Q: Thoughts on the loss of Sean Lee:
A: Sean Lee is a great football player. Anybody who watches our team can see that. He’s a heck of a young man who loves to play the game, and plays it really well. He’s very good against the run, he’s really good against the pass; leader of our defense, makes the calls. Guys gravitate towards him. They gravitate towards him on defense and really throughout our whole football team. It will certainly be a loss. There are a number of teams, ourselves included, I know the Giants as well, you lose players like this over the course of the year and you have to have a ‘next man up’ philosophy. That’s the mantra. The next guy has to go in there and play and we feel good about the guys who can go in and play in Sean’s place, but he’s certainly an outstanding football player and a big part of what we’re trying to do here.
Q: How will you continue your stellar pass attack against a Giants team that has gotten healthier in the secondary since your last meeting?
A: Well it’s a great challenge. Anytime you throw the ball against the Giants, it starts with protecting the passer. They have an outstanding front. They have linebackers who can cover. They have guys on the back end who can cover the outside receivers and your inside guys as well. They’re very good on defense. It starts with being able to handle their front. They challenge you a lot of different ways with those guys. They have a lot of them, first and foremost, and they keep coming. We have to start with our protection, but at the same time, hopefully we can get some combinations working and attack them on the back end.
Q: You guys were able to get the ball out quickly in the last meeting, does that go hand-in-hand with keeping the Giants pass rush at bay?
A: Anytime you play a team that rushes the passer as well as the Giants, you want to make sure you have some quick options for your quarterback. I think we did a good job in that game running the slants. We also made some plays down the field. You have to be able to do both against a team as good as the Giants on defense and really throughout their team. They’re so good on offense and they put the pressure on you that way as well. They have some playmakers on special teams. You try to do a few different things to attack them different ways, both in the run game and in the pass game, and hopefully you can move the ball and make some big plays in the game.
Q: Update on DeMarco Murray:
A: DeMarco did not practice today. He has a foot sprain that he’s been dealing with for the last couple weeks. We’re hopeful it will heal up, but we’re certainly taking it slow with him, and like I said, he didn’t practice today and we’ll just see how he progresses day to day.
Q: Do you use the fact that the Cowboys have not defeated the Giants at the new stadium as motivation to your team?
A: We certainly want to play well at home, but at the same time, we want to play well on the road. They’re a division opponent, so there are implications whenever you play within your division. They’re a team that we played a lot of really good games against through the years. They certainly know us, we feel like we know them, like most division rivals do. Regardless of where we play them, we want to play well. Certainly you want to protect your home field advantage and certainly play well at home, but you want to play well on the road, you want to play well in the parking lot, you want to play well on the moon. Our players hear me say that a lot. It will be a great challenge for us at our place on Sunday against this football team.
Q: How have you seen Jason Witten progress since Week 1 when he played through that serious injury?
A: It was really an amazing thing that he was able to play in that ball game. He hadn’t practiced in close to a month and was determined that he could be cleared to play in that game and he was determined to play. He had a slightly lacerated spleen. It was a tremendous effort on his part and I think it showed a lot (about how) committed he is to playing and to his teammates. Our team really responded well. He really wasn’t right in that game or in the next couple weeks and mostly because he hadn’t practiced in awhile and was dealing with his injury. Since then, he really seems to be playing like himself. He seems healthy. He’s caught a lot of balls the last couple, three weeks. Seems like he’s playing the way Jason Witten has played throughout his career.
Q: What have you seen lately from Miles Austin?
A: I think Miles has played well. He was dealing with a hamstring injury coming out of training camp and wasn’t completely healthy and was playing in ball games and still being productive. He was productive again the other day; had five catches for close to 100 yards and a touchdown. He’s a tough guy and can just figure out how to get himself open and make some plays. We’ve had some games where he’s had fewer catches, where say Dez Bryant had many more catches. I think Dez had 13 catches one week and eight the next week. Miles had a little production, but throughout the year, Miles seems to continue to make some plays for our team, some small plays, but also some bigger plays that has allowed us to score some points.
Q: Have you seen a lot of familiar stuff from the Giants offense recently that you saw in Week 1 when you played them pretty well?
A: They’re a great offense. They really are. They can throw the ball with anybody in this league. They have a lot of weapons outside; obviously Eli is an outstanding quarterback. They protect him well; they don’t give up a lot of sacks. They have the ability to move the ball, but also make big plays. It seems like they’re running the ball well, so when they have that balance they can be pretty dangerous. There are a lot of different things that they do on offense that you have to be ready for, both in their regular offense, but also in their nickel offense when they get extra receivers out there. They challenge you so many different ways and they seem to be able to make a lot of plays. We will have our hands full. We did a lot of good things in that first game, but trust me, they’re an outstanding offense. It’s easy to see that when you watch them on tape. We’ll have our hands full trying to slow those guys down.
Q: You have had a lot of yards, but it hasn’t really translated it into a lot of points, what is the root of that? Is it turnovers, red zone efficiency? What is it?
A: I think it’s a combination of both. We haven’t gotten a lot of takeaways on defense, which always contributes to scoring points. We have turned the ball over too much. We haven’t been as consistent as we’d like to be in the red zone. You drive the football down there, you want to score every time and you want to score a touchdown. At times, we’ve done a good job of that, other times we haven’t. Some of it has to do with situations that we’ve been in, but for the most part, we have to be able to be more efficient there, but also make some more plays once we get down there. Eliminating the turnovers and getting some takeaways certainly will help our offensive production as well.
Q: Update on Felix Jones:
A: Felix did not practice today. We’re hopeful that he’ll come in tomorrow and be a little further along so he can practice. (He’s) dealing with a little bit of a knee issue. We’ll see as the week progresses. Certainly hopeful that he’ll be able to play in the game.
Q: Is there any need to remind your guys of
A: We have great respect for him, and really for their whole defensive front. They have a number of players up there who just do an outstanding job. Jason Pierre-Paul has proven that he is a difference-making type player in a game. He can defend the run. He affects the quarterback in the pass game. He gets his hand on the ball. You see him on special teams and he just does a lot of different things for their team and just makes a lot of plays. We certainly are aware of him, both as a defensive player and in the kicking game, just like anybody would be if you’re playing him. We have to make sure we’re at our best to control him and not let him negatively impact the game for us.