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Coach Coughlin Interview


Opening Remarks:

Good morning, it is an exciting time for us to be in the division and going to Dallas. Dallas has been playing very, very well of late. I think it is five of their last seven that they have won. They lost the other day to a good, physical Arizona team. They are seventh in the league on offense and 11th in the league on defense. They have an outstanding kicking game with returners that can take it the distance anytime they get the ball. They have 35 sacks, which places them second in the league. Romo has played well. He started the season off with the broken ribs and he hung in there and battled back. What I think he has done in the last six games has thrown three interceptions but two of them were in the Miami game and one against the Eagles. There are a number of games in which he has thrown none. In the Buffalo game he had a 140 rating, which is outstanding. Witten is playing solid football and I really like the young runner Murray of theirs. He is a physical runner and had a huge day against St. Louis. They have powerful people on the inside and speed on the outside. Defensively, of course with Spencer and Ware, Ware has 15 sacks and Spencer has six. They lead them in terms of their pressure package and they are a multiple front, multiple coverage, multiple blitz defensive football team. They try to confuse and create opportunities to rush the passer. It is without a doubt a very challenging game. We look forward to getting into the X's and O's part of our preparation.

Q: Can you talk about their balance on offense?

A: The run game will do that for you, you bet. They have had some consistency there and I think they are averaging 114 yards a game rushing. They are doing some good things with the run game. They have changed a little bit upfront offensively and their offensive line is a little different. Nevertheless, they continue to rush it and make plays down the field in play action and then of course whenever he is in trouble, he looks for Jason Witten.

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Q: How is their fullback returning going to impact their offense?

A: I didn't know that but they have used one of the tight ends at that spot. They used a rookie at that spot so I don't think it would be anything that will set them back and it certainly hasn't changed their approach.

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Q: Murray hasn't had a big game like St. Louis in a while. Are defenses catching up to him?

A: I think they have played against some good defensive teams as well.

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Q: What is going on with David Baas' injury?

A: It is much more serious than a headache, obviously. That was what he brought to the medical people on Sunday but there is a lot more to it. As a matter of fact, he is having tests today and he has spent the last few days doing tests. A lot of that is to try to eliminate things as well. I really don't have any information other than that and until I am sure that we are going to be talking about the right thing, I will wait and not speculate. I really can't tell you anymore.

* *

Q: Are you worried about your offensive line with all these shakeups?

A: Like I said the other night, we will battle. Our guys felt good about going into the game last week and this is a very good front. Ratliff, I think Hatcher is playing better than I have seen him play, and Sean Lee is having a pretty good year so they will come after you. They do a lot of things up front. We will practice hard and make the adjustments that we have to make and certainly be prepared to go.

* *

Q: Is Baas' head and neck pretty much the same thing?

A:  I am sure it is. It is all related but until they give me something where I can grasp everything that they are talking about. My medical degree is just around the corner, by the way.

Q: Is it strange that you are playing Dallas for the first time so late in the season?

A: Well it's strange that in some years we open with them, played them very early. But it's consistent with what the commissioner wants – divisional games late in the year where they really… They count all the time, don't get me wrong on that one.

Q: Cordle as the third tight end?

A: He did alright. He did okay. He'll do anything you ask him to do. He was going up against some pretty good folks. He did okay.

Q: Is Eli indifferent to whoever is snapping the ball?

A: I think he has a lot of confidence in Boothe, I really do.

Q: You said it's an exciting time. Is it a must-win, playoff-like atmosphere?

A: It's an exciting time. It's the next scheduled game. It's in the division. It doesn't get any more exciting than that.

Q: Are you concerned that the guys on the injury report won't be able to practice before the game?

A: I'm always concerned about that kind of thing and I won't have any answers for you on that. Some have some things to the point where they're worse than others. Some we hope are just nicked up in the beginning of the week and we'll get back.

Q: Do you expect Tollefson and Phillips to practice?

A: Availability, speculation, that type of thing. They'll both end up being day-to-day. We'll just have to see what comes of it. Today, both are sore and if anything, it will be very little.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory of winning in Dallas?

A: Anytime it's happened. The playoff game wasn't a bad one, was it?

Q: Is Ballard a better pass-catcher than Kevin Boss was?

A: I don't know about that. I'm not very good at comparing. He's done a really good job with it. He's had one or two, as you know, concentration drops, but not many. He gets open. That's something that is very, very interesting. He gets himself open. That catch the other night was against 22-man. He had good, hard, man coverage on the inside.

Q: Could you imagine working for an owner like Jerry Jones?A: Here we go again with this [speculation]. I don't really have an answer for that one. I'm very, very thankful for the owners that I have. Thank you for asking.

Q: Romo has played well in his career, but has also been heavily criticized.

A: If you play the position, one day you're criticized, the next day you're congratulated. It's just the nature of the job. He's certainly has had his moments, but he's hung in there this year and done well.

Q: Will Jacobs practice today?

A: I think he will, limited.

Q: Did he have a wrap around his hamstring in the game?

A: He did. Same deal.

Q: Has there been a change in the veterans on the offensive-line with the reshuffling?

A: Well we're glad that we have the veteran spots that we have. We're glad that we have the opportunity to have Snee communicate from the inside and Diehl on the outside and McKenzie on the outside. Those guys hold the fort.

Q: Has there been a change in Snee and Diehl with the big personalities of Seubert and O'Hara gone?

A: I have seen a change in how they go about their work and the classroom stuff. They've really taken charge of that stuff. Chris has done a good job of that. I think that part of it, the veteran part of it, the leadership part of it, that's in very good hands.

Q: How will the touchdown play by Beckum affect his role?

A: That was an outstanding football play in which he not only made the big catch, but he made an outstanding run afterwards, showed his athleticism, did an outstanding job on special teams as well – was very physical, had some really physical plays on special teams. Obviously when you play like that and make a play of that nature, you do certainly encourage people to expand your role.

Q: Will Manningham and Osi practice this week?

A: We're hoping Mario can do some things. Not sure if Osi's ready yet.

Q: What did you see in Tony Ugoh?

A: Worked out well, a veteran player. He's a guy that has always been recognized as an outstanding athlete.

Q: How about Prince's back?

A: That's been an issue with him from time to time, actually as soon as he came back on the field. That's when it started to be an issue. We'll just list it as it is. He does have some issues there, but he manages, as I said, to play with it and we need him to contribute X amount of snaps every game.

Q: Related to his injury earlier in the year?

A: I don't know what it's related to, to be honest with you. I'm not sure.

Q: Is Chase Blackburn important in these types of games?

A: Well Chase is Chase. He said he had his bags packed for quite a while before he actually got the phone call. But he comes in, it's like he never left. He jumps right in there and no matter what you ask him to do, either side of the ball, he's ready to go. His presence is very much a focal point for any of these young guys, particularly the special teams guys who have played in important roles all year long and here comes a guy who is really focused in that area and has had that veteran leadership role before. I think that's helped them a lot.

Q: Have you ever seen a free agent make an impact like Victor Cruz has?

A: No.

Q: Ryan Perilloux's on the practice squad, cut from the practice squad…?

A: It's an effort to put the best players on the field.

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