I said pretty much what I have to say about this last night. I don’t really have anything new to add. I did tell our team that I thought that what had occurred was correctible and that we could make those adjustments, those corrections, and move forward and be a better team. Certainly better than what we displayed last night. So I think enough has been said by me about the turnovers.
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I thought the long interception return by Ryan Mundy was an outstanding play, a tip-ball play where it appeared that Romo and Williams were not on the same page. Prince tips the ball up and Ryan takes a 91-yarder and actually inside the 1-yard line. It looked like he was going to be able to score, but Murray did a nice job of hustling. Those things occurred and we were in position way too many times with interceptions, fumbles and those types of things. But yet we never were discouraged and this is something that I really am very proud of. It would have been really easy last night… It didn’t appear that things were going to go our way and yet we battled back to a 30-24 score with five minutes and something left and the minus 45-yard line and I totally expected we would go in and score and win the game.
We’ve done it before with the same amount of time down 10 points and been able to come back and go ahead and win. We expected, and I think everybody expected, that to happen and it didn’t happen. We actually had two interceptions on screens, which is incredible to think that, but it did happen. But there were other encouraging things. I thought there was one really good punt return by Rueben Randle, which was called back because of a holding penalty. We had the error or whatever you want to call it with the short punt that was a ‘peter’ call. McBride couldn’t hear the call and he was hustling down there to try to make something happen and block for his returner and the ball hits him and so they get another cheap opportunity. They had a close-range opportunity. So we just had a lot of those types of things happen.
You’ve got to create your own advantages. You’ve got to go win the game and take it from the opposition and it certainly doesn’t help when you’re creating a lot of ‘shoot yourself in the foot’ situations for your own team. We’re hurting today. We feel badly about it, but the players have been very attentive in their meetings. They’ve paid attention. It’s kind of quiet around here today, but nevertheless we’ll bounce back from this, we’ll make the corrections and we’ll go forward and I think there were some good things in the game also in terms of we had three receivers over 100 yards. We had almost 500 yards in total offense. We were 55 percent on third down. Dallas was fifth in the league last year on third down and was held to 33 percent. We did have three out of five in the green zone. They were two for four.
The time of possession was ridiculous because of the turnovers and they did have 21 minutes and 31 seconds in the first half. That was very one-sided, but for the snaps that we did have we were productive and I think if you understand football and you think of how many possessions you’re going to have and yet on six different occasions we stifled ourselves. There’s just no way that you’re going to overcome something like that.
Q: How would you describe the state of your rushing game and how concerned are you about David Wilson?
A: I was asked that last night and the same thing: David Wilson is a very talented young man that we need on our football team to be productive and we’ve been down this road before. We think we can have an impact on him being a better ball carrier, a better secure ball carrier. We’ll get that done. Our run game… We had a couple of runs that were decent, but not enough. We’re going to have to have that. I’m more discouraged with the goal-line sequence and the short-yardage… The one short-yardage run that came up a little bit short. I’m more upset with that than I am with the other part of it, but we have to have the running game. We’ve got to develop that. I think the continuity upfront was obvious with regards to some of the things that didn’t happen in that regard and in pass protection. Let’s face it, Eli did an outstanding job of moving around in the pocket and making plays down the field. The 70-yarder to Victor Cruz he had a guy right in his face and avoided him and got the ball down the field. We need the run. We need to get it going. We need to get some continuity. We need to communicate better up front and be less hesitant and be more positive in our interactions with each other and be more physical. That basically is the way I see it.
Q: Do you think what is happening with David is just purely technique with the fumbles or do you think there’s probably a mental aspect of it, too, at this point?
A: I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s a mental aspect of it because being asked very much about this circumstance of the situation over the spring and the fall is as if no one was here last year and watched him last year. Early on he had some errors last year and then he had a tremendous year as a kick returner, taking some drill shots and was able to secure the ball under those circumstances. I think we did preach so much about them being ball strippers and somehow, someway that didn’t sink in. He had the ball stripped twice and he’ll learn from it. He’s got great pride and we’ll try to get this under control.
