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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dungy impressed with Titans' start

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts insist it won't take a titanic effort to get back in the division chase.

They just have to get back to being themselves.

Four weeks into the season, the team that has dominated the AFC South for half a decade finds itself trying to stay out of the division cellar as it heads to Houston. Meanwhile, the Colts' one-time nemesis, Tennessee, is one of only two NFL teams to open 4-0, leaving a 2 1/2-game gap between the five-time defending division champs and the current division leader.

"I'm not worried about that (the slow start) as much as I am about us," Dungy said. "We certainly don't want to go to 1-3. We don't want to have two division losses back-to-back and get behind the 8-ball that way. We just have to start playing better."

The Colts' early-season struggles have put them in a hole.

Indianapolis is 1-2, has already lost at home to division rival Jacksonville and now needs a win at Houston to avoid a three-game losing streak against AFC South foes and to avoid a last-place tie with the winless Texans. The Colts also lost to Tennessee at home in the regular-season finale last year as they rested most starters.

Dungy, never one to panic, isn't about to start now.

After watching Tennessee beat Minnesota on Sunday, Dungy understood how tough it could be to get back to the top of the AFC South.

"They have been as impressive as anybody I've seen all year," Dungy said. "They're not turning the ball over, they're playing really hard on defense and making it tough for the other team to score. Consequently, they're 4-0. That's what we want to gear into, see if we can get back to playing that way."

NO ROOF CONCERNS: One of the more intriguing aspects about the Colts' new home stadium, Lucas Oil Field, has been the question of whether the Colts would play better with the retractable roof open or closed.

That's a decision the home team makes.

This week, the Colts don't have a choice -- the roof at Houston will be open after it was damaged during Hurricane Ike.

Dungy believes it won't make much difference to the Colts, who played in the comfort-controlled environment of the RCA Dome during 1984-2007.

"It'll be fine," Dungy said. "We've played with the roof open down there before and it's warm, but it's livable."

The Reliant Stadium roof lost five pieces in the storm and officials said large pieces of debris fell inside. The roof couldn't be fixed in time for the game against Indianapolis, but insurance adjusters and architects said it is structurally sound to host the game with the roof open.

Houston will be playing its first home game of the season after the Sept. 14 game was postponed because of the storm.

It's the latest an NFL team has had its home opener since 2001, when Detroit, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh didn't play a home game until the weekend of Oct. 7-8 after Week 2 was postponed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Colts have traditionally been one of the league's best road teams, and their only win this season came at Minnesota.

So perhaps going to Houston, where the Colts are 5-1 all-time, will help Indianapolis get back on track.

"I think it helps, obviously, not having to play TicketMaster and worry about who's eating lunch or whatever," middle linebacker Gary Brackett said. "I think coach Dungy does a great job preparing us for what we face on the road, the noise that kind of stuff."

QUICK HITS: The Colts are allowing 199.3 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry, but they're not the worst in the NFL defending the run. They're 31st. Detroit is yielding 207.7 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry. ... Another problem has been the turnover margin. The Colts, usually in the league's top 10, were tied for 24th with a minus-3 ratio after Sunday's games. ... Two-time league MVP Peyton Manning also finds himself in an uncustomary position. His quarterback rating of 73.1 is better than only four AFC quarterbacks -- Baltimore rookie Joe Flacco, injured Carson Palmer of Cincinnati, Kansas City's one-time starter Tyler Thigpen and Cleveland's Derek Anderson.

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