Dungy: Proud of the Team

Tony Dungy took some time to talk to the media about Sunday's big win over the Bengals and the Colts upcoming matchup with winless Detroit. See what the coach had to say about Detroit's tough season, coach Rod Marinelli, injury updates, the play of Buster Davis in his first start, the Lions' Calvin Johnson, the play of Gijon Robinson, and more!

"As I said (Sunday), I was proud of the team for really dialing in and getting focused and taking care of our business. That was kind of the thought for the day was, ‘Do our job,' and we did it and got that first win in December, which is huge. Now we have the same type of challenge. We have to follow that up with a better performance against a team that doesn't have a great record but has some talented players. Again, the focus for us will be getting better, doing our job and trying to improve and keep ourselves in the playoff picture right where we are. I thought we played well. We were a little bit sluggish to start the game. We knew we'd have some adjustments to make. The quarterback, (Ryan) Fitzpatrick, was a scrambler and guy that was going to move around. That gave us a little bit of a problem early. We really went in feeling like they were going to blitz us. From everything we had seen in the last month or so, they had come after people. That's why we ended up playing a lot of two tight end sets. We felt like we'd have (TE) Gijon Robinson in there protecting and they didn't come, didn't come very much at all. Played some three-man line as a matter of fact, so Gijon was able to get out in the pass routes and had a good day. But, the fact that they didn't play us quite the way we thought, we had to adjust to that and I thought our guys did. They kept their poise and once we got going and got the lead, that really played into our hands."

On if Robinson enjoyed his catches:

"I would think so. He caught the ball well, ran his routes well and did a good job for us."

On if Robinson's catches were because of Cincinnati's defensive looks:

"Yes. That was his responsibility a lot of times, to check and, if his linebacker didn't come, then he could get out in the routes. Or, based on the look that we got, (QB) Peyton (Manning) went to a different play that got him out. He was the guy that was uncovered a lot, and he took advantage of that."

On the team's defensive play this season:

"They've done a good job for the most part. It has been a different kind of year for us. What was haunting us early in the year were two things, really, penalties and big plays. We've cut those way down as we've gotten into November and December, and that's why we've been more effective. But, I think we can still play in those types of games if it is up and down the field in the passing game. We like that kind of game. We're doing better in terms of limiting the running game, so all in all, I think we're making strides and playing the kind of defense we need to be playing."

On if the team's defense is disrespected:

"We're probably a different type of defense. I think people look at us and our size and they're always going to feel like people can run the ball on us. That's part of it. We don't play, necessarily, to have those kinds of stats, great run stats or great third-down stats. We're playing for points allowed and takeaways. It's a little bit different style. We're never going to be a team that smothers people and only gives up 10 or 12 first downs a game and 200 yards. We just don't play that way, but I think we can be effective."

On if he would like the 3rd-down defensive stats to improve:

"We should, especially on the 3rd-and-longs. That's when you have to do the job and get off the field. For the most part this past month, we've been better in those situations. But, a game like Cleveland, where it's a little frustrating at times, you're giving up some 3rd-and-4s, 3rd-and-3s and they keep drives going, but we've been sound in the red zone. When people get behind, I think we still have that ability to make it tough for them."

On the Detroit Lions losing some close games:

"The Lions have had some, I don't know whether to say tough luck, but they've had some games that they really could've won, should've won, and just haven't gotten the job done in the fourth quarter. We'll look at the tape and look at their players and what they're doing. We're not going to take them lightly."

On Detroit being winless:

"You can't worry about that at this time of year. We have one game this week that we have to win and it happens to be Detroit. We're happy it's a home game and we're going to try to use that to our advantage, but whoever it is you have to win these games this time of year."

On Detroit Head Coach Rod Marinelli:

"Rod Marinelli's a good person and a good coach. They were 6-2 at the halfway point last year, and I was pretty convinced that they were going to get it rolling. It's surprised me that they haven't this year. I know he's not going to change what they do. His style is to play sound football and get his guys ready. They'll be ready to play I'm sure."

On watching Detroit struggle:

"I have wanted them to get it going. That was my team growing up. I know some people in their organization, quite a few people now, and I've always been a Lions fan. It's been disappointing. I know a lot of people who still live there, live around the Detroit area, and want them to get going. It's been frustrating. Hopefully, after next week, they can start winning."

On if the Colts have to just take care of business and let the playoff scenarios take care of themselves:

"That's the way we're looking at it. Right now, we're sitting in good position in terms of getting that fifth slot. That's why we want to continue to win, so we can stay there. Fifth is better than sixth, that's what we're going to sell. If we keep winning we'll be fifth, and that's our incentive right now."

On if the team is taking a playoff spot as a given:

"No. I don't think you can do that. You know that you're there, you've put yourself in position where if you keep winning you're going to be in, but we have at least two games that we have to win. If we win the next two we'll be in, and that's the way we're looking at it."

