Dungy: We're Going To Have Our Hands Full

Tony Dungy met with the media Wednesday as the Colts began their practice for San Diego. See what Dungy had to say about the Chargers, the clock running during a fourth quarter challenge last week, ties in the NFL, San Diego's defensive personnel, the team's new tight end, injury updates and more!

"As we start on San Diego, a very familiar opponent to us, a team that is really talented and, I'm sure a lot of people say it, but is better than their 4-6 record when you look at the big-play people they have and the special teams and the defense. We're going to have our hands full, as we always do when we play them. We have to get ready for a tough, physical game and a big game for us in trying to keep those AFC tiebreakers going."

On how different the San Diego defense is from last year without LB-Shawne Merriman and with a new defensive coordinator:

"It's not a lot different, but I guess you would have to compare it to how we are without (DE) Dwight Freeney. We went through that at the end of last year. You try to make adjustments, try to make up for the absence of a guy who means a lot to you, but as far as schematically, not a whole, whole lot different."

On San Diego QB-Philip Rivers compared to last year:

"It looks to me he's just making quicker decisions. He's very, very decisive with what he wants to do. He has a better chemistry with some of those young receivers. (WR-Vincent) Jackson is having an outstanding year. It looks like, in the last few weeks, (TE-Antonio) Gates is getting back to where we're used to seeing him. They have a lot of weaponry, but he's been more decisive and making really, really good decisions."

On San Diego CB-Antonio Cromartie:

"He had a big day against us (at San Diego last year). He had a big interception in the playoff game. You're going to throw balls out at corners, and he's a guy who can make plays. We saw that at Florida State, and we certainly saw it last year. We'll have to go at him, but hopefully he doesn't have as much success as he did last year."

On the clock running before and after his successful challenge in the 4th quarter last week vs. Houston:

"I think they didn't do it right. I was going to let (the play clock) run down because we're trying to run the clock no matter what, so I let it run down to one second. It was my feeling then that if we won the challenge that the (game) clock wouldn't start until we snapped the ball again, but we did get an extra, probably, 25 seconds there."

On how many players know the OT rule:

"I did ask that question in the team meeting, and we had about 15 guys, mainly young guys, that didn't know. As a coach, you always kind of assume that guys know, and many of our young guys didn't know exactly the rule. Now, I'm sure many of them knew that it could end in a tie, but I just went through the whole thing, ‘Here's how it is, you get this many timeouts, it goes 15 minutes, the first team that scores wins.' How many knew all of that? Most of our veterans did, but a lot of the young guys did not."

On if players that did not know the rule did not raise their hand:

"I hope not. It's something that we talk about. We've had a few overtime games since we've been here so we've had a chance to discuss it, but I guess it just tells you that you can't take anything for granted."

On if he likes NFL OT:

"I like the way it's done. I like exactly the way it's done. It forces you to make decisions. You generally want the ball when you win the toss, but the other side of the coin is you get the ball and they kick a touchback and you get stopped and now they get the ball at the 50 (yard line) after a punt. I'm one of those guys, I guess being a defensive coach all my life, I've never complained about not getting the ball because every time they snap the ball, you have an opportunity to get it back. So, to say, ‘We never got the ball,' that's your fault. I think it's one of those things where it forces coaches to make decisions. It puts it in that do-or-die, sudden-death mode, and I like it."

On if he was surprised Philadelphia QB-Donovan McNabb said he did not know a game could end in a tie:

"If he really didn't know, yes, I am shocked. I wouldn't pass judgment on it, but as a quarterback with 10 years in the league I would think you need to know that."

On how to take Cromartie out of the game:

"You can't really just stay away from him and not throw the ball on that side. You just have to do what you do against great players. Cromartie, (Denver CB) Champ Bailey, we've played against a lot of players like that. You have to do what you do and pick your spots, but you just can't be casual. You can't throw balls late over there and you can't throw bad balls because he makes a living picking off bad balls."

On going after good CBs:

"You have to run your offense. Sometimes guys that are great interceptors, they are interceptors for a reason, because they anticipate, they take chances, they believe in themselves, and you have to look for ways to beat them."

On San Diego RB-Darren Sproles:

"We can do some things to kick the ball away from him. But, in the second game (last year), we did a pretty good job on him in that phase of it, but he hurt us on third down and caught a screen that he took to the house. They have ways to get him the ball. He's an exciting player. We have to know where he is, and we have to swarm to him on special teams and on defense."

On if he sees a difference in San Diego RB-LaDainian Tomlinson:

"I'm seeing the same thing that I'm seeing with (DE) Dwight (Freeney) and (WR) Marvin (Harrison). I hear a lot of rhetoric about LT, and when I see the cuts and I see him make people miss and freeze guys in the open field, he looks like the same guy to me."

