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Colts: Tony Dungy Conference Call

Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, October 29, 2008.

Q: In your opinion what has contributed to your team's 3-4 start this season?

TD: For us it has probably been inconsistency. When we look at the things that have really caused this it's a lot of penalties that we don't normally get, a lot of turnovers…things that we are doing that really cause you to lose games. We have played well in spurts but we really haven't played good consistent football that we need to win these games and we have to get back to it pretty quick.

Q: How different is this week's game against the Patriots from in the past where both teams were usually at the top of the AFC?

TD: They [Patriots] are doing a little bit better than we are. I would say neither of us has played up to our expectations so far. This is going to be a big game. It's pivotal in a lot of ways. When you are fighting like this you have to get wins and get a streak going. We have to get it turned around quickly and we are playing a very tough opponent to try to do that.

Q: After your game against the Tennessee Titans last Monday night it sounded like you were conceding the AFC South to the Titans. Is that an accurate read of what you were saying?

Q: Realistically looking at it, we have to look at it that way. We have to really focus ourselves on improving, playing consistently and getting a win streak going. If we can get a streak like we have gotten in the past and roll off six or seven [wins] in a row, it still might not be enough to win the division but that is OK. If we can get ourselves playing well and get hot and be in that wild card race we will be in good shape.

Q: Is this different for you as a coach with having a team that is fighting to stay alive in the playoff hunt?

TD: Lately it has been but it seems like this is a position that we were in during my last three years [1999-01] at Tampa [Buccaneers]. We were 3-4 and we fought back every year and got in the playoffs. One year [1999] we ended up stringing up a good streak and going to the [NFC] championship game. It is not something that I am unfamiliar with but we haven't been this inconsistent here [Indianapolis] in quite a while.

Q: What do you take from those experiences with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that are applicable with the position your team is in now?

TD: Well the fact that NFL football is really still all about November and December. If you are playing well at that time of year then that is what counts. The [New York] Giants proved that last year. Pittsburgh [Steelers] did a couple of years ago. You don't want to dig yourself in too much of a hole but certainly this season isn't over on September 30th or October 30th even.

Q: How much has your offensive line's struggles contributed to your overall problems this year?

TD: Surprisingly our offensive line has been pretty solid, pretty consistent. Even our young guards [Mike Pollak and Jamey Richard] when they were starting both of those guys did a pretty good job. I don't think that is the biggest thing. We have had inconsistencies in our passing game. We have had penalties. We have given up big runs on defense - things like that. Sure, we would love to have our veteran offensive linemen in there the whole way but that hasn't really been the major problem.

Q: How much is the time quarterback Peyton Manning missed in training camp and the preseason still affecting him?

TD: That is hard to say. I am sure that is there to a certain extent and that has been part of it. We were playing Baltimore [Ravens] and we threw a 70-yard touchdown pass and we had a holding penalty. That really doesn't have anything to do with Peyton [Manning] being in training camp or not. It is not everything but I am sure he is not as sharp as he would have been with a full training camp.

Q: What has stood out to you with quarterback Matt Cassel?

TD: They [Patriots] are doing a great job, as they always do, to playing to people's strengths. I think they have found what he [Matt Cassel] does well. He is developing that chemistry with [Wes] Welker. He is making less and less mistakes every week. They are keeping the ball and controlling it with a short passing game. He is getting them into the right plays. It has been impressive. I think he has gotten more comfortable every week. That is kind of what it looks like on tape.

Q: What improvements have you seen with wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez?

TD: Anthony [Gonzalez] understands what is going on around him more than anything this year. He understands defenses, how people are trying to play him and where he fits in the total scheme of the passing game. He is getting more comfortable week in and week out. Not only with his routes and what he is suppose to do but also with everything else around him.

Q: Is there a difference with Melvin Bullitt filling in for Bob Sanders at the strong safety position?

TD: Not really. Melvin [Bullitt] has played well. He is filling in for an excellent player [Bob Sanders] but you don't change a whole lot in your scheme or with what you ask that person to do. Melvin has played well for us.

Q: So Bullitt is doing a lot of the same things Sanders did like dropping down in the box…

TD: Exactly.

Q: What are the chances of running back Joseph Addai and strong safety Bob Sanders playing this week against the Patriots?

TD: It looks like they are going to be able to play. [Joseph] Addai, [Bob] Sanders and [Kelvin] Hayden are all scheduled to practice today. They went through the morning walkthrough and did fine. We expect to see them out at practice. If they have a good week of practice I think all three of them will play.

Q: Is offensive guard Ryan Lilja coming off the PUP [Physically Unable to Perform] list anytime soon?

TD: That is what we are hoping for. Ryan [Lilja] hasn't been able to get out there as quickly as Tyjuan Hagler. We are still kind of fighting through things with him. We haven't activated him yet but we hope to do so soon.

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