Playing Tennessee Not a Complex, but Not Easy, Dungy Says
INDIANAPOLIS – The week has been far from complex.
Tony Dungy, in his seventh season as the Colts' head coach, said on Saturday morning that's because when it comes to playing the Tennessee Titans – which the Colts will do Monday in a prime-time game on national television – complexity isn't the issue.
And he said it's probably not the issue for the Titans, either.
The Colts and the Titans – the NFL's last remaining unbeaten team – have played each other twice a year since 2002. The head coaches – Dungy and Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher – haven't changed in that span, and neither have many of the core players.
The Colts pretty much know what the Titans will do, Dungy said.
The problem is executing well enough to win.
"We just have to play hard and not give them extra chances," Dungy said Saturday as the Colts (3-3), the five-time defending AFC South champions, prepared to play the division-leading Titans (6-0) at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., Monday at 8:30 p.m.
"When we get opunities to score, score."
Dungy said that wasn't the case last season, when the Colts lost to Tennessee in the regular-season finale, 16-10.
The Colts, who had clinched the AFC South title entering that game, played mostly reserves after the first quarter in that game, but Dungy said more notable was what happened early in the game, when many of the Colts' starters were playing.
"We just looked at the last game we played them, the last game here," Dungy said. "They took the first drive and scored. We took it down and fumbled. We stopped them, took the next drive down and ended up kicking a field goal. So we had two good drives and they had one good drive, but they were ahead, 7-3.
"You have to take advantage of your opportunities."
Dungy said on Saturday he liked how the Colts had prepared this week. Practices, he said, were good throughout the week and because of the familiarity between the teams, he said there isn't overwhelming mystery entering Monday.
"I think we've played them so much and they've played us," Dungy said. "The execution is tough, but the preparation probably isn't hard for them, either."
The Titans will be the second team this season the Colts have played with a defense currently ranked in the NFL's top five. The Colts two weeks ago scored 31 points against the Baltimore Ravens, who are ranked No. 2 in total defense.
The Titans enter the game ranked third in the NFL in defense.
"They're different defenses," Dungy said. "There are a lot of things to fool you, a lot of calls you have to make for Baltimore. These guys (the Titans) line up and play and you have to block them.
"It's simpler, not necessarily easier."
The Colts released their final injury report of the week on Friday, with running back Joseph Addai (hamstring), cornerback Kelvin Hayden (knee), cornerback Marlin Jackson (shoulder), tight end Jacob Tamme (knee) and safety Bob Sanders (knee) listed as questionable and wide receiver Roy Hall (knee) listed as doubtful.
Addai, Hayden, Sanders and Hall likely won't play Monday, Dungy said,
Dungy also said on Saturday he didn't know much – or in what role – left tackle Tony Ugoh would play Monday. Ugoh started the first two games of the season, missed one with a groin injury, then has played as a reserve the last three games.
"We'll play it by ear," Dungy said. "I think Tony's ready to play, but we've been doing pretty well, so we'll see what happens."
Dungy also said cornerback Tim Jennings will start for a third consecutive game in place of injured starter Kelvin Hayden.
"He just has to play better and not get penalties," Dungy said.