"We want to assure everyone that our thoughts are with them in the northeast about being safe and making sure everyone’s family is safe during this time of uncertainty. None of us really know what to expect, so we’re all hanging in there, but our thoughts, good thoughts for everyone that’s in the path of this thing."How are things up there for you guys right now?It’s gusty, you can tell. It’s raining some, but it really isn’t prohibitive at this point in time.
Business as usual for you guys today?We’ve been business per usual since we landed last night, in terms of we got a little bit of rest and we got the film graded and got started on our game plan with the coaches and that sort of thing. The players, we felt it was in the best interest of the safety and security of our players, that they remain home, that they stay with their families, that they make sure that their wives and children are fine during this time. There’s so much uncertainty. We did have our normal medical meeting, our training room responsibilities, they all met this morning. However, there is no access to anything outside of our building, so we really don’t know much about it. There’s been no MRI’s or anything of that nature. I did adjust the schedule in that what we’re going to do is; we’re pretty good at the mid-stream adjustment thing. I was thinking in terms of all of our football related people that are here in the building today. Supposedly the window of safety is up until four, or late afternoon, early evening. What we’ve asked our coaches to do is we adjusted the schedule in terms of how we’ll put the game plan together, and we’ll push things back Wednesday morning and move our training room a little bit deeper into the morning and go ahead and treat this as if it were a Monday night game in terms of our day getting started on Wednesday. We’ve made adjustments, the coaches can take their laptops and go home to their families and make sure their families are safe and their children, rest assured, Dad is at home. If there is any kind of wind damage or any kind of water damage or any loss of power, the wives would be a little bit more secure. In order to do that, I made the necessary adjustments and hopefully the guys will be able to get back in here tomorrow late morning and we’ll push everything to tomorrow night. The winds are predicted to subside early Tuesday afternoon. I think at that point in time, the guys will be able to travel. All of that is just trying to do the smart thing, that’s all.
Injury report?Well, I can’t tell you that. I don’t know much about that. I know we have some guys with some nicks, there’s no doubt. We’re going to have some issues right away. We don’t know much…we know Chase (Blackburn) left the game with a hamstring. Bear (Pascoe) left the game with an ankle sprain. Antrel (Rolle) could not come back in after hitting his head, taking a tumble and hitting his head on the ground. We’re going to have to wait and see on that stuff.
Did Antrel have a concussion?I don’t know, we’re not sure about that just yet. He knows that he was a little dizzy when he came off the field. I saw him on the plane and he said he was fine, he didn’t seem to have any issues, and he had no headache. Hopefully he can make…. I’m sure he’ll still have to go through the protocol, but hopefully he’ll be ok.
You’re 6-2 and you have a 2.5 game lead in the division, how do you keep your foot on the pedal?Not enough. The way we keep our foot on the pedal, if you look at last night, probably the best thing we were able to do was team concept. We have some grit, we have some drive, we have some determination, we do have some mental toughness, we have been in many big games, many times where things haven’t gone our way on the road, and yet, we were able to hang in there. We got the big lead. To look at just the football side of it, the plus-4 in turnovers was huge. A lot of that happened right away in the game. Sure, we would like to have touchdowns instead of field goals and then perhaps in the long run, it wouldn’t have been as close as it was taking advantage of that, but we did. That’s the Achilles heel for us right now. Punching the ball in the end zone when we do get into the green zone. We haven’t done a very good job of that. We did get a nice turnover with our special teams outfit on our punt coverage. Our punter was a 46.5 net, which is outstanding. We were five for five in field goals. Those things were all positive. On defense, we had the four sacks and four interceptions and the two fumble recoveries. We did do a good job defending the run. Those were all good. We didn’t do a good job on third down. We gave up a ton of pass yardage. We gave up touchdowns in the red zone. All the things we talk about trying to stop. We were able to rise up at the end of the game. (We) did an outstanding job of keeping the ball out of the end zone, even the play to (Dez) Bryant late in the game didn’t have to happen. It was initially a double move and he got behind us and Michael Coe was right there to make a play on the ball. We just had trouble making a play on the ball, but he was definitely out of bounds. Offensively, what we did do is we had a little semblance of the run game late in the game. In the fourth quarter and the second half, we did have some run game. We didn’t rush for over 100 yards, but what we did have missing was obviously the big play and execution in the pass game. It wasn’t there. They did a nice job. They played a lot of people in coverage. They kept an umbrella, if you will, over the top of us. We should’ve had more consistency with which we play the game from an offensive standpoint. We didn’t. The start helped us in many ways. Our first drive culminated in a field goal, which was a good thing, but based on that, we should’ve had some opportunities to score some touchdowns and we didn’t. You look at the incredible plays in the game, the JPP interception and score with the interception was just an outstanding football play. We got pretty good pressure on the quarterback the majority of the day with our front. We did create some hurried throws with the pressure on defense. We were pretty solid with the exception of the one kickoff return we gave up with our special teams outfit, although we didn’t get much from our kickoff return and punt return, which we really thought we could do something with that to give ourselves a spark. There was some good, there was some bad. We hung together; we hung in there. Momentum changed, as you know in the second quarter and we still hung in there. We came back with the kickoff, thought we were going to stop them, they drove the length of the field and scored. They actually took the lead and scored, but we came back. The one turnover in the running game where we had an outstanding play by Keith Rivers just knocking the offensive people back into the face of the runner. I couldn’t really even see it on film, but the ball did come out and the outstanding play of Stevie Brown again, with two interceptions and a fumble recovery, that being the fumble recovery right there where he put a lump in my throat when he tried to pick it up and didn’t, but was able to get back on it and cover it. You have to get the ball for us right there. You can’t take a chance if it’s going to be close. He’s an aggressive guy and it worked out for him, but get the ball back for us if it’s close, just get it covered up. That field goal, it was obvious there that they needed a touchdown, and not just a field goal. The other team’s plays, we were keeping them out of the end zone…they went incomplete, incomplete and then threw what amounted to the interception there. We played it by the book and used up all of their timeouts. We had a very good pressure punt by Steve Weatherford, was as good as we’ve had around here, where he drove the ball 44 yards, not out of bounds. When Bryant touched the ball there was no potential for a return. Then, they started their drive on the 30-yard line. Then there’s unmentioned yesterday, the longest 10 seconds I’ve ever been around. They got three plays in 10 seconds. Two of which went to the end zone. Seems like a little much to me. We’ll have to see if we can get some kind of response from the league on that.
