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Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett Interview


Q: Can you talk about how important this game is for both teams?

A: Obviously, it is a big game for a lot of different reasons. The approach that we take is that it is one of 16 and you try your best each and every week to try to win each of these ballgames. Certainly, the implications within the division are significant in this ballgame and we are going to try our best to prepare our best for Sunday night.

Q: Can you explain why you managed the end last week's game like you did?

A: I spent a lot of time visiting with our media down here about this stuff so I will try to be brief with you guys. What we were trying to do is get into field goal range and give Dan Bailey an opportunity to kick the winning field goal. He had been so good at it throughout the year for us. He has really kicked five game-winning field goals for us if you count the game tying one in San Francisco and the game winner in San Francisco. We have been in this situation a lot so what I was trying to do and what we were trying to do is give him a chance to do that. It was well within what we deemed to be his range before the game and he was right in the middle of the field. You can play the situation out differently and there are very valid explanations for doing it a different way, like calling a timeout and running a play and calling another timeout and kicking it. We chose to play it this way and we felt good about us being on the 30-yard line and being in the middle of the field and giving Dan a chance. We took it down and we tried to give him that opportunity. It didn't work out for us this time like it had in different weeks and obviously we didn't get it done in overtime. You want to win those games, you want to win them all, but unfortunately it didn't work out for us this time.

Q: It is not a reflection on the mistakes the Romo made earlier in the year?

A: I think it is more of a reflection of how much confidence we have in our kicker and our whole operation. I think he had made 27 of 29 kicks and, like I said, five essentially game winners. I wanted to make sure we had given him an opportunity because he has been so good. That was at the forefront of my mind and that is how we handled it. Tony has been so good at getting us into field goal range to win these games. He did that again for us on Sunday to give us that opportunity and it didn't work out. 

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Q: How do you feel Tony Romo has played recently?

A: I think Tony has done a nice job. I think he has done a good job in recent weeks taking care of the football but at the same time, oftentimes when a quarterback does that they often go into a shell. Tony has done a good job of continuing to be the productive quarterback that he has been. I think he is making good decisions and making good throws. He is leading our team and there is always room for improvement but one of the reasons we love to coach him so much is because he wants to get better and better each and every day that he is in here and each and every game that he plays. He is a fun guy to be around from that standpoint. He has done well and certainly can continue to play better.

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Q: Did the Giants pass rush show something different in the last game?

A: I think they are outstanding. I think they have some really good individual defensive linemen and their pressure packages are good. They affect quarterbacks and they have all year long when you watch the tape. Even on some of the times when balls are being completed they are being completed under duress. It has been that way for a long time in New York and they always seem to have a great defensive line with marquee players there and this year is no different. 

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Q: Do you have an update on Miles Austin?

A: Miles had limited work in practice. It was his first time being on the practice field working football in a few weeks but it was limited. He was practicing with us and we are hoping that he responds well to that today and when he comes in tomorrow, he can continue to progress as the week goes on.

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Q: What is your impression of Victor Cruz?

A: I think he has done an outstanding job and certainly taken advantage of the opportunity that he has been given as a team guy and most recently a guy that they love to throw the football to. He makes a ton of plays and seems to have that mentality and he takes advantage of the opportunities that he gets.

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Q: What is DeMarcus Ware's status?

A: We will see. He had a stinger in the game on Sunday against Arizona and he did not practice today. Like with all our guys, we are hoping that as the week progresses he comes around but we have to see when he comes in tomorrow.

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Q: Is it related to the neck injury he had a few years ago?

A: I am probably not the right person to ask that question but I don't think this has been a big thing for him in the past. He did have one Sunday so we are trying to deal with it the best we can.

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Q: What are your impressions of Tony Romo and what he has been through this season?

A: He broke his rib in San Francisco in Week 2 and he did a great job coming back into that ballgame. It happened in the first half relatively early on and Jon Kitna played for a couple quarters and then Tony came out of the locker room and said I am ready and he went back in and led us to a victory in that game with the game tying and game winning field goal in overtime. He really fought through it. It is a difficult injury for anybody to have and they found out later that it was a punctured lung that was part of the whole thing. He did a great job coming back in the game. The following week we played Washington and if it hurts when the adrenaline is flowing it is going to hurt the day after and certainly the next week. He found a way to patch himself up and play. He wasn't quite himself in that game but as the weeks went on, he got better and better and better. Hopefully that thing is behind him. That is a meaningful thing for any player, especially your quarterback, to play through an injury like that. * *

Q: Is it fun to see the Diehl-Ware battle in this rivalry?

A: Absolutely, there are a lot of great matchups when you play a team every week but in particular when you play a team in your division because you play them a couple times a year. That has always been a great matchup and there have been some other ones all across the board on both sides of the ball. That is certainly one of the subplots of the game and we are excited to see how it plays out.

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Q: Who do you think has had the advantage over the years?

A: It is probably not for me to say. I played with David up there in New York and I think he has done an outstanding job in his career and the development he has made. He has really been the foundation of that line for a long time now and obviously we feel great about the kind of player and person DeMarcus Ware is. It is a great battle.

Q: Based on what you know of David, does it surprise you how he has played four positions on the offensive line?

A: Obviously, that is a very challenging thing to do. Right from the first day that he showed up, you knew it was something about him. Football was something that was really important to him. It was never too big for him and he kind of came in and battled right from the start against some really good players. He really earned a spot on that team and everything he has gotten since then really doesn't surprise me because of the approach he took right from the outset.

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Q:  Does it matter how you are coming into a game like this?

A: We know the challenges that they present in all three areas. They are a good football team. You just put the tape on and you see that. We understand the challenge and the big thing that we talk about here is that you have to take it one game at a time whether you won the game or lost the game the previous week. You put it to bed and put it behind you and go on to the next one. You try to practice as well as you can each and every day to be your best for the next challenge. We certainly view it as a challenge with the Giants coming down here.

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Q: Do you want your team to feel desperate?

A: You want your team to feel the sense of urgency every week. You only get 16 cracks at these games so you certainly want to strive to be your best each and every week. We understand the challenges of this game and the implications of this game but at the same time we feel like we prepare for each game with great urgency and we take every game seriously to try to be our best every week.

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Q: Do you ever ask your defensive coordinator to tone it down a little?

A: Rob is a guy that we really like. We hired him last year after the season. He has been such a good football guy in this league for a long time as a position coach and as a coordinator. We were excited to have the opportunity to hire him for those reasons but also because of the kind of person he is. He is very emotional and very passionate and enthusiastic about the game and sometimes that comes out publicly but I think he understands the importance of saying the right things to the team and publicly. We are excited to have him on our side.

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Q: As a head coach, will he have to control himself?

A: I think you want coaches to be themselves and you want players to be themselves. Certainly you don't want them to do anything detrimental to your football team and Rob certainly understands that and everybody on our football team understands that. At the same time, you want some guys who have some personality. You want different personalities on your staff and on your football team.

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