Dungy: Understanding What They're Capable Of

Tony Dungy updated the media before the Indianapolis Colts hit the practice field on Thursday. The coach spoke about LB Buster Davis, new defensive wrinkles, the importance of staying focused against the Bengals, Robert Mathis and more!

On when a team can free kick after fair-catching a punt:

"You can do it any time. Any time you fair catch, you can free kick it back to the other team. When this rule came about, strong defensive teams did that. They just fair caught it, kicked it back to the other team and played defense. It just doesn't make that much sense in this day and age until the end of the game. I guess, theoretically, if you were nine points behind with two-and-a-half minutes to go, three minutes to go and you got a short kick you could free kick it for a field goal and try to onside kick, that kind of thing. I guess there are times when you would do it, but it just doesn't come up very much."

On if the defense gets the ball at the spot of the kick if the kick is no good:

"No. If you miss, they can either run it back or if it goes in the end zone and they choose not to run it back, it's a touchback. Any time you fair catch the ball, you can free kick it. Theoretically, you wouldn't even have to be in field goal range. You could kick it back to the other team. I remember seeing it when I was a kid, but I can't even remember seeing it since they moved the goalposts back. I know the Cardinals did it a couple of weeks ago. I would have liked to have been a part of one of those, ‘It hasn't been made in X number of years,' and I think (K) Adam (Vinatieri) was looking forward to it."

On LB-Buster Davis starting vs. Cincinnati:

"He'll do fine. Buster played a lot of football at Florida State, played in a lot of big games. He's been around this system. He was in Detroit, so he understands what we're doing. He just hasn't gotten much of a chance to play in the last two years, but he'll do fine."

On if Davis fits the Colts scheme better than some other teams:

"When he went to Detroit (in 2007), I'm sure he felt like he fit in there. It's just funny. Sometimes it's opportunity, it's getting the chance, and some guys really do blossom, (Arizona QB) Kurt Warner, in certain situations. You never really know. That's one great thing about (President) Bill Polian is he has a great knack for visualizing guys who will fit well with what we do."

On who will play LB in nickel and dime situations:

"I don't really know yet. We're probably looking at Freddy (Keiaho) and Clint (Session) in the nickel and then just Freddy in the dime to try to take a little off Buster. But, he worked all the nickel stuff (Wednesday) and did a good job, so we'll see."

On how often facemasks break on contact:

"I've only seen a couple in probably 20 years, but every now and then it does happen. You'll see them get bent up, but I haven't seen them just disintegrate too often."

On if the Colts are now focused on a wild-card berth to make the playoffs:

"As long as we have a chance (to win the AFC South), we'll focus in. That's been another one of our thought processes is to keep winning to make (Tennessee) continue to win. If they do, there's nothing we can do about it at this point other than really zero in on where we are. We'll keep hope alive for another week, but we have to win obviously."

On if there were any injuries during Wednesday's practice:

"Nothing in practice, no. We made it through OK. We had our normal list of guys who didn't work who should be working (Thursday), (DE) Dwight (Freeney), (DE) Robert (Mathis) (DB) Tim Jennings, (DB) Antoine Bethea, but all in all a pretty normal day (Wednesday)."

On LB-Tyjuan Hagler:

"Tyjuan did not practice and is looking more doubtful. He wants to play. He wants to go. He ran and ran, in his words, ‘Just OK.' So, we'll see how he comes off that. I think we'll know (Friday). If he's able to practice (Friday), there's a good chance he'll play. If he can't practice (Friday), we'll probably hold him out."

On if the opponent matters this week when deciding which injured players will play on Sunday:

"Not really. It's more medical issues. We're in the mode that we have to win every week. We have to stay ahead of these other teams that we have the tiebreakers on, so for us it is not quite like a playoff game, but they're all games you have to win."

On if he is worried about the team letting its guard down:

"You do have to be careful about that. It's human nature to look at it and say, ‘This team only has one win, this team only has four wins, we're playing at home, it's going to be easier,' but you can't do that. We saw the tape of the Giants game that went into overtime, and really Cincinnati probably has to knock down one pass to win the game, a third-down pass near the goal line and they're probably going to win it. So, you understand what they're capable of. It's something that we talk about and we just encourage them to watch the tape and really not look at anything else."

On if it is hard to believe Cincinnati is struggling so much this season:

"It is when you look at some of their offensive personnel. Of course, anytime you lose your quarterback, a player that does as much for you as (Carson) Palmer does for them and orchestrates the system as well as being a great thrower, that hurts. Then, you look at the number of injuries they have, just guys going on IR, it has to be tough. But, when you look at some of their early games when all of their talent is playing, it is hard to fathom that they would only have one win."

On if the three-man rush is a new wrinkle in the defense:

"We do it, but not all that much. We've always carried it and used it, maybe, once a game most of the time. But, we are starting to get people that are just throwing the ball fast, throwing the ball quick and not hanging on to it and sometimes that extra guy in coverage is more beneficial. So, we've probably done it more in the last month than probably we have in four or five years."

On if a DL dropping back helps limit passing lanes:

"Yes. When people are just throwing screens, getting the ball to the (running) back, hooking the tight end up at four yards just trying to throw fast, a lot of times that guy can be a factor or make tackles immediately, which is what (DE) Raheem (Brock) did two or three times (at Cleveland)."

On if Brock enjoys standing up on the line:

"It's like the big man that wants to shoot three-pointers. They always want to do something that they don't get allowed to do too much. Offensive linemen always want to catch passes and defensive linemen want to drop back and be nice, finesse players and intercept passes. Our guys have fun with it."

On Brock wanting an interception:

"He's looking for it. He's definitely looking for a pick. It's funny how that goes. The guys always enjoy doing something – the corners like to blitz, and they always want you to call their number to blitz – these guys always want to do something they don't get to do too often."

On the best way to describe DE-Robert Mathis:

"He's one of those relentless guys who gets everything out of his ability, who knows what's going on and plays just the way you coach him down in and down out and he plays harder than the guy he's playing against most of the time. He's probably always done that. He's one of those guys you just love to coach because it's everything you talk about as a coach, how you should play, how you should prepare and how you practice. Every job that we've ever given him, whether it's special teams, whether it's playing against 280-pound tight ends, whatever you give him, he's going to get it done and against a lot of odds."

On if Mathis has a knack for making big plays:

"He does. We saw that on his college highlight tape that I think he made himself and passed it around to teams. You just saw play after play, whether it was blocked field goals, kickoff tackles, running across the field tackling a guy 40 yards downfield, you saw that in college and it's transferred over to here."


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