If you tried to, could you manage to execute three plays in 10 seconds?I don’t think so. When there were seven seconds, I was telling the coaches this morning, when there are 10 seconds, and you’ve got the ball. We keep trying at it, and you’ve.- Excuse me, I meant seven seconds and you know that that’s happened to us. Then I rushed in there, taking a timeout, and then said, ‘You know what? We can’t take a chance on this, go ahead and kick the field goal' with seven. Based on that, the way in which that was projected last night, we could’ve had two plays.
What do you think was the reason for that last night?You were at the game. You saw it. I don’t have any answer for you, other than the fact that they had two plays in the end zone that are going to take more than four seconds apiece. I don’t have any other formula than that. You have to speculate on the rest of that.
RE: Jason Pierre-Paul’s interception and development:That is his ability level. He was obviously, he rushed. The quarterback was trying to elude everyone to the side of the field where the formation’s strength was. He had the tight end on the out, breaking a route to the short side of the field, to his left. I think he wanted to go there. When he looked, there was coverage there. So, he thought he had the wide route to the back and he tried to just go back there with the illusion of not spending a lot of time looking over there. JPP was in the line of fire. Not only was he able to gather up, he caught it clean and ran it to the end zone. So, it was just an outstanding football play. One of the ones where you see, every now and then, you’ll see a football to the defensive lineman, grabbing it and running for a score. That happened to us here. You know that it was just a great play.
How do you react when a guy like Stevie Brown, who has been waiting for an opportunity to contribute on defense? Going in and does what he’s done for you guys, how do you assess that? What does that say about him?Well, the first thing I react to is by telling you that I’m the greatest cheerleader in the world. I mean, I look out there, who this guy is and where the ball is. I think it’s a great tribute to him. He has played very well and he has been where the ball is. That’s something that really has helped us. I mean, you’re looking at a team; we’re now plus-13 (in turnovers) after eight games. I would like to hope that this could continue, because it’s creating opportunities for us that are so difficult to get when it’s simply on your own. He’s been the guy who has been able to be on the spot and anticipate. He obviously has a very good knack for being wherever he is, if we’re anticipating where the ball is going and arriving there very close. The first interception was outstanding, where he was the centerfielder. He’s done a very good job, he’s being recognized by all of us, and has been a huge factor in our being able to win a few games in a row.
RE: On addressing the offense’s struggle to score touchdowns in the red zone:We’ve addressed it forever. We work it the same way, every week. We study, we work hard, we think we have a nice play and we think we can run with things. You saw it yesterday, even after the interception. We kicked the field goal to go up by five. We thought we were in really good shape there. Having run it a couple of times, we had gotten it down in their territory. Then, the key third down came up and we didn’t convert. We didn’t convert third downs, yesterday. We were 20 percent on third down. That’s not good. We’ve got a lot of things to work on. I probably could have given you a few other things that have been bothersome to us that the guys will attack. We’ll study it, we’ll work at it, and we’ll pay the price. We’ll do what we have to do. We need to make some plays in that situation. It’s not like there’s any situation in football that doesn’t get addressed here on a weekly basis. Believe me, it gets addressed every week. It gets addressed in due diligence, in time allotment. Football is cumulative at the professional level. One week’s knowledge leaps forward into another week’s knowledge. It has to be that way. You just don’t get the number of snaps on a weekly basis. You have to be cumulative. That’s what we are. We’ll point that out. There won’t be any plays out. The players already know it. They know we weren’t efficient this week. They didn’t do the job that we needed to do. In order to continue, I keep talking about playing in harmony, all three phases have got to do their jobs. They’ve got to help each other out. That will be the objective. The players will have that. They’ll come up with that, before I even have to mention it.
You’ve had a lot of 6-2 starts in your tenure as head coach. Just how critical of a juncture is that in the season to keep things going? Rather than going in the other direction?It’s a huge plus to be where we are. We’ve battled back from looking at, from being at 1-2 in the division, to being 2-2 in the division. We know how difficult this league is, we know how difficult these games that we play and our divisional opponents play week-in and week-out. It’s not easy to win. It’s very difficult in this league to win and there is tremendous parity. It’s just a point that we’ve got to keep going here and we’ve got a very, very tough opponent coming in next week. It just gives you something to move on from.
You want players to be mindful of 6-2 and not get into some of the problems that you’ve gotten into in some of the other seasons?Here you go again with the problems that we’ve gotten into. We’re going to talk about the string of four games last year. We’re going to talk about the losses. I’m telling you like I told you before. Throughout the course of those games, we played some very, very difficult opponents. We lost by a couple of points here and a couple of points there, with the exception of one game. There’s nobody looking at this as anything other than what it is. We’re very happy to be 6-2. We have a long way to go. We have a lot of work to do to be the team that we want to be. While it’s nice to put that number up there, at this point in time, the significance is how we continue to grow and develop as a team from the start that we’ve had.