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Coach McAdoo Conf. Call Transcript


Ben McAdoo recaps the win over the Cowboys:

We will start with the defense. What we did well, tremendous effort by the defense all night. We stayed in the moment the entire 60 minutes of the ball game. I really thought we put our foot down in the second half of the game. We tackled fundamentally sound. We held the offense to seven points, minimized explosive gains and forced turnovers. What we need to work on, we need to keep them under 100 yards rushing and keep them out of field goal range at the end of the first half.

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Offensively, what we did well, we took advantage of the sudden-change opportunity. The pick by Leon (Hall) and hit Odell for the big play there. Two-for-two on fourth down and we got our rush attempts up to 31 and made them play a full game on defense. What we need to work on, we need to handle the football better all around, every position. We need to be better decision-makers with the ball in our hands. Again, that's all around, and we need to eliminate the unforced errors, which is creeping up everywhere.

Special teams, what we did well, field position. I thought the coverage teams played extremely well, kickoff and punt. We had five punts downed inside the 20-yard line and two inside the five. Big in the ball game. What we need to work on, we need to tighten up the return units.

Where we go from here, we have to keep stacking successes by handling success. We have to have another great week of preparation like we had last week. Detroit, good team, division leader that is hot, hungry and confident. They're best in the fourth quarter. We have to have a great week of preparation.

Q: What did you think of Eli's performance?A: I think it was a gritty performance. He hung in there and took some shots early in the ball game. We need to take better care of the football.

Q: We've seen Eli play better than he has been lately. What are some of the things you attribute the lack of consistency to?A: When things go well, the quarterback gets a lot of credit. When things don't, the quarterback gets a lot of the blame. Right now, things aren't going very well on offense. We're having consistency issues. It's not just the quarterback. It's the whole way around. We have to keep working at it and find a way to get that out of our system. Find a way to eliminate the unforced turnovers.

Q: You don't see any specific issues with Eli?A: No.

Q: You mentioned the shots that Eli took early in the game. What are your overall thoughts of the offensive line?A: Like the rest of the offense, there's some inconsistencies in there. You can't always point to one guy or one moment or whether it's a run play or pass protection. It's almost like we're taking turns having breakdowns.

Q: Ereck Flowers seemed to struggled a lot. Is he progressing the way you would like or is he struggling this year?A: I think he settled down in the second half and played a better second half than he did the first half.

Q: Are you still convinced that the offense took a step forward after watching the tape?A: We left some offense out there, obviously. I like the physicality in running the football. The 31 rush attempts, is what it ended up being. We made Dallas play a full game on defense, something they haven't had to do a lot of this year. That was a big part of things. We don't want the time of possession and the number of plays to get tilted to one side, so our defense can play physical and aggressive for 60 minutes. We thought that was key in the ball game. I thought we did a nice job there.

Q: On the interception, was that on Eli, Victor or just a good play by the defender?A: I think it was a combination of things. Victor has to be more aggressive coming back to the ball. Could've been a little bit of the placement of the ball or he could've pushed it to the back. He felt the squeeze. There was an open triangle and that's where he felt the ball should go. You'd like to see that be ours or no one's.

Q: Some of those throws were near interceptions and dropped interceptions. What do you attribute those to? The one on the sidelines where he threw it right to the defensive player and the slant over the middle late?A: The late slant over the middle, I think they were on the same page. I think they covered that one well. The one to (Barry) Church, we have to make a better decision.

Q: Was Andrew Adams benched after that blown coverage? How do you think he responded to that coming back in the game?A: We were rolling different players in there like we always have at that position. He was not responsible for the blown coverage. The touchdown was not his responsibility.

Q: Did you see more production in the rushing game?A: I thought we had some opportunities for some big plays. We had a chance to get physical, they're a line movement type operation. They do a great job with their line movement trying to keep Sean Lee clean. He had a lot of production because of it. We played with the physicality upfront. Obviously we need to get a little bit better this week at it. Keep pounding the ball. When the elements change and you're playing in element games and December football, you have to be able to run the ball and get to that Rule 53, which we did. We had enough rush attempts to get there. We need to keep the run game progressing.

Q: Update on Shane Vereen?A: He's in the (concussion) protocol.

Q: How close was Justin Pugh to playing this week?A: I thought he made some progress this week. We'll see how he does tomorrow.

Q: What is the most important number when you judge the rushing game?A: Last night, it was important for us to not have the game be one-sided and tilted in time of possession. That was the key for us going into a ball game as a team. We felt that Dallas in their wins have been very successful with a bunch of rush attempts. Really holding the ball and playing the whole game like a four-minute offense. Just protecting their defense. We thought that we need to limit the number of opportunities that they had with Dallas' offense along with all the playmakers that they have. Limit the number of touches they have and increase the number of touches that you have. Try and run the clock a little bit. We need to complete the ball a little bit better, that would also help us. The number of rushes last night was a key.

Q: When you look at the numbers after the game, did what Romeo Okwara do surprise you?A: No. He's a young, conscientious, hard-working player. He really takes to coaching. He learned the system quickly and plays the game hard.

Q: He played pretty close to 100 percent of the snaps. Is that what you anticipated or was that because of performance?A: We anticipated splitting the reps up a little more than we did. With the way he was playing, he was hot. We wanted to let him roll in there.

Q: What was the key in the second half to contain Elliott?A: They had a couple of nice cracks where he did squeak out. We did play good team run defense. We had the corners cover and the front seven and safeties do their job. In the run game, we had good fits. Caught it aggressively and got off of blocks and made some tackles. With those big physical backs, you have to tackle well.

Q: The play to Odell, the touchdown. On first glance it looks all about his speed. What else went right on that play?A: Like a lot of other good plays in the pass game, it starts with protection. The tight end helped out a little bit with the right tackle. The protection was clean. Eli set his feet and was on time. Odell worked the corner, came out of it clean. He hit him in stride. The ball was out in front of his eyes. He had a chance to pluck it and tuck it. He's dangerous when you have a chance to hit him in stride.

Q: Is that a reminder of what you really can be on offense? Or is the lack of consistency frustrating?A: No. We don't get frustrated. We're not going to waste our time with that. We focus on getting better and we need to get better. When you have 13 (Beckham) out there, you know he can change the game in a blink of an eye. The way the defense is playing and the way the special teams covered last night, we just have to hang in there, stay in the moment, play a 60-minute game and be the best team in the league at playing the next play.

Q: This week, it looked like you put a lot more on the linebackers. How did they do with their added responsibilities?A: I thought they had a good afternoon. We played a variety of guys. DK (Devon Kennard) played a lot more snaps than he's used to playing on the defensive side of the ball. They handled everything well schematically. Seemed to handle everything Dallas threw at them.

Q: Do you think you can consistently win games like you did last night with the offense not doing a lot?A: I think if you play defensive football the way we played defensive football last night, you're always in the ballgame and have a chance to win. We have playmakers on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams. We have weapons there. They're going to keep us in ballgames and give us a chance to win in the end.

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