probably would have felt really good about the evening."

On who wins when the defense gives up a long drive, but forces a field goal:

"Sometimes, it can be really discouraging for your offense just sitting there and nine minutes go off the clock and they haven't had the ball. Certainly, it's much better when that drive ends in a field goal. (New England) had two long drives in the first half, and we were still ahead 7-6. We gave up that touchdown drive at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, and that was tough on us because now they've used up a ton of time and scored seven points."

On DB-Keiwan Ratliff:

"For just coming back on Thursday and finding out on Friday he was going to start, I thought he did well. It was a tough deal out there playing (WR-Randy) Moss quite a bit, but he's a smart guy, he knows what we're doing and, under the circumstances, I thought he did real well."

On if less possessions put more pressure on the offense:

"You just have to do your job. The one thing you know is you're going to get the same amount of chances that they are. So, if you don't get frustrated and you don't feel like you have to do something too fast, that you may not get the ball back for a while, that's when it gets to you. I thought we did a good job of keeping our patience. We had a couple of makeable third downs that we didn't make, and I know our group was frustrated about that, but we took advantage of our shots in the red zone. That's what we thought the game would come down to. We thought we'd get down there a few times and have to take advantage of it."

On why the red-zone offense has been so good:

"We have an experienced quarterback that can read the defenses, and we have a lot of guys who can make plays down there. It's been good for us. In the games we've won, it's what really helped us."

On how concerned he is with the running game:

"We didn't really run that great (Sunday). We had some chances. They're the type of team, you have to take your four- and five-yard runs. You're not going to get a lot of 20-yard runs against them. We had some things that could have been a little bit bigger. We just have to stick with it. They played us well and it was disappointing we didn't run better. We're going to have another tough go this week (at Pittsburgh). We have a group that gives you a lot of different looks and is very physical, but we have to keep working on it and we have to get it going."

On if the team has to stick with the running game:

"You have to keep running it. Our two touchdown drives, we mixed the runs pretty well. They weren't super productive, but we got into 2nd-and-7s and 3rd-and-5s, and we kept them off-balance a little bit. It's different than just throwing every down or being 2nd-and-11."

On if DB-Bob Sanders is free to roam in the Cover 2 defense:

"No, he has responsibilities. He just hits things fast and sees it fast, and that's one of the good things he can do from 10 or 11 yards deep. He can come and make tackles near the line of scrimmage."

On RB-Dominic Rhodes getting more carries:

"We'd like to get them both (Rhodes and RB-Joseph Addai) more carries. That was the thing. We didn't have the ball very much, and Joseph wasn't getting tired out there when he had those nine- and 10-minute rests when they had the ball. We'd like to get both of those guys a lot more carries."

On if Sanders has a bigger impact physically or emotionally:

"It's probably both. He makes a lot of plays for us. The position he plays is expected to make plays. I think the guys feel good when he's out there. They feel like he's going to make some things happen, and that helps everybody relax. And, he's one of the guys that helps us play with energy and it's kind of infectious, his hustle and his effort out there, so it's probably both."

On the OL:

"We played with the same group again. I thought they did a good job in protection. I'm sure they want to run-block things a little bit better, but, all in all, you play two very good defensive fronts and go two weeks with no sacks, that's always a plus."

On if it is a different feeling to win big instead of winning a close game:

"Those games that are close like that are always more fun in the locker room, but what they lead to the next day is you realize some things you could have done a little bit better and look at the ways that maybe you could have lost the game. Sometimes, those are better from a coaching standpoint."

On if the team played with more passion this week:

"I thought we had it last week in Tennessee. We played with a lot of emotion, a lot of energy and we just didn't play well enough and didn't make plays coming down the stretch. I thought for the last three weeks, our energy level has been good."

On the team's pass rush:

"It's hard to say. There were so many draws and screens and quick passing. Obviously, no sacks is not good. We thought we would do better against a unit that had given up a lot, but they had a good plan to keep us away from the sacks. They didn't get many shots to go deep, so it probably balanced off."

On why WR-Marvin Harrison returned a punt:

"We had a deal, we were going to use Marvin on the first one and then we were going to go back to (WR) Pierre (Garcon) after that, but we never had another one, which is not good."

