Dungy: Trying To Do Things Right

Tony Dungy took a break from preparing his team to face the Pittsburgh Steelers to talk to the media Thursday. See what the coach had to say about the revolving door at cornerback, the Colts' history of futility in Pittsburgh, preparing to face Hines Ward, and more!

On the team cutting down on penalties:

"It's concentration and it's being technically sound, to a certain extent, and trying to do things right. It was a big part of us winning the game. There weren't many penalties in that game against New England. The one that hurt was obviously the one they got for a late hit. It was really an effort penalty. You couldn't really fault (TE-David) Thomas at all. It was just one of those things that happened, but if you can avoid free yardage and giving a team extra downs, it certainly helps."

On the starting DBs for Sunday at Pittsburgh:

"We're still working it out, but I would think it may be the same as it was last week."

On DB-Dante Hughes:

"He's coming along and seems to be doing better in practice. If he's up, we'll certainly get him in there. He very well could be, but we'll see how he does."

On DB-Keiwan Ratliff:

"It is a little hard to believe. That's how close it is. You go from being off the team to starting and playing the whole game in a national-TV game. That's just the state of the NFL, I guess."

On defending NFL WRs:

"They are all good, that's one thing about it. It really doesn't matter who you play. You have to count on your techniques, count on your pass rush, count on the guys that are helping you depending on what the coverage is, and smart guys like Keiwan can do that."

On cutting and re-signing Ratliff:

"It's been a strange year that way. I'm not one that really likes to make changes, but we just have had some injuries. He's been in situations where we've had to solidify another position group because of injuries we've had, and he's just been the victim of tough luck. He continues to do well. He works hard and does all you can ask."

On Special Teams pre-game workouts:

"I watch also (along with Special Teams Coach Russ Purnell), and that's always my question right before the game, ‘Which way do we want to kickoff if we have to kick?' ‘What distance is good either way (for field goals)?' And (K) Adam (Vinatieri) will tell me, ‘I'd rather kick a certain way,' or ‘It doesn't make any difference,' or ‘We're good from 53 (yards) this way and we're good from 47 that way.' You have a pretty good feel, and we just have to gauge it if the wind would change or if the weather conditions change."

On WR-Pierre Garcon returning kicks:

"Pierre's learning. He's learning about the decision making. He's an excellent runner, but part of what you have to do as a returner is decision making, when to handle the ball, when to fair catch, when to take a touchback, when you can try to bounce it outside, all of those different things that you have to make split-second decisions. Part of that is just doing it more and more. He's doing well."

On the decision of which direction to return kicks:

"It's probably the way it's designed and who we've played against. Different coverage units are different. Some people that play bigger people are going to try to pound you with their coverage unit, and you have a chance to outrun some people. Other people who have faster guys and do a better job of containing, you have to stay behind the wedge, those kinds of things. Some people are more susceptible to sideline returns, so every week is different. You can't just get back there and run. You have to know your blockers and also the coverage unit that you're playing against, and part of that is experience."

On if depth is an issue for kickoffs:

"It is. We do a little bit more, especially when you're kicking with the wind if you feel like you can get it in the end zone, ‘Hey, let's push them deep and see if they'll run it out. Directionally, do we want to pin them? Are they a sideline return team or a straight ahead team?' That determines whether we are kicking down the middle or angling right or left. Every philosophy is probably a little bit different."

On if a lot of planning goes into the kicking game:

"Oh, yes. Last week was a great challenge (vs. New England). (CB) Ellis Hobbs was near the league leaders in kickoff returns, and (WR-Wes) Welker and (RB-Kevin) Faulk were up at the top in punt returns. They had different returns based on how they aligned. ‘Do you have the wind where you can pound it seven yards deep in the end zone and see what happens? If you're kicking off into the wind, how do you want to kick? Do you want it directional?' There's a lot of planning that goes into it."

On WR-Anthony Gonzalez:

"He's doing better. He really did well for his first year. Had he not been injured and missed that amount of time, I think he was starting to come on. He played great in the San Diego (playoff) game last year, and he picked up where he left off. He's learned a lot about what we do, which makes it easier. Now, you can spend a lot of time studying the other team, the types of coverages you're going to get and who's playing against you. I think that's where he's made a great deal of progress, just understanding the little adjustments that you have to make in a play on the field based on the coverages you are getting and the circumstances of the game."