On if it is important to not throw 50 passes this week:

"Not necessarily. It depends on how they want to play. We've played different 3-4 (defensive) teams, and we've had pretty good success moving the ball. Baltimore is the same way. They make it tough to run the ball bringing that 3-4 and bringing a safety down. They have some good players. It's hard to run the ball against them. You have to be able to run and keep them honest, but against Baltimore, you're usually going to make more of a living throwing the ball, and against San Diego we've had to make our living throwing the ball. We've thrown it well. When we haven't turned the ball over, we've scored points. In the last two games, we've turned it over nine times, and that hurt us. We have to move the ball, whether it's running or throwing, and take advantage of our scoring opportunities."

On if beating San Diego will quiet critics that say the Colts can't beat a 3-4 defense:

"It will until the next time we lose to a 3-4 team. It's the players. We're talking about Cromartie, and we've talked about (LB-Shawne) Merriman. They have a lot of talented guys on their defense that make plays and make it tough. They could put another defensive lineman in there and play 4-3 and they'd be just as tough to play against."

On DB-Bob Sanders:

"It's going to be one of those situations where we're going to have to monitor his practice time and hopefully have him practice enough to be sharp and not so much that his knee swells and hopefully have him all year. We're trying to find that right mix. We'll see how it goes, but that's the hope. He's not going to have a full practice week, but hopefully his swelling is down enough where he'll be able to play on Sunday. It's probably going to be that way the rest of the year."

On DB-Kelvin Hayden:

"Kelvin is recovering. His hamstring is getting better and better, so we'll have to see how he does. (WR) Reggie (Wayne) is kind of in the same boat. He has ankles that have been rolled up and knees that have been rolled up. Reggie didn't practice much the last two weeks, and we had just the right amount of practice time for him to be sharp but be able to play. I think Bob's going to be that way. It's a little easier to do with veteran guys, so we'll see what happens."

On playing the same OL the last four games:

"It's always a plus to have the same guys playing next to you in the same spots. You know how the guy next to you is going to play, your communication is better, but if one guy's not healthy, how much does that continuity help as opposed to not being 100 percent? That's what we had to balance. The fact that they've been there, they have that continuity and they're healthy, that certainly has helped us."

On if blitzers are not picked up as easily without continuity on the OL:

"Not as much, and the communication is just better and smoother (with continuity). Some of the rookies, they know what they're doing, but they don't know what everything else is going on along the line. Then, you have a situation where you have to help them, and it's difficult. Obviously, the more you can keep that lineup together and guys playing in the same spot that they're used to, that really helps you."

On San Diego:

"The thing that you see, which is pretty much what the NFL is, it's close games. They've had three or four games that haven't been close, that they've won their share. In the Jets game and the New England game, you couldn't look much better than they looked. In the close games, you have to find a way to win them in the fourth quarter. They've had one-point games and two-point games that they haven't won that they won last year. That's really the difference in their record. They're playing about the same. We were the same way. We lost a couple of tight games early on, and that's what affects your record because you're going to have seven or eight games that are decided by one play."

On San Diego not forcing as many turnovers as last year:

"That certainly impacts what you do. We talk about it a lot, being on the plus side of that plus-minus, and that's going to impact your record as well."

On TE-Jamie Petrowski:

"He's a big guy. Hopefully he can run and catch the ball a little bit for us, but we have some tight ends here that can run and catch, so he's more of a point-of-attack guy for us. Hopefully he can learn what we're doing pretty quick."

On TE-Tom Santi's shoulder:

"Tom just kept having episodes with it. We just felt it's going to be better to get it fixed and not be two steps forward and one step backward every week."

On the learning curve for a new player in week 12:

"It's a little harder to do on offense than it is on defense, that's for sure. But, there are certain things that you can learn and know and get grooved in, and that's what we're going to try to do with Jamie. Certainly, learning the whole offense and being ready to go for every play would not be realistic at this point."

On Petrowski knowing a little of the offense from his time on Tennessee's practice squad:

"He does. We had (DT) Antonio Johnson in the same boat. He got here and he had simulated our guys, so he had gotten a taste of it. The hardest thing for an offensive guy is learning the code words and the no-huddle things. If it got to an emergency situation, I'm sure he could play. We just would have to huddle and be a little bit more descriptive."

On if players think revenge when playing a team that has beaten them:

"Not really. I think what happens is you look at the tape and you look at things you could have done a little bit better, and you realize that it's going to come down to just playing ball. We were that way with New England, where everybody said we couldn't beat them, and we did have trouble beating them for three or four years. All of a sudden, you just relax and start to play a little bit better. There are no major adjustments or changes that you make, and you have a little more success. Houston's probably in the same boat with us. They've played us two games where they really have a chance to win and they don't win. There's nothing you can do but go back and play a little bit better next time. Does last year's game really impact this year? Not really."

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