Q: After the game Jerry Jones accused you guys of faking some injuries on defense during a drive in the second quarter. Do you have any response to that?
A: Yeah, it’s absolutely not true. It’s not true. Both of those payers were injured. Connor never returned to the game. Cullen was in a position where he needed to regroup. That really wasn’t orchestrated at all.
Q: Is it your feeling that David Wilson will start on Sunday?
A: I’m not going to get into that yet. We’ll see what happens here as we get started in the week.
Q: Tom, plenty of reports that some veterans are being worked out at the position, including Brandon Jacobs. Any thoughts on a potential return for him, or signing someone else?
A: No. We’ve had workouts since the 53 cut and we had a long extended workout last week and we’re doing the same thing this week. We will take a look at the players that are assigned to come in tomorrow and see if there, in fact, is an upgrade and go from there.
Q: I know a lot will depend on the workout, but do you feel like you need to add a running back?
A: I thought Da’Rel did a good job last night in a role that he didn’t expect to get that many snaps, but he came in and did a good job. You’re always searching to see if you can improve and where you can improve. That goes for a lot of spots.
Q: Do you have any update today on Prince Amukamara?
A: I know he’s feeling better. He felt pretty good last night, to be honest with you. He didn’t seem to have any repercussions, but he does need to go through the protocol.
Q: With the running game, do you think you guys could benefit from getting a bigger guy?
A: I think we need to block better, to be honest with you. Whether you have whatever size back, we have two guys who are about 207, 210 right in that area. Michael Cox is a little bigger guy, 225. I wasn’t concerned with the goal line from running backs standpoint last night. That was not my concern last night.
Q: Did you talk to David today at all?
A: Yeah, sure I did.
Q: How is he? How is his state of mind?
A: He’s anxious to improve.
Q: Are you confident in giving him another opportunity to do that?
A: Certainly. I’ve already said we need him.
Q: What review could you give us of Justin Pugh?
A: I figured the question would come down to Pugh and Brewer. I think it was a great experience for both of those guys by the way. Tremendous experience for them. It’s got to help their confidence; they see themselves in a game of that magnitude, in front of a crowd like that on Sunday night television. Quite frankly, there’s some good and some bad, just like there always is when a young player has an opportunity like that. There are some things we can build on as well.
Q: Am I right in assuming when you talked about the goal line situations, it was not so much on the running backs, but more on the blocking then?
A: Yeah. You have to get to a stage with the front before the back comes into play and he ran it up in there hard. He just didn’t have much to work with.
Q: You’ve talked that you have dealt with fumbling issues with other players before. Is it a different answer for different guys?
A: Just like anything else, I think it’s technique, there’s different individuals, obviously, different sized individuals, different circumstances surrounding it. Basically you’ve got to get to a position where the ball is in the safest possible position, even if it causes you to have a little bit … a little bit different stride. The ball is the most important thing of all.
Q: Would you be surprised if you had a new running back by next week?
A: All you’re doing is switching around the questions trying to get me to say something along those lines. I’m open and objective about whatever. Whenever we have a workout, I’m comparing that individual to what we have and we’ll see what tomorrow brings. We continue to evaluate at multiple positions.
Q: I know that at this point in his career Eli is unlikely to be phased by playing his brother again. Do you think, given that you guys lost to his brother the first two times, that there’s any added importance to him? Anything on his mind heading into this week?
A: No. I think the whole thing about us is about improving our team. My concern right now is our team and we’ll certainly have great respect for the Broncos as we get started with them. This is kind of a crazy day. Our offseason research is really going to have to come in handy for us as well. We need to improve our team and then move forward to approach the next opponent, which is the Broncos. I don’t think Eli thinks any differently.
>>WATCH: SHAUN O'HARA REVIEWS GAME TAPE
G Chris Snee
Q: What is your sense of what needs to be fixed in the running game?
A: We had a couple of mental assignments. Just coming off the ball more. We get in a situation where obviously the passing game was effective and what we had to go with yesterday. We knew they were going to bring the eighth man down. It’s still no excuse. We just have to do a better job. I’ve said that in previous years, in previous games, and all we’ll do is show up Wednesday.