On Gonzalez's 4th-quarter, 24-yard catch on 3rd down vs. New England:

"It got us out of the hole and got some momentum. He's made a lot of big catches. The fact that he's in on a lot of third downs, that's going to lead to those big, momentum-changing catches, whether it's a third-down touchdown catch or, like that one, a third-down catch that keeps the drive going."

On if QB-Peyton Manning audibled to the two touchdown passes to Gonzalez:

"I know he checked to the first one. The second one, I think we had called."

On Gonzalez going back and forth from the slot to out wide:

"It is game to game and the matchups you think you're going to get and certain patterns you want to run with certain guys, who's on who, that type of thing. Again, a lot goes into it."

On if an opponent's blocking scheme can change DL plays:

"We get blocked differently than most other teams. Our rush was a little disappointing against New England, in that they had given up a lot of pressure and we felt like we could get to them. But, they came in with an idea of throwing the ball quick. I don't know that they even threw a ball to (WR) Randy Moss in the first half of the game. We were feeling like there were going to be some balls up the field, and we'll have a chance to rush, but (they ran) a lot of draws, a lot of quick passing, runs on third down and that type of thing. Sometimes, it's not all numbers and sometimes you're disappointed with the production, but you're actually doing a pretty effective job."

On what to do when teams use quick passes:

"A little bit more in terms of inside rushes and trying to get up in the quarterback's face, but a lot of times you just have to say, ‘The ball's getting out quick, and we have to do a good job in coverage.'"

On if the DL gets upset when they don't get sacks:

"They like to get the sacks. Sometimes you're going to get them and sometimes you aren't. We try to keep track of effective rushes, how many opportunities you get, what you do with your one on ones, if you're making the quarterback deliver the ball before he should. That's what you really look at."

On Pittsburgh WR-Hines Ward:

"He's a tough guy. I remember when he came out of school (at the University of Georgia) and I was in Tampa. Our scouts really liked him, and we didn't pass him on the physical. We thought he would never hold up. It's just one of those things. I think a lot of people were in that same boat. He'd had some injuries, but he's been a very productive guy. We had him in the Pro Bowl when we were over there in '03. He's very, very much a pleasure to coach, and probably a guy that everybody would want on their team, a guy who's productive, who blocks inside and outside and does all the things that help you win games. They used him when (former Pittsburgh Offensive Coordinator Mike) Malarkey was there in that slash-type role, in at quarterback and throwing reverse passes, so he can do a lot to help you win."

On Ward being a good blocker:

"He was perfect for Pittsburgh's attack and the way they have been over the years since he's been there. You're not going to catch a lot of balls there. It's not going to be the type of offense where you catch 110 passes, but getting those running backs out on the perimeter, making blocks to help you win games. He was a perfect fit for them."

On if DBs have to know where Ward is on run blocks:

"You do. (New England WR-Wes) Welker was like that last week. He was an excellent blocker, too. You know, as a defensive back, there are some receivers that aren't going to block you, and there are some that will. (Ward) is in that category, so you know you're going to get blocked on certain plays, and you have to be ready for it."

On if he played against the Colts in Pittsburgh:

"I did, as a matter of fact. I played against them one time, in the snow game in Pittsburgh in '78. Matter of fact, we were resting a lot of our regulars and I got to play quite a bit, so I do remember that one in particular."

On if he has talked to the team about the Colts not having a win in Pittsburgh since 1968:

"No. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know that. It's not something I'm concerned about unless (former Pittsburgh DT) Joe Greene and those guys are playing. Then, it would be something we would talk about. But, none of those guys were there. It's really like every week. You have to go in and outplay the team you are playing."

On if he has any information on kicking at Heinz Field:

"It's different. We were there one time (in 2002), and it was kind of new with people saying, ‘They don't make field goals at this end.' We'll have to look at it in warmups, but, no, I'm not that familiar with the stadium."


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