Q: What's your impression on the Cowboys' secondary and some of the stuff they do?**
A: They do a terrific job of making it difficult to predict what they're going to do. In other words, their pattern is to change up on a regular basis what they do so you don't see very often a consecutive expression of one coverage and then play it again and play it again. They do a nice job of trying to keep you off balance in that respect. They have some great players. They're a difficult matchup.
Q: Have you seen that they tend to keep their safeties high to prevent the big plays in the passing game?
A: It's certainly part of what they do. If you're not careful, you can get into a guessing game, which you'd like to avoid doing. You do a lot of what we call, combo routes. Something that's good against two-over and something that's good maybe better against single-I over there. You take the guessing out of it.
Q: Is Hynoski the forgotten piece, according to the outside world?
A: That's a great way to describe him because he's playing great football for us. We would love to use him more, but sometimes they gang up on that particular personnel group and make it more challenging to do certain things. In terms of his individual play, he's been terrific. He blocks very, very well. He has an understanding conceptually of what you're trying to do so even if he has the safety on a certain play, he's looking for overhangs of a linebacker and he kind of cleans up a lot of runs on the way to his responsibility, and when we've given him the ball a few times, which we haven't given it to him a lot, he's always come through for us and gotten three or four yards. I think last year you saw, he caught the very well when we threw it to him.
Q: It seems teams try to force you guys into different sets which might prevent you from keeping him on the field?
A: That's right.Q: Does that make you want to leave him out there sometimes and be that extra blocker?
A: There's certainly some times where that's advantageous, there's no question. Usually we look at who's the best 11; he's certainly one of our best 11, but sometimes what people do when that particular grouping is out there, unless you want to get into a certain mode, like where you're throwing the ball every down or something along those lines, you'd rather get into another grouping of personnel that allows you to be a little bit more balanced.
Q: Do you feel like the Cowboys didn't see your best football in Week 1?
A: I hope so. I certainly hope so. I think we're a little healthier. I think we can play better. I think we played better as the game went on, unfortunately we got started slowly. I think they're very good. I think they have an outstanding pass rush; they went out and spent a lot of money to get two terrific corners. They've got a lot of athletes that match up well against us and in fact, their design was to effectively keep us in check. It's going to be a challenge. I think we can play better than we did, but I have no illusions that it's going to be easy. I think they're a good defense.
Q: Hakeem Nicks is confident, saying he's feeling better than he has in awhile. What's it like having him in practice for a full week? Does it change anything going into the game Sunday?
A: We'll see. Certainly, when you first say that, it sounds like, "Oh, that's great, he's healthy, he's completely back." I don't think it happens that way. I think it's a little bit week-by-week. He's getting better. I think he's certainly better than he was a few weeks ago. I think he'll be better still a few weeks down the road. I think he is getting better, I don't think there's any question about that. We're waiting to see what we see on the practice field transfer to the field. You love everything about the guy. He's trying as hard as he can try and we're certainly a better football team when he's out there.
Q: Have you seen anything change in Martellus Bennett this week? He was very critical on himself despite the best statistical game of his career:
A: I think he's very attentive to trying to do everything as well as he can. It's always a positive thing when a guy is that critical of himself and realizes where he needs to improve and get better. As a coach, that's always the first step in being able to help a guy and grow towards his potential. I think he's been great. I think he's working very hard this week.
Q: Did you think there were things he needed to work on?
A: I always do. I see things for everybody, including myself, so that's nothing unusual.
Q: What specifically with Martellus?
A: I will never get into that with you guys what specifically someone has to do to get better. It's a terrific thing that he wants to get better and he wasn't satisfied with the plays he made and he made a couple of great plays for us. Certainly that third and one and a half or two where he caught it down the sideline was a huge play for us. He got us started, got us started, helped us set up our first touchdown. I love to hear that they're not satisfied and look at the areas that they need to get better at. That's a very, very positive sign.
Q: What is the role of the tight end in this offense and how important are they?
A: It all depends on what you're trying to do with it, but certainly it gives you a matