Dungy: We Have To Defend Home Turf

Tony Dungy spoke with the media on Wednesday as the team began its preparation for the Houston Texans. See what Dungy had to say about the Texans, the pressures of being a head coach, injury updates on Kelvin Hayden, Ryan Lilja, Reggie Wayne and more!

"Getting ready for Houston, we had a chance to look at the first game. If we were in any stages of complacency, I think our players looking at that game should take that out of us. We got off to a great start, got up 10-0, and then they put up 27 unanswered points. I think we saw their whole arsenal, the front seven people they have on defense, (WR) Andre Johnson and some good backs. We have to continue to work and see if we can play better than we have the last couple of weeks and defend our home turf. It's obviously a big game for us being back at home and trying to get on a three-game winning streak for the first time. I think we'll have good work and good concentration (Wednesday), and that's what we'll need."

On what happened in the last four minutes at Houston in the first game:

"It's one of those things, a perfect storm. We got into the no-huddle offense down 17 points, so that picked up the tempo for us a little bit. We hit a fourth-down pass to (TE) Tom Santi that they really had covered well. We don't get the onside kick, so you're feeling like, ‘It's really going to be desperate now,' and we get a fumble recovery for a quick touchdown. To get those 14 points real fast like that is just one of those things that doesn't normally happen. The thing you have to credit our guys with is they continued to play. They didn't say, ‘We didn't get the onside kick, so the game's over.' Once we got back in it, they made some plays down the stretch."

On how important that win was in the big picture:

"They're all important. Obviously, when you get one when you're down 17 or when you're down 15 at Minnesota, those aren't ones you expect to get necessarily. But, if you work hard and continue to play, I think that's the moral of the story."

On being a coach on the "hot seat":

"You talk to your owners, you talk to your GM, you discuss things that are going to help you win and that's all you can look at. (Houston Head Coach) Gary Kubiak's a good coach. They've made tremendous strides. They have one of the top offenses in the league, they have a real talented defense and they're going to win a ton of games. All you can do is just coach through and try to work your players to be the best that they can be. That's really all you can do."

On if coaching is a high-stress job:

"It's not, really, if you just focus on the things that you can control and the things that make a difference. What's going to happen at the end of the year really doesn't make any difference for the next seven weeks, and that's what you have to focus on, your players and how you can help them. You never know what's going to happen, and most of the time it works out for the best for you anyway."

On being a head coach:

"There are some good things that go with this territory, things that we enjoy, and there are some tough things. Cutting players and trading players and going home after losses, those are tough things. But, there's also a lot of good that goes with it, a lot of fun. A lot of people would trade jobs with me, I'm sure."

On what it will take to get the running game back on track:

"It's probably like the questions people ask about our run defense, ‘What do you have to do? Do you need new players? Are people catching up with you?' That's not the case. We have to run our plays and block a little bit better, run a little bit better, and just do what we do a little bit sharper and we should be fine. But, there's no magic formula or changes that we can make that instantly it's going to be better. We have some little things that we're a little bit off in. We're a little bit off in our passing game. As with everything, you just have to look to improve during the course of the year in practice and work at it. We'll be in pads (Wednesday). We'll get a chance to work some things, offensively and defensively, and we have to improve."

On DB-Kelvin Hayden:

"Kelvin was actually in the meetings. I think he's going to do some practicing. I doubt whether he would play, but if, by the end of the week, he's had enough work and he feels good, we'll consider it. My sense is it's probably going to be next week."

On DB-Marlin Jackson:

"That's a tough deal. You don't expect to get hurt in practice. You don't expect to get hurt in a non-contact drill, but he's handling it well. It's one of the little adversities that the Lord throws your way, and you have to work through it. When I spoke to him, he seemed like he was doing well mentally."

On OG-Ryan Lilja:

"Ryan is going to practice and do some things, and we'll see how he gets through it."

On WR-Reggie Wayne:

"We're probably going to hold him out of a lot of stuff early in the week. Hopefully by Friday we can get him going. I think he'll be able to play and do fine, but he's gotten rolled up on both legs a couple of times in the last three weeks, and it's going to be tough practicing for him. But, I think game day, he'll be there."

On the team's success with undrafted free agents:

"I think that speaks to a couple of things, number one our personnel people and their ability to find players. You always have a lot of players that you'd like to draft and you only have seven picks, so you can't draft everyone. We have done a good job of identifying guys who fit what we do. Then, our coaches have done a good job of coaching them and not saying, ‘If this guy's not a draft choice, he can't help us.' It starts in April when they get here and they work with those guys. Putting good players together with good coaches, you get some productivity. We've been able to do that and find some guys that really help us."

On if he is surprised at how quickly DB-Melvin Bullitt and DT-Eric Foster have progressed:

"Not really. Those guys were good college players. They did things in their college system very similar to what we do. We saw them playing in a style of play that is similar to ours, so we felt that they could come in and help us. I guess you're always a little surprised when guys end up starting and playing all the time, but we've had that with a lot of guys, (LB) Gary (Brackett) and (RB) Dominic (Rhodes) and (C) Jeff Saturday. We've had a lot of guys, so I can't say I'm ever surprised."

On the reason for playing multiple safeties:

"It's really the most experienced guys we have, and guys like Melvin (Bullitt) and Antoine (Bethea) do a lot in the coverage aspect of things. Even when they're playing in our base defense, they have to cover wide receivers at times. It's really just a matter of our best and most experienced guys at this point. Nick Graham's coming on. He's getting better every week. Dante Hughes is getting healthy again. He dressed last week, so hopefully we'll be able to use him at some point, too. It's really just the healthiest, best guys we've had."

On his family being in Tampa:

"It hasn't been bad. It's probably not ideal, but so far, so good. I probably wouldn't recommend it. We've done it a couple of times. This is our second stint, and it hasn't been all that bad, but it's not ideal."

On the difference in playing a division team the second time in a season:

"It's the adjustments that get made. You go into that first game, you have an idea of how they're going to play you and what you want to do. Then, you look at that game and say, ‘OK, they did play us like this. These things worked, these things didn't. What do we anticipate them adjusting to? What are they going to take away?' It becomes a little bit more of a chess match that second time around. Then, you have the natural human nature. You win and you kind of relax a little bit because you think you've beaten those guys. They have lost the game and they feel like they should have won, and they get ramped up a little bit. You have to fight that, ‘Hey, we beat them the first time, so we'll win this one.' It's hard to beat a team twice in a year, it really is."

On Houston starting QB-Sage Rosenfels in the first game:

"That was a little different, but I'm sure it wasn't easy on them for (QB-Matt) Schaub to practice all week and get all the reps and then the backup quarterback having to go in, so I can't say we had an advantage that way."

On comparing Houston RB-Steve Slaton and Tennessee RB-Chris Johnson):

"They're similar. They are guys who have acceleration and can get outside and make big plays. The running game that they use is very similar. I think it probably stems from that Denver style of blocking and running. They're both explosive guys. I think they both help their team be a more explosive running team, but they're very similar guys."


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