Dungy: Getting A Little Sharper

Head coach Tony Dungy talked to the media Monday about Sunday's game against Houston, the fact that the offense is starting to click, this week's game at San Diego and the difficulties the Chargers have given the Colts lately, injury updates, and more!

"It was a big win for us (Sunday vs. Houston), and one we definitely needed, to get that home win and another division win. I thought our offense really clicked, maybe for the first time all year, on all cylinders. We got our running game going, and that got us some looks at one-on-one coverage on the outside. I thought we had some clutch drives answering some of their scores. On special teams, we kicked pretty well. (K) Adam (Vinatieri), obviously, making the field goals was big. It would have been really nice if we didn't have to repunt the one punt (because of an illegal substitution penalty). That was really my fault. It's a situation we look at all the time when we have guys on our short-yardage offense and then we have to kick a field goal. It's not a complicated rule, but one you just have to be on top of that's never come up on our punts before. But, it was the right call and one that we have to avoid. So, we had to repunt and that really cost us a lot of field position there, but other than that, our special teams (play) was good.

"Defensively, we weren't as sharp as we needed to be. It was really the big plays, one big pass and two long runs, that really put a damper on the day and were plays that we should be able to handle. But, Houston gives you a lot of things. They have a lot of weaponry, and we weren't as tight as we needed to be. But, when the other two phases operate well, you can still win the game and that's what happened."

On what DT-Darrell Reid would have needed to do on 4th down after checking in as an eligible receiver on 3rd down to avoid a substitution penalty:

"He either needs to stay at an eligible position on the end of the line or in the backfield or you have to come out. You can't go from eligible to ineligible, and that's a quirk in the rules. It's always been that way, and again, it's just not something that we see very much going to our punt team. We practice it and work on it with our field goal team. It just doesn't come up all that much, and it's one that we just blew."

On if he was encouraged by RB-Chad Simpson's KOR:

"We're not discouraged with (WR) Pierre (Garcon), either. We just had some returns that we thought Chad might run a little bit better. He hits it very, very hard. That's one thing that he does, like (RB) Dominic (Rhodes), a lot of energy and a quick burst, and he did a good job for us."

On choosing a kick returner:

"Everything's a little different, whether you're going to run wedge returns or whether you're going to try to run bounce returns. The coverage unit dictates a little bit how you're going to try to block it and what guys do best, but to be a good kickoff returner you do have to have that acceleration, and both of those guys have it."

On Simpson:

"Chad's going to be a good runner for us. He hasn't gotten a lot of opportunities, but on the look squads he does a very good job, gives us a great picture and he does have that burst that you're looking for."

On how unusual it is to not have any turnovers in three straight games:

"Hopefully not too unusual. That's our goal, and that's what we have to keep doing. Obviously, you can look at a lot of factors, but three wins in the three games with no turnovers, there's a big correlation. If we protect the ball and hang on to it, we have a good enough offense that we can score some points. Very few penalties on offense, very few turnovers and no sacks – we've had a lot of that – are the things that you needed to win the last three weeks."

On if QB-Peyton Manning is clicking now:

"I think we're coming. We got our lineup solidified and our offensive line solidified. He's gotten a lot more work with the receivers. Last week was a little bit off. We had all those guys who sat out practice on Wednesday, and I think it kind of showed. We had some drops and some balls that were just a little bit off early in the game, but as it wore on, we got sharper and sharper. I think it's just been a matter of our offensive unit working together more. It has been sharp against some pretty good defenses in the last month."

On Manning's season:

"It's gotten a little sharper. As we mentioned, we've turned the ball over less and less, but I think that's true for everybody. We're getting rid of the ball quick, cutting down on our sacks, we've cut down a lot on the long-yardage situations we've been in, and we've avoided the penalties, so I think our whole offense has kind of sharpened up as the year has gone by."

On WR-Marvin Harrison:

"It's funny. Every week there seems to be a new crisis, with somebody calling about this person or that person. It was (DE) Dwight (Freeney) a couple of weeks ago, and then it was Marvin. I'm just not seeing that in practice. I guess every day's a new experience. Marvin's been fine. He's been open a lot and had a little bit of bad luck. Some balls that normally, and as I've said we've taken for granted here probably for 10 years that those are touchdown balls, and we've just been a little bit off. He's doing well, and I think he'll continue to put up some numbers for us."

