Dungy: Dialed In and Focused

Tony Dungy talked to the media Friday as the team wrapped up its preparations for the Cincinnati Bengals. See what he had to say about the possibility of playing Robert Mathis at linebacker, close games keeping the team focused, and more!

On if the team thinks about playing DE-Robert Mathis at LB:

"(President) Bill Polian comes to me, usually when we get a linebacker injury, and says, ‘You know, Robert could do it. Robert could be our best linebacker. He's going to be better than anybody we can find on the street.' So, there is a temptation, but (Vice President of Public Relations) Craig (Kelley) gave me a stat (Thursday), he just went to 51 sacks, which is second in team history, with 30 forced fumbles. So, we don't want to make Babe Ruth a pitcher. We have toyed with that idea, and that's where some of this three-man drop stuff came. ‘We can drop Robert into coverage, we can drop (DT) Raheem (Brock) into coverage and we can take advantage of some of their athletic skills part time.' But, the best thing Robert does is rush the passer, and we don't want to take that away from him. In our system, the linebackers don't really come as much. We'd have to kind of design a whole new thing, but it has been discussed. It gets discussed every year, really."

On if the team has thought about playing a 3-4 defense:

"(DL Coach) John Teerlinck brought that up. He said he would never coach a 3-4, but I guess if we got to call (DE) Marcus Howard and Robert Mathis linebackers and he still got to coach them, he probably wouldn't mind that."

On if he has seen the team maintain its focus this week:

"I really have. I think our offense, especially, wasn't happy with last week's performance (at Cleveland) so they've been very dialed in and very focused. Defensively, I think we see (WR) Chad Johnson, (WR-T.J.) Houshmandzadeh, guys who have been to the Pro Bowl. (RB-Cedric) Benson was the fourth player picked in the (2005) draft (by Chicago). We've played against this big offensive line before, so you see some of the guys that they have and we know the talent level, so we have been pretty good all week."

On if recent close games help keep the team focused:

"It probably does. It's a little different feel, obviously, than maybe '05 when you're winning by two scores and it just seems like things are going your way. Even then, you knew how tough it was and how the preparation came into play, but the fact that all of these games have been tight, they've been fourth-quarter decisions, I think that does help."

On the team winning five straight games without playing its best football:

"It's probably good from a coaching standpoint because you are winning, you're making progress in the standings, but you have things that you can correct every week and you still have their attention. It's probably the best of all worlds."


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