Being Prepared Not an Issue Entering Tennessee Game, Dungy Says
INDIANAPOLIS – To Tony Dungy, motivation isn't an issue.
Particularly not this week.
Dungy, in his seventh season as the Colts head coach, said on Friday afternoon as the Colts continued to prepare for Monday's AFC South showdown against the Tennessee Titans that the team has had a productive, focused week of practice.
And with reason, Dungy said.
"I think it (the team) has been focused and dialed in," Dungy said as the Colts (3-3), the five-time defending AFC South champions, prepared to play division-leading Tennessee (6-0) at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., Monday at 8:30 p.m.
"You watch the tape and realize you're going to play a good opponent. They're playing extremely well and very consistently. You're going to their place and it's going to be the same type of atmosphere as we had in Green Bay (where the Colts lost, 34-14, last Sunday).
"I think we've got that focus we need and we're ready for a tough game."
The Colts, after off days Tuesday and Wednesday, practiced Thursday and Friday. They will work again Saturday morning, then leave for Tennessee Sunday afternoon.
"It's a big game for us – (because it is in the) division and the fact you're playing an unbeaten team," Dungy said.
Dungy on Friday discussed again the status of linebacker Tyjuan Hagler, a starter last season who spent the first five games of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list before playing as a reserve against Green Bay.
Hagler will enter Sunday's game as a backup to outside linebackers Clint Session and Freddy Keiaho, Dungy said.
"Tyjuan's coming around and he's really ready to go," Dungy said. "The problem is Clint and Freddy have played well. We'll try to get him in and get him some activity, and try to use him. I don't know how much and where just yet, but he's itching to play."
Dungy said Hagler's situation is similar to that of offensive tackle Tony Ugoh, who started at left tackle in the first two games of the season. Ugoh missed a Week 3 loss to Jacksonville with a groin injury and has been a reserve the last three games.
"He's practiced well the last two weeks," Dungy said. "I think he's kind of like Tyjuan. He's in good shape and ready to go and we just have to decide how we can get him in and what works best for our unit, but he's ready to play."
Dungy also said that with rookie Pierre Garcon expected to handle punt returns for the first time Sunday, wide receivers Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez and Marvin Harrison are emergency options there, as is rookie safety Jamie Silva.
"We have enough guys to go to, but hopefully that won't be necessary," Dungy said.
Dungy also said he didn't know for sure a timetable on the return of offensive guard Ryan Lilja, who has spent the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. A starter the past four seasons, Lilja has been out this season with a knee injury.
Under NFL rules, the Colts must activate Lilja by the end of next week or place him on injured reserve, a move that would end his season.
"He's doing some running work," Dungy said. "We haven't gotten him involved in practice yet. He feels better. As far as when he's going to be able to go into contact work, we don't know yet. . . .
"If we put him on active, that doesn't mean he has to dress or play, but he would then occupy a roster spot. . . .
"We'll see. We're hoping that by next week he feels good enough that we can at least have idea that, 'Hey, in two weeks he'll be ready to play,' or, 'In a week he'll be able to play,' but right now, we're not sure."
Also on Friday, the Colts released their final injury reof the week, 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 were listed on the injury report on Thursday and Friday as not practicing and likely won't play Monday, Dungy said. Tamme did not participate Friday, according to the injury report.
Addai, who missed just one game in his first two NFL seasons, missed last week's game against Green Bay.
"You've got to be smart," Addai said. "I've talked to a lot of older guys on the team. Regardless, you want to go out and play, so that's the biggest thing, but at the same time, you don't want to go out there and set yourself back. I think that's where I am right now. I want to go out there, but I don't want to be stupid. That's the biggest thing, really being smart about what's going on and trusting the trainers and the staff about how I should go about it.
"You want to play in all games, no matter what. You want to be out there, but at the same time, if you go out there and get hurt again, you're hurting your team. It's not about yourself. It's about the team. You have to make the right decision."