On if Sanders and DB-Kelvin Hayden will play this week:

"We hope so, yes. Kelvin, I think, is going to be close. He did some running last week. We'll get him into practice this week and see if he can make it. Bob, we anticipated him playing right up until Saturday, so it's harder to say with him, but Kelvin's making steady progress. We're hoping that by the end of the week, he'll be in the lineup."

On WR-Reggie Wayne's ankle injury:

"Reggie's been getting rolled up. He did it two games ago (vs. New England), I think, and it's just one of those things that is going to be like a basketball player. I think that he's going to have it for a while as long as he keeps playing. He didn't practice very much the last two weeks and is still playing well, so that's a good sign."

On losing three straight to San Diego:

"They've all been kind of the same script. They've been close games. (San Diego) has been ahead of us for the most part, except the playoff game (last year) we were ahead and couldn't hold the lead. But, it really comes down to making those plays in the fourth quarter when the game's on the line. So, I don't know that we're going to do anything different but hopefully make some of those plays that you have to make. They're a good football team. They have a lot of talented guys. That New England game that was on TV (Oct. 12 in San Diego), that was one of the most impressive games I've seen played this year. That's what they're capable of, so that's what we have to go out expecting to get, that type of game, from them. We're going to have to play well to win, but in terms of style or is there anything we need to do differently? I don't think so. I think it's just, ‘Make some of those critical plays.'"

On San Diego forcing the Colts into mistakes:

"That's what they have done with us. We've turned the ball over. I know last year (in the playoffs) we had one at the two-yard line, and we turned it over right before the half and didn't get a field goal when we had a chance. We went for it on fourth down inside their 10. We had six turnovers in the game out there (last year). It's just one of those where we have to do what we've done the last three weeks, do our job and take care of the ball. Nothing spectacular, but execute well and see if we can hold their running game down."

On if he thinks RB-LaDainian Tomlinson when San Diego is mentioned:

"You have to. He's the guy who does so much, can do so many things, and they get him the ball running and throwing. He's been the feature part of their offense. Now, they have some other great players. I think (WR) Chris Chambers is coming back playing now, he'd been out for a little while, obviously (TE-Antonio) Gates and (WR-Vincent) Jackson. They have a lot of talented guys, but I think LT is the guy who makes them go on offense. You have to think about him."

On if the recent success rate on 3rd down is a sign that the offense is in sync:

"(Manning) is hitting well, and we did pick up a couple of long-yardage 3rd-and-10s (vs. Houston), but for the most part, we've been able to avoid the first-down sacks, we've been able to avoid the penalties and we've been in some 3rd-and-4s, 3rd-and-5s, which you can convert. Early in the year, we were kind of shooting ourselves in the foot. You get in a lot of 3rd-and-longs, and those are harder to pick up. I think the third down reflects us playing better on first and second down, as well."

On if the offense feels more normal:

"(Sunday vs. Houston) was what we're used to, the ‘They have two deep safeties, we're running the ball and we're making five, six yards. Here comes the safety now,' and we audible into a pass and we have one-on-one-coverage and we're hitting it and moving the ball and converting the third downs. That is what we're used to seeing."

On the reason for the team's offensive success:

"It's everything. I don't know how much of it is the practice time that (Manning) missed, but it's not all, ‘Hey, this throw was off.' It's a lot of things. We have not had the penalties that we had early on that were putting us in the hole. I think it's everyone playing a little bit better."

On DT-Antonio Johnson:

"It was a different type of game for him (vs. Houston). This is a different type of running attack. Not so much a straight-ahead power game, but a lot of stretch plays and reach blocks. He did a good job (Sunday). This upcoming game (at San Diego) will probably be more his style of game with a lot more powers and double teams."

On if there were any injuries during Sunday's game:

"I think we did OK. (DB) Nick Graham was the only guy who wasn't able to finish. I know we took him in, he got x-rays on his ankle and they were negative, so that was a good sign. I don't know what the update on Nick is. Other than that, there was no one who wasn't able to finish the game."

On if the injury to Sanders is related to his surgery:

"No. He's had this, probably, ever since he's been here. What we've done a good job of is monitoring the practice time. We get him just enough practice time so he's sharp, but not so much that his knee swells during the week. He has swelling in there after the games, and if he plays 60 plays we have to take it easy on him during the week. We just have to monitor and find out what that right ratio of practice time is and get that worked out."


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