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Quotes (9/4): Cowboys Garrett & Romo

Posted Sep 4, 2013

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett answers questions from the New York media.

Coach Jason Garrett

Q: Could you update us on your injury situation?

A: Anybody in particular you’re interested in?

Q: Anthony Spencer.
A: I don’t know Spencer’s status yet. He didn’t do very much today. Hopefully he does a little something tomorrow and we’ll see how he does the rest of the week.

Q: With the Giants starting a rookie at right tackle, would you be tempted to move DeMarcus Ware over to that side?
A: We’ll come up with a plan and try to figure out what the best matchups are really throughout the team. Obviously, he’s a highly regarded rookie who was taken in the first round and was a pretty darn good player coming out. So we have a real healthy respect for everybody on the Giants, particularly that offensive line. We’ll try to look for the best matchups throughout the team, but we have a real healthy respect for what those guys do offensively.

Q: When you guys were in the 3-4, DeMarcus used to go on both sides and switch.
A: He’s been a guy who has really played all over the place for the most part. Typically, he’s on the offensive left hand side. He has been for a lot of years, but we moved him around a little bit like the Giants do with their defensive alignment.

Q: How have your players taken to the new defense and has it been much of an adjustment for them?
A: It’s been a little different. We’ve been a 3-4 team for a number of years and a lot of the guys who have been here have been in that style of defense maybe throughout their whole career, but I do think they like it. We worked very hard to implement the scheme throughout the offseason and through training camp. Obviously, Monte Kiffin is one of the great coordinators ever in the National Football League and having a guy like Rod Marinelli… They have been together for so long in Tampa and know each other well. Those are two really good guys to implement the scheme and our players have worked very hard to understand what we’re asking them to do and it’s a work in progress like everything on your football team at this time of year, but we’re excited to get a chance to play in a ball game.

Q: How much do you emphasize to your players that the Giants have come down four times in a row and have won in Dallas?
A: The Giants are a great organization. They’ve been a great football team for a number of years and we’ve had some great games against them both down at our place and also up there in New York. Every time you play the Giants you’re going to be challenged really from top to bottom: coaches and players. The whole deal. We understand what kind of team they are, regardless of where you’re playing, and we’re working very hard to get ready for that challenge.

Q: How much have you talked about the need to create more turnovers this year?
A: We talk about it a lot. It’s the most critical stat in football. I think if you go back the last 100 years, I think that’s the most revealing statistic year in and year out in terms of its correlation to winning and losing games in the NFL. It’s just so important and we haven’t taken the ball away enough in recent years. It directly impacts the amount of points the offense is going to score because the field position it creates and obviously that correlates to winning games. So it essentially is taking away an opportunity from them and giving you an additional opportunity and when you do that on a consistent basis week in and week out, you’re going to win a lot of games. We understand that. We try to drill it a lot of different ways and emphasize it a lot of different ways and hopefully that emphasis will carry into the ball game.

Q: Do you game plan as if JPP is going to be out there 60 plays per game and then adjust if he’s not?
A: I certainly anticipate him playing and playing at full strength for the whole ballgame and anything less than that, you make the adjustment off of that, but you certainly have to have a plan for him. He’s an outstanding player both against the run and against the pass and he shows up. He’s an impact player and we’ve got to make sure we have a great plan for him.


QB Tony Romo

Q: How would say the offense progressed during the preseason?
A: I just think you’re trying to do some things that you like and hold back on some things that you’re going to use going forward and just try and get into a rhythm and go out and move the ball and get first downs and score touchdowns and I think more than anything you want to take over what you’re doing in training camp and make sure that the games are really the same and we’ve been doing that, so it’s been good.

Q: How different of a look is it for the Giants’ defense if JPP is out there versus if he’s not?
A: He’ll be out there. I think more than anything we’re already having to plan for him and we’ve already got that part of it done. Obviously he’s a great player, so you’ve got to account for him so we’re going to have to do that and we will.

Q: Do you guys discuss that the Giants have won the last four games played in your building?
A: No. We don’t talk about it. It’s a brand new football team that we have. We feel strongly about our football team this year and what we’ve done to get better since last season and so the better team will win on Sunday and I think you’re just going into it with the approach that you’ve got to keep getting better every day here and give yourself the best chance for that on Sunday.