On Sunday's game at Pittsburgh:

"It's going to be a tough game. They give you a lot of stuff out of the 3-4. They bring a lot of different people, linebackers, safeties, corners, and you have to be aware of a lot of things. It's a very physical offense running the ball at you. It'll be a different style of offense. But, again, we're getting into a stretch where we're playing all these AFC teams that are right in the hunt. It's almost like we have to win every week, and we'll need the same type of performance."

On Pittsburgh playing on Monday night:

"It'll be good to be able to do some work on them (Monday) afternoon and then watch and see (Monday) night and see if you can pick up anything. We know from just this past week that Monday night road game and then coming back is tough."

On playing teams now that are in the playoff picture:

"You're looking at tie-breakers and all these AFC games. Even if it doesn't end up being a head-to-head (tiebreaker), it's AFC record, and we've put ourselves in that position where we have to win all of these."

On Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin:

"Mike has done great. He's an exceptional coach in a lot of ways. Being there, I'm just really, really happy for him. There was no question in my mind he was going to do a great job, and he has. He has them playing great football, and I know his players are enjoying playing for him, so that's positive. And, he's doing things the right way. I just couldn't be happier for him.

"I don't know him that well as a head coach, but I know how he is. His enthusiasm and energy and doing things the right way and how he's going to treat the game of football, whether he's the head coach, assistant, or a player. He'll have his guys ready to go and have his guys on fire."

On if he has a policy against politics in the locker room:

"No. I think it's a great venue to discuss things. We certainly want them to. We want them to express their opinions, and it's pretty much no-holds barred. I've always thought the locker room was a place where you share everything. As a family, you know how to share things and you know how to express your opinions and talk to your teammates. So, I've never had anything that was really out of bounds in the locker room."

On this year's election:

"I would urge everybody to get out and vote, because their vote can make a difference, and to vote your passion and make sure you participate. That's one of the great things about this election is the young guys. Maybe our guys from 22 to 28 have not always been the most avid voters and been aware of the difference they can make, and I think this year they are. I would say we'll have a high participation of voters."

On K-Adam Vinatieri's kicking distance:

"Adam's kicking very well, and it definitely helps us. With (New England), the one thing we were worried about was their kickoff return unit. They had been outstanding in getting balls back to the mid-field area. Adam, with the deep kickoffs, really helped us. We had one ball that got out, but for the most part we got them inside the 28-yard line, which was great for us. He's been like that all year. People were asking me (Sunday) night if I was thinking about not going for it on the 52-yarder, but Adam has kicked well, we just haven't attempted that many. He was kicking from 55 that way in the warm-ups, and there was no doubt in my mind he was going to make that. He's kicking very well."

On the New England rivalry capturing the nation's attention:

"I think it has in a lot of ways. You've had some marquee players since I've been here, over the last seven years, and games with a lot riding on it. A lot of them have been like this, down to the last possession. You have two teams that have played competitive games against each other. It's always fun. Those guys are a great challenge because no game is ever going to be the same. They're always going to give you a different look, different packages and you just have to really be sharp to play with them. It's been fun, and probably fun to watch. Maybe that's why the ratings are good."

On the roof being open with the window closed at Lucas Oil Stadium:

"I like the window open myself. I like to look out at that skyline. The roof open, we had thought when the schedule came out that in November there wouldn't even be a debate. But, it was so nice on Friday and Saturday, (Owner and CEO) Jim Irsay said, ‘Hey, what do you think?' To me, when it's nice, we have to have the roof open. It was a fun atmosphere to have it open and be playing outdoors."

On if the league has a rule about the window:

"There's nothing in the rule books about the window, whether you can open it part of the time, when you have the ball or whatever. I know there was a door in Giants Stadium that used to get open periodically, and there was never a rule about that. It blew a lot of wind. It seemed like when you were going a certain direction, the door was open. I'm sure there will be a rule about it next year."

On if the stadium is louder with the window closed:

"I don't think the window and the roof make a whole, whole lot of difference in terms of noise. Maybe we'll get some engineer that will tell us that it does, but I think the biggest factor with the noise is how we're playing. When we play well, it seems to be pretty noisy no matter what."

On being 2-2 in Lucas Oil Stadium:

"We're starting to play better. We can't do anything about those first two games. We just have to try to win the rest of our home games. If we play well, I think we'll have a great shot."


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