Dungy Pleased with Bye Week Practices
INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Dungy said this past week went pretty much as he expected, and pretty much as such weeks have gone in past seasons.
And he said that's just fine.
Dungy, in his seventh season as the Colts' head coach, said early this week the season's lone bye week would be imant not only to allow the players to rest and get healthy, but to refocus and have a few days similar to training camp to focus on fundamentals and basics.
Dungy said that goal was achieved.
"It really was (a good week) from my standpoint," Dungy said Thursday morning after the second of two bye week practices at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
"We got to take a break from preparing for another team and really just look at some things we need to do better and get some of our younger guys in, and get them involved with the communication on defense and the timing on offense and really just stress the things that are important to us.
"They were two very good days. I thought we concentrated well."
The Colts, the five-time defending AFC South champions, lost to Chicago in the season opener, then won at Minnesota. They lost to AFC rival Jacksonville, 23-21, at Lucas Oil Stadium this past Sunday. Their 1-2 record marks their first sub-.500 record after three games since 1998.
The work this week focused on self-scouting rather than opponents, Dungy said.
"We look at the first three games and try to break down all the things that went well and what didn't go well," Dungy said. "Usually, it's the same old story – the things you practice and do a lot, you do well. Maybe some of the things you tried to do that were special and different, you didn't do as well.
"That's what we have to do, just eliminate the breakdowns and build on the things we do well. That was a big part of our week, looking at that."
The Colts never have been under .500 entering a bye week under Dungy, but he said when looking at tape this week, there was comparatively little difference from years past. The Colts entered the last three bye weeks – 2005, 2006 and 2007 – unbeaten en route to records of 13-0, 9-0 and 7-0.
"You see the same things," Dungy said. "We just had more probably little breakdowns that caused us to be 1-2 rather than 3-0. You see the same things and it just reinforces what you always believe – that if you're doing the little things very well, you're winning games and it usually is those little things that cause you to stumble when you do lose."
The Colts, now two games out of first place for the first time since 2001, practiced Wednesday and Thursday and will be off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They will return for a Monday practice, and after an off day Tuesday, they will begin full-scale preparations for their October 5 game at Houston on Wednesday, October 1.
Dungy said the importance of the bye week as a time for family was illustrated by the news Thursday of the death of the infant son of Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant, who kicked one game for the Colts in 2004.
"I would urge them to get away from it (football) no matter what and relax and enjoy it (the time off)," Dungy said. "When we just broke, I talked to the team about Matt Bryant. Matt was with us one game. We have a lot of guys on the team who know him, but many guys who didn't. He had a three-month old boy that didn't wake up. I just urged our guys, 'Hey, take these three days. You don't get them during the season very often. Be around your family. Be around people you love. Enjoy them. Don't take them for granted.'
"Whether we're 3-0, 0-3, this is three days for them to really enjoy with their families."