Dungy Wants More Consistency from Colts' First-Team Offense and Defense
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The final week of Colts 2008 Training Camp began Monday, and Tony Dungy said there is a simple goal.
And he said that's particularly true of the Colts' first team.
Dungy, in his seventh season as the Colts' head coach, said on Monday the coaches reviewed the tape of Saturday's preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers with the players. The day before, coaches reviewed it alone, and Dungy said the verdict was the same either day.
There were a few too many mistakes.
The second team had some solid individual performances.
But mostly, Dungy said, disappointment lingered that the starters didn't play better.
"The disappointing thing was our first group didn't really make that improvement we were looking for," Dungy said Monday between a pair of 2008 Training Camp practices at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
"I thought our second group in a lot of cases did. We had some solid performances out of the young guys we can build on. We have to play better, more consistently, all the way around."
Dungy, speaking to the media two days after the Colts lost, 23-20, to Carolina in overtime, said while there were positives on Saturday, he was disappointed with the first team's inability to control the line of scrimmage either offensively or defensively.
He also said the Colts' special teams – a particular area of focus in training camp – has played well in each of the team's two preseason games.
Hunter Smith punted twice for a 48.5-yard average, with one punt being downed inside the 20, and Adam Vinatieri kicked off three times, with one kickoff going two yards deep in the end zone, and two others going into the end zone for touchbacks.
Third-year cornerback T.J. Rushing returned two kickoffs for a 41.5-yard average.
"It's something we've emphasized and for the second week in a row, I thought we did a good job kicking and covering," Dungy said. "Adam and Hunter have taken it upon themselves to make sure we're getting good kicks to cover.
"Our guys are running hard and we've done a good job with those units."
Overall, Dungy said with a week remaining in training camp, there has been progress, and that mainly he wants to see the Colts "be a little more consistent with our first group."
"We didn't play as good a second game as we did a first game, but I think we're coming along OK," Dungy said. "I think our big goal is to be a little bit sharper and to play better in the game with our first group.
"They'll go a little bit longer (on Saturday against Atlanta). They know that, and they want to play a little bit better. I think they were disappointed coming off that kind of uneven performance against Carolina."
In other Colts news, defensive end Josh Thomas sustained a pulled groin against Carolina and likely will miss a week or two, Dungy said.
"Other than that, I think we came through OK," Dungy said.
Linebacker Clint Session, who has missed the first two games of preseason, returned to practice on Monday, as did defensive end Jeff Charleston. Dungy said wide receiver Pierre Garcon also could return to practice this week.
Also, wide receiver Marvin Harrison – who started and played three series against the Panthers – practiced Monday after catching three passes for 22 yards on Saturday. Harrison missed 11 regular-season games last season with a knee injury and did not participate in mini-camp, but he has participated throughout training camp.
"Marvin did a good job," Dungy said. "On the third play of the game, he was going to have a touchdown if we protect it. He got behind his guy. He caught the balls that came to him and didn't have any physical problems. I think he was pleased with it and we were also."