On the defense playing well without all of its starters:

"That's probably encouraging in that when we can get all these pieces together we're going to be pretty good, but we have a lot of guys who fight and they believe in each other. It's great to be able to go out with (LB) Buster Davis and (DB) Keiwan Ratliff and (LB) Jordan Senn, guys like that, playing big roles. (DT) Antonio Johnson has come in and really helped us in just the last four weeks. That part is nice. You have some veteran leadership, guys like (LB) Gary Brackett and (DT) Raheem Brock, that have been around a while and they've kind of been the glue, but you have a lot of young guys who are helping us. I think it's a tribute to our coaches and just the way our players prepare that they're able to get out there and get the job done and help us get on this winning streak."

On Davis' play vs. Cincinnati:

"Buster did a good job. They didn't come after us with the two-back running game quite as much as we thought they might. They mixed in a lot of three wide receivers, and we were in some nickel packages then, but we did a good job against their two-back attack and Buster played very sound, so that was good to see."

On Davis directing traffic on the field:

"He did his job well, and that's all you can ask. And, that's what our guys expect. We expected him to do well, and he didn't let us down."

On why the team has so much success with backup players:

"I think it's our assistant coaches and the system that we play. Those guys get turns at practice. They're expected to know what to do, and when we do put a guy in there we really don't change, so it doesn't impact everyone else. We don't say, ‘Well, Buster Davis is in, so 10 other guys have to do something different now.' Everybody's able to just continue to do their job and the person who steps in is expected to do his. I think that helps us rather than change what we're doing."

On if DB-Kelvin Hayden is 100 percent healthy:

"I think he's pretty close. He's certainly played well the last two or three weeks, and it's good to have him back. He had an outstanding game (Sunday vs. Cincinnati) breaking on balls, getting his hands on balls, tackling, all the things that we've come to expect from him. That was as good a game as we've had a corner have around here in a long time."

On if LB-Clint Session has brought a physical presence to the defense:

"He has. He's what my old coach in Pittsburgh, Coach (Chuck) Noll, used to call a six-inch punch. That Muhammad Ali punch that Sonny Liston never saw, that's what Clint has. It's very quick and it doesn't look like much, but he rocks people and knocks people back. He plays that type of game. He plays with that aggressiveness, so, yes, he's pretty special in that regard."

On what that does for the team:

"I think when you get those hits, (DB) Bob Sanders has that capacity, we have a few guys that do, but when you get those it jacks everyone up on the field and on our sideline."

On injuries from the game vs. Cincinnati:

"I think we're going to make it through in not too bad of shape. (DT) Eric Foster actually got hit by Kelvin Hayden and got a stinger, and we'll see how he is. He may not be able to practice much this week. (RB) Joseph Addai got hit on the shoulder. I think he's going to be okay. Probably the most serious one is (RB) Chad Simpson. He had his ankle rolled up, and he's going to be probably questionable for this week."

On if the injuries will require a roster move:

"We'll see how the end of the week is. If Joseph and Chad are iffy, we probably would have to do something with a back."

On DB-Bob Sanders:

"Bob did okay. We were able to get a lot of those guys out in the fourth quarter, so it was kind of nice that he got back in, got a taste of it, but didn't have to play 50 or 60 plays. He got through it okay."

On if C-Jeff Saturday will play this week vs. Detroit:

"I think Jeff will be ready to go. He was very close (to playing vs. Cincinnati), and we talked about it and debated it all through Saturday night, actually. It turned out well. We have two games in five days, so we wanted to err on the side of caution, but I think he'll be ready to go this week."

On if there is any motivation to not be the first team that loses to Detroit:

"If we were 6-10 or 7-9, I think that would be our rallying cry, but what it is is we want to stay ahead of Baltimore and we can't afford a loss. So, whether it was Detroit or whoever it is, this was a must-win game for us."

On if Detroit moves WR-Calvin Johnson around:

"I haven't seen a whole lot of tape. I've just seen some highlight stuff, and he's pretty special. We played against him in the preseason last year, and he's a stallion. That is their best player, so we're going to have to take a look at what they do with him. He's very, very special."

On if Johnson is like New England WR-Randy Moss:

"He's probably like Moss, a little stronger, just as fast, but a bigger and stronger, more physical body. Maybe not as nifty as Moss, but you just usually don't see receivers that big and that fast with excellent hands, all the things that you need. Talking to (Detroit Head Coach) Rod (Marinelli), he said he had a special attitude and worker and everything you could want, so I am looking forward to watching him on tape this week."

On if Johnson is more like Houston WR-Andre Johnson:

"Similar, yes, but he's bigger than Andre."

On Tennessee winning the AFC South:

"We just have to congratulate them. You win 12 out of 13 (games), they deserve it. We had some shots. We lost a couple of games that are haunting us right now, but they did a good job. They've won the division, and they can kind of start looking at the playoffs now where everybody else is still playing our way in. They've done a good job, and they'll represent the division well. We want to be there with them and see if we can get two teams in."


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