Q: How did things go with Justin Pugh?
A: We just watched the whole tape. We have a lot to work on. We had two very good rushers in Hatcher and Ware on our side at times and they were able to get us with a few things. We were in there watching all the plays and took all of the notes and talked it through.
Q: Is there much you can say to David Wilson or does a player have to work this out himself?
A: All you can do is just let him know that you support him. There were plenty of mistakes out there, myself included. We all have stuff that we can look at ourselves and correct now. A lot will go into turnovers, but I’ll be there for positive encouragement. I have my own stuff I need to clean up and I’m pretty sure everyone else can say the same thing. So all you can do is support your teammate.
Q: Any thoughts if Brandon Jacobs were to come back?
A: I had not heard that. If someone is brought in, they’ll be welcomed with open arms. Obviously, I have a long history with Brandon. He’s a friend. I have no comment on personnel moves.
Q: How do you think Eli is handling the buildup to the game versus Peyton?
A: There will be a lot going into that individual matchup, but I think our focus all week, and Eli will say this, too, is just getting our football right. There’s a lot to worry about there. Not to worry, but a lot to correct there. That will be our emphasis all week and any personal or individual matchups are secondary.
Q: Don’t you think Eli wants to finally beat Peyton?
A: That you would have to ask Eli Manning.
Q: Are you not surprised anymore when Eli gets on a roll and brings the team back?
A: Not at all. When we get the ball back with five minutes to go at the 45-yard line, I think our whole sideline is confident that we’re going to go down and take the lead and we get another opportunity later on and don’t do it, it’s shocking and disappointing, but we can’t rely on those comebacks coming back from those turnovers and all the other sloppiness we saw out there yesterday. We can’t put ourselves in that hole, regardless of how good our quarterback is in that situation.
Q: Does a game like last night come out of nowhere for you, where it’s hard to explain?
A: Yeah. We’ve had them before and every team has them and you can’t win games when you turn the ball over that much. We fought to the end. Great, but that’s what we’re paid to do is compete. I don’t want a pat on the back. We can’t make the mistakes that we did and expect to beat these teams. It’s really tough to believe that we were only five points away from beating them.
Q: Did you say anything to David Wilson?
A: No. I haven’t really seen him yet. Everyone was down after the game and we just got on the bus and came home and we’re all running on fumes. I wanted to go in and watch all the stuff that I had to correct and our O-Line had to correct, so I’m sure there will be a talk at some point, but I’m sure he knows that and there’s many mistakes by everyone that we need to clean up.
Q: Do you get the feeling that if you don’t make those mistakes that you can be a pretty good team?
A: Absolutely. Just look at we did with six turnovers and look at how close we were to beating that football team, so obviously you take those away… We turned the ball over and gave their offense those opportunities. It can’t happen and if continues to happen, we won’t have much success and we’re aware of that.
Q: Is one week enough time to clean up everything you need to clean up?
A: It’s got to be. There’s no option, no other option. Everyone took a hard look at themselves today and we’ll continue to do so. We all have these iPads now, so we’ll watch tape at home tomorrow and show up Wednesday with energy. We’ll put this one behind us like we’ve done many times before. It’s the nature of this game is that you get another opportunity next week to prove differently what kind of team you are. So I think when we come in onWednesday we’ll be excited to put this game behind us and move forward.
>>TURNOVERS KEY IN WEEK 1 LOSS
S Antrel Rolle
Q: Just give us a sense of, obviously, a disappointing loss, the sense of the mess today and what it’s like and how you guys are feeling today.
A: Obviously we’re disappointed. We never want to start off a season like that, especially against a division opponent in the Dallas Cowboys. Everyone saw the game, so it’s not unseen, what took place last night. Too many turnovers in a lot of situations, but at the same time we still fought our way back and were almost able to win the game at the end. It just seemed like everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Every bounce, every tipped ball, everything, but we’re fighters, we’re champions and we’re going to learn how to rise above that.
Q: Just based on the numbers alone that Peyton Manning put up the week before, how tough is it to forget about Sunday and put your focus toward a pretty formidable opponent this weekend?
