Dungy: Putting Finishing Touches On The Week

Tony Dungy talked to the media on Friday as the team prepared to practice again for Sunday's game with Houston. See what Dungy had to say about the injuries at wide receiver and cornerback, his thoughts on Thursday night's game between the Jets and Patriots, how quickly things can change in the AFC playoff picture, if any of the rookies are hitting a "wall," and more!

"We're ready to put the finishing touches on the week. I thought we were better (Thursday), a little bit slow on Wednesday, but we're making progress. We should get a few more of our guys back to practice (Friday) and see if we can have a good day."

On if WRs-Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez and DBs-Antoine Bethea and Keiwan Ratliff will play Sunday vs. Houston:

"I would think they would, yes."

On DE-Robert Mathis:

"Robert, I think, is going to be good. I'm not sure if he's going to practice (Friday) or not, but meeting with the doctors (Thursday) night, they said they thought he would be able to play."

On if it is as big of a deal for veterans to miss practice as opposed to younger players:

"It's a little easier. It's tougher on offense because you miss that timing. But, it is much easier to do than with rookies or younger players."

On if this is the point in the season where teams have weeks that starters don't practice because of injury:

"Yes, it is. Coming off two very physical games, it's just one of those things that happens. You have to be able to practice well with no pads. You have to be able to learn in a lot of different ways and see it and visualize and go through it without practicing. Fortunately, we have a lot of guys who can do that."

On if he watched Thursday night's game between the New York Jets and New England Patriots:

"I saw the second half. It was very, very good offensive football other than maybe a couple of turnovers. But, you saw some teams move the ball against really good defenses."

On New England QB-Matt Cassel:

"He played well. You had guys on the other side that played well. I thought New York, to come back after that disappointment, take the ball and move it the way they did in the overtime, that was pretty impressive. It was a good game and a good game to watch."

On if being one win away from sixth place in the AFC is an example of how quickly things happen in the NFL:

"That is. I told the team that. If you look two weeks ago, Buffalo is on top of the (East) division, riding high and everybody's trying to chase them. Then, it becomes New England in the driver's seat. Now, it's the Jets in the driver's seat. The thing for us is we have to keep winning these AFC games. We have a tiebreaker advantage on Baltimore, we have one on Pittsburgh and we have one on New England. That can be huge because you never know who it is that you're going to be fighting it out with."

On keeping the team on an even keel:

"I think you have to just understand how fast it can change. You can't take things for granted. You can't say, ‘We had a tough game in Pittsburgh. That was the one we had circled. Now we're coming home and this should be easier.' They're all tough. They all mean one game. You have to enjoy the wins, but you have to get ready for the next week and know that the next week is a little bit tougher, no matter who it is."

On first-year players preparing for a team the second time:

"It's a different experience for the new guys. Normally in college you play a team once and that's it, but to play a team and be able to go back and say, ‘This is what they did against us, these are adjustments they might possibly make, here are things that we have to do better.' Getting into that chess match is different. So, for young guys, we have to really make the point that you can't worry about last game and what happened. They're going to have a lot more incentive, they're going to make some adjustments and we have to play better."

On if any of the players are hitting a "rookie wall":

"I don't think so. They've had great effort and concentration, but this is the tough part of the year. They've been going since July, going a lot longer than they did in college, and the games are getting bigger. They have to understand that. Physically, it does take a toll but so far, so good."


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