Q&A With Tony Dungy

Behind Enemy Lines--Q&A with Indianpolis coach Tony Dungy

Q: What are your thoughts of Mark Brunell this season?
A: It has really looked like different people and different times. You watch some games and he is very hot and very accurate and everything is very precise. Other games he is just missing some guys that are open that could be big plays. It is a little inconsistent is how I would characterize it, but still pretty dangerous.

Q: Have you seen any other teams rely on the screen as much as Washington?
A: Philadelphia comes to mind where they have a lot of screens to (Brian) Westbrook. These guys screen to everybody and keep you off balance. They have so many guys that can run after the catch. They get it to (Clinton) Portis, (Antwaan) Randle El, (Santana) Moss and (Chris) Cooley. You can't zero in and say that the screens are always going to this guy so I think it is a little more difficult than defending Philadelphia.

Q: What do you see in Washington's defense?
A: I think getting (Shawn) Springs  back helps them. You take a Pro Bowl guy out of any secondary and it is going to be a little tougher. They come after you so they put their guys in tough situations. They expect them to be able to cover and they give them tough assignments. Obviously, with Springs getting back last week it seemed to pick them up a little bit.

Q: Do you think your team is not playing as well as last season, despite the record?
A: Last year we were playing pretty well on defense and we were just finding our groove on offense about week five or six. People don't remember that. We won some close, low scoring games last year. I think we beat the Browns 13-6 and we won another game against Jacksonville 10-3 I think. Everybody was saying the same thing but because of our offense's reputation that was going to come on and in fact it did come on and people were not too worried about it. Because it is the other way around where our offense is playing pretty well and our defense has not hit its stride yet, I think that has people more concerned. I think we will be ok. We have not played as well as I would like to see us play yet, but we are improving every week.

Q: What kind of contributions are you expecting immediately from Anthony McFarland?
A: Anthony knows what we are doing number one, and he is a good player. That is a good combination for us. It was not something that we were banking on or looking for but the fact that a guy was available that knew what we were doing and we liked him, I think he is going to bring athleticism to the table as a bigger guy. He is a true 300 pounds and we don't have anyone like that on our defensive line right now. It should help us. We can't rely on a guy coming in to all of the sudden pick us up, or Bob Sanders coming back. Everybody has to play better and do their job a little better then we have done the last three or four weeks. We have to get back to running hard, tackling hard and believing in the defense. When we do we are going to be fine.

Q: Are teams defending you differently without Edgerrin in the backfield?
A: I don't think it is Edgerrin necessarily. It is just people trying to make us go the long route. It kind of started last year after the 49 touchdown year. We started seeing a lot of zone and deep coverage. They would make us go down the field in 10 or 12 plays and not give us big plays. The first couple of games the Giants did not play us that way and Houston did not necessarily play us that way. Marvin Harrison got off to a good start, got some one on one coverages and got some big plays. These last couple of weeks that is how people have played us trying to make it a slow process. We have to be able to handle that. We have to be able to keep our poise and have eight and 10 play drives.

Q: Is Peyton showing a different dimension at QB this season?
A: To me he has gotten better every year. He is very adaptable and that is one of the things that we talked about when I got here. We can play a lot of different styles and be explosive but the thing we want to do is play smart and play sharp and take what the defense gives us. Over the last three years he has developed that. One year it was 49 touchdown passes. Last year we were very efficient, we scored a lot of points and it wasn't necessarily the deep throws and the touchdown passes. That part of his game has improved where he is very comfortable following his reads and doing what the defense dictates.

Breaking Burgundy Top Stories