Press Conference: Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett

cowboysDallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett talks with reporters after the Cowboys’ 44-17 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

 

On approaching the game as a game that counted toward the playoffs:

“That is the approach we took. We knew the outcome of this game was going to matter. Our job was to take care of what we needed to take care of and control what we can control. That’s what we did and we practiced the right way this week. I thought we played the right way today. A big part of this game was how we started it. I thought we did a great job offensively, cashing in early. I thought we responded well after they made the big play and kept putting it on them. We knew it was going to be a 60-minute game and we kept our guys in there to go play and to win this game. I thought we did a great job working through the sticky moments in the game and then did a good job finishing.”

 

On the onside kick:

“It is something we saw going into the game. We saw an opportunity to do it and I think we had two or three kickoffs prior to that. We were getting the look we liked so we thought it was the right thing to do at the time to steal a possession.”

 

On running back DeMarco Murray breaking former running back Emmitt Smith’s rushing record:

“We don’t talk about records. But obviously he has had a fantastic year. He is a great football player. I think he has demonstrated that to everyone since he has come into this league. The stuff that jumps out at me about his is his physical toughness and mental toughness. Obviously a very complete back, he does everything. Coming back from that hand surgery a couple of weeks ago, he went back to playing just six days later and being who he is. He is an awfully good football player and his impact on this team is significant.”

 

On the play of quarterback Tony Romo:

“I have been impressed by tony romo for a long time. He is a hell of a football player and again I will use the same expression, mental toughness and physical toughness. That is line one when you describe him. I think he has demonstrated that throughout his career. There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to come back from surgery. I know how hard he worked in the offseason to come back and all the things he did to get himself to be the quarterback we have known him to be for a long time. Orchestrated everything this year and I thought he was a great decision maker with a lot of big plays for us. He did a really good job of leading our offense and leading our football team from minute one. He has been a hell of a player for a long time and has had a great year.”

 

On wide receiver Dez Bryant:

“To set the tone is what we wanted to do in all three phases of the game. When you make a big play like that against an all-out pressure, you do set the tone. He is a hard guy to tackle. We got him out in space when they brought everybody, made the corner miss and ran it in. Then he makes the play with the nine route with a remarkable catch and puts his foot down in the end zone. He’s done that throughout his career. He is a hell of a football player. The passion that he plays with and the kind of teammate everything that he is, is infectious and contagious. Everyone responds to it on our team.”

 

 

 

On if the onside kick was about providing aggression or a specific look the coaches had:

“I think it is always a combination. I think we saw something that we liked and it was verified again early in the ballgame with the kickoffs we had. You take advantage of those opportunities and at the end it comes down to a guy who makes a great kick and we do a great job of recovering it.”

 

On winning the division and going to the playoffs:

“Obviously it was a good year for us. We have done a lot of good things up until this point. It is a tribute to the players, the coaches and the staff members on this team, how they came to work each and every day. [They have] overcome any obstacle and adversity to keep coming back to get better every day. They keep fighting for each other. That has been a big mantra for us right from the start and they demonstrated it day in and day out in practice and in the games we have played. We talk a lot about being your best regardless of the circumstances. Don’t tell me what the circumstances are, good, bad or indifferent; go be your best. Be your best individually so we can be your best collectively. I think we have done that and we are proud of a lot of different things about this season. Certainly the overall record, the division championship, being 8-0 on the road. All those things reaffirm that idea that we are going to control what we can control, be our best every day and let the results be what they are. We have challenges ahead and we are going to learn from this ball game. The players will be off tomorrow. When we find out who we play we will get back to work on Tuesday as a ‘Tuesday’ or a ‘Wednesday’ to get ready for the next challenge.”

 

On comparing wide receiver Dez Bryant, quarterback Tony Romo and running back DeMarco Murray with past players:
“I don’t like comparisons but certainly it’s in the form of offensive football that we like – big strong offensive lineman to run the football, quarterback playing at a very high level and efficient, which makes them defend the run and then a big-play receiver outside, obviously, [who] is productive with other receivers. We believe we have the best tight end on the ball. [Wide receiver] Terrence Williams has shown what he can do. [Wide receiver] Cole Beasley has shown what he can do. Our backup runners have shown what they can do. Our other tight ends contribute. It’s a lot of different people contributing to what we are doing on offense. It starts with dominating at the line of scrimmage with those big guys up at front. They make everything go and everyone has a piece in it.”

 

On not resting key players before the third quarter:

“We came in to win this ballgame and we were going to do what we needed to do to win the game. We understand the implication of playing guys and the threat and risk of injury. We get all that, but there’s a scenario that the outcome of this game matters so we were going to control what we could control. Our players practice that way all week long and I thought we’d play that way.”

 

On offensive efficiency:

“As much as anything else, we come to the line of scrimmage and have a balanced attack. You run the football, control the football, control with the different guys and you just execute and do your job over and over again knowing good things are going to happen. We have playmakers on our team. If guys go out there and do their job, plays are going to be made. We believe we have that and it starts with having physical offense – physical upfront, physical on the edges, physical runners and physical receiver. And that is the most important thing and we emphasize that maybe more than anything else – come off the ball and control the line of scrimmage and be a physical team and everything will follow from that.”

 

On if he knew linebacker Bruce Carter was such a playmaker:

“I did know that. He has play making skills and has always demonstrated that. We have a turnover-takeover board in our defensive room and Bruce Carter’s name is at the top of it. He’s blocked kicks, intercepted passes, and led them back. He made two huge plays in the game today when they were down in the red area trying to get back in this ballgame, so he has those traits about him and has proved in so many different areas as a player. It has made a big difference in our football team.”

 

On defensive end Anthony Spencer’s performance coming off an injury:

“Talking about guys coming back from injury, the road that Spence has taken from his injury is as big as anybody’s – lots of obstacles and different adversities to overcome. But again, it comes from his mental toughness. I think we’ve seen Spence the last few weeks as a healthier guy who has shown up more as a pass rusher and making those plays.”

 

On what attributes to their 8-0 record on the road:

“Well, a combination of things. Obviously, it’s a challenge to play on the road but that mantra of mental toughness to be your best regardless of circumstances is something we really believe in. And don’t tell me where we’re playing – it’s home, it’s away, it’s the parking lot. You’ll hear me say that all the time, ‘Let’s just go and be our best,’ and I think our guys understand that and I think today was a great illustration of that. Just go play football at the best of your ability.”

 

On the injuries to defensive tackle Henry Melton and linebacker Anthony Hitchens:

“Henry hurt his knee and Hitch hurt his ankle so we’ll see what their availability is and how they respond to things.”

 

On the absence of linebacker Rolando McClain:

“He was sick. He’s had a 102-103 fever for the last couple of days so obviously he wanted to come but by the time we were leaving yesterday, nothing had really changed so it was in the best interest of him and the football team not to be here.”

 

On his message to the team after the win:

“Congratulations. It was a good day. It has been a good regular season for us. There’s a lot to feel good about, but we’ll learn from this tape and get ready for the next challenge.”

 

On his excitement to be in the playoffs:

“I’m excited about it. This is what we worked for and winning the division is the first goal because it’s an opportunity to play in the playoffs. I’m excited to see who we play and when we’ll play them and get ready for those challenges. This is a lot of hard work by everybody to get to this point so it’s time to take advantage of that.”

 

On the team’s focus on playing to win:

“We’re going to practice and go play and everyone understands that. We’re going to take advantage of this opportunity. There’s no meaningless standard or meaningless plays. It’s an opportunity for everyone. It’s most certainly an opportunity for our football team and I believe we all got better as a team today.”

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