A: I mean. you have to. This game is a week-to-week performance game and yesterday was yesterday. That was last week. Now we have to look forward to the Denver Broncos. We all know what Peyton brings to the table. One of the best quarterbacks to play the game, true Hall of Famer, but at the same time that doesn’t fear us. We’re going to go out there, we’re going to play defense the way we know how to play defense. We all put on our pants the same way. I’m a true fan of Peyton Manning, but at the same time, he’s going to be the opponent come Sunday. We just have to play our best football and make sure as a defense, we continue to grow, continue to get on the same page at the same time, because we know Peyton is going to have a lot coming our way.
Q: After the game last night Jerry Jones said that he believed you guys were faking injuries on defense to slow down their offense in the second quarter. He said it was so obvious it was funny. What do you guys think of Jerry saying that?
A: Personally speaking, if anyone took note of the game, we had two guys who went down. Cullen Jenkins went down, I’m not sure what his injury was, and Dan Connor went down and he never returned to the game. I don’t know what kind of faking he saw, but if guys go down and they never return to the game, obviously he’s not faking. They got the win, he just needs to be satisfied about the win because a game like that will never happen to us again. Even with six turnovers, they were still scratching their heads at the end of the game, hoping/wishing for a play they did get at the end of the game. I can care less what Jerry has to say. When we play those guys again, it will be a little different outcome.
Q: Do you have any type of update on Prince? Have you been able to talk to him today?
A: I saw Prince, and right now he’s fine, but I can’t tell you what the status is on Prince. He’s walking around, he’s Prince Amukamara, he’s smiling, but it’s up to the doctors and Coach Coughlin to give you a full update on Prince. That’s not my role.
Q: Antrel, you said ‘a game like that will never happen to us again.’ Where does the confidence come from to say that?
A: I know our team. I’m not saying we will never have a turnover again, I’m not saying we will never have things go the opposite way. As an entirety, six turnovers and things just collapsing the way they did, if I had to put my money on us, I’d put my money on us 100 of 100 times that it won’t happen again. If it does, then it does. We live and we fight just as we did last night. I know our offense, I know this team and I’m sure those guys are going to bounce back and pick it up and carry us on its shoulders, as they have been before.
Q: How do you think Terrell Thomas played?
A: I think Terrell had a good game. Obviously, you know missing two seasons, I think T2 went in there and played the way we expected him to play. He made a lot of tackles. I think he was in the right position at the right time. A couple of things slipped his way, but then again it all comes with recognition and getting back familiar with the game, as far as the route concepts. T2 is a hustle guy. He wants to make every play and that’s what we expect from him and I know we’re just only looking for him to get better. I think last night, we saw a little glimpse of what he can do on the field.
Q: What can you do to slow down Peyton?
A: You definitely have to get him out of rhythm. Peyton is a rhythm quarterback. He loves the game to be played to his tempo, he loves the speed of the game and how the game is playing. Once you get him out of his comfort zone, he’s like any other quarterback. Quarterbacks like to be in their comfort zone and if you get him out of the comfort zone, obviously they’re going to become uncomfortable. We’re just looking to play against whatever he throws our way. We understand that he’s definitely one of the smartest quarterbacks in this league, hands down, so you’re not going to throw a coverage at him that he’s never seen, you’re not going to be able to disguise too much what he’s never seen, but it doesn’t stop you from trying. We’re going to go out there. We’re going to try to disguise our coverage and try more importantly to win our one on one matchups.
Q: Because he is so smart with all of these things, how do you get him out of his comfort zone?
A: You have to do things to make him uncomfortable. You have to rush him, you have to get some hits on him. Peyton doesn’t like to be hit. That’s one thing I’m sure of. He doesn’t like to be hit, he doesn’t like to be sacked. Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning, definitely one of the best quarterbacks to play this game. Hall of Fame quarterback, but I don’t see all of that come Sunday. We go out there and play ball. We play against him as we play any other quarterback. This is no time for fear and no one on the defense is going to fear Peyton because we’re going to go after him as we do any other quarterback.