Q: The Giants’ defense finished 31st in the league last year. Do you see a defense that’s on the decline?
A: I think more than anything… You’re going to say whatever stat you want to to dictate whatever it is you’re trying to get across, but if you also look they were very good in the red zone and they were very good at creating turnovers. I don’t know what you want or what’s more important philosophy-wise for them. I do know they’re very disruptive. They have a very good front and they have some players who you have to account for and make sure don’t wreck the game and we’re going to try and do that.

Q: What does it add to you as a player when you open the season against such a longtime rival in the Giants?
A: I just think, no matter who it is, the first game of the year is always an important game and it’s something you look forward to for a long time. You put a lot of time and effort and commitment into something to get ready to go out and do what you love to do and that’s play football and competition in general. It’s a great thing we get to do. So I don’t think you should ever take that for granted.

Q: Jason Witten had 18 catches in the second game last year. Was it something the Giants were doing that game that left him open?
A: I don’t really want to answer that question. It’s a good question though.

Q: Do you feel like this is the year your team can make the postseason and make some noise there?
A: It’s a great question, but more than anything, you can’t look that far ahead. Literally, we’re in the first Wednesday of the first game of the season and so our objective right now is to figure out a way to come up with the best plan possible to beat the Giants and then from there it’s go out and execute the plan on Wednesday. We’re not even thinking about actually stepping on the field yet. It’s about getting the stuff tightened up that we need to here to give us the best chance to go out come Sunday and just play 100 miles per hour. I think more than anything you just have to take that approach.

Q: In that game, that second game where Witten went nuts pretty much, I think you guys had something like 19 total rushing yards.  Do you feel like the offense is a little more balanced this year and how much is that going to help you as a quarterback, both in that game and throughout the season?
A: I can guarantee we’ll be more balanced than 19 yards rushing.  I can go ahead and go out on a limb and tell you that.  That would be a rarity, I think.  Playing in the NFL, you get behind sometimes in certain games and you just have to throw the ball.  You have to be in those situations, you really don’t want to, but once or twice a year those games kind of come up and they just happen.  That’s the reality of the league and I think more than anything, we want to be balanced, we want to go out there, we want to run the ball great, but if we’re exploiting a team a certain way, we’ll take the advantage we can there.  If we can exploit them in the run game, we’ll take those advantages.  We don’t pigeon-hole ourselves and say you have to do this or that.  That’s just not good on anyone’s part.  I think more than anything, you’ll attack the weaknesses of the defense consistently in different ways.  

Q: What has Miles Austin been able to do this preseason and how confident are you that he can really be a weapon for you guys?
A: He’s had a great preseason and really just training camp.  To me, preseason means training camp because the games felt very similar.  We got at a tempo that feels a lot like a game and we were doing similar stuff in training camp.  We did it in the preseason as far as movement of the ball and we’re just going to put our head down and keep going to work.  He’s done a great job.  To answer your question, he’s had a great camp, he’s really running good.  He’s got some juice and he’s got some explosiveness that you can see, it jumps off on tape.  

Q: Tony, there’s a lot of talk in the offseason about how your role might be expanded in terms of your contribution to the offense, game planning. How has your game week changed as a result of any of that?
A: More than anything, just a lot of meetings.  Just a lot of time as far as going in and coming up with a plan and putting in some of the things that we’re going to feel confident about this week and some of the new stuff that we like.  I think it’s a good thing when you have experience and you’ve played the position long enough.  I think that’s part of the progression that takes shape.

Q: Do you enjoy it?
A: Absolutely.  I think that’s one of the most fun aspects.  Watching tape, getting film and just grinding over it all week; coming up with an idea and a plan and different plays and different situations; different things that are going to give the defense trouble and going out and execute those things.   I can’t imagine there being a more fun thing really.   

Q: Tony, you had to deal with this a couple of years ago yourself, the Giants now are hosting the Super Bowl this year.  What kind of a burden is that at the beginning of the season?
A: It’s whatever you make it to be.  I think more than anything, if you’re already thinking about January or February right now, you’re probably not doing what you need to do for September.  I think for us, you put your head down and you go to work.  You go and get the best week possible as far as practice goes, film room, putting in the time that it takes to be at your absolute best and then, go out there and execute it.  When it’s done, it’s done.  You put it aside and you go right back and you put your head down and you do it again.  That’s the challenge of this league and the greatness in it is the guys who are grinders.  They make it.  

Q: So then it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for a team to hang up a Super Bowl countdown clock, would it?
A: I’m going to let you decide on whatever because that sounds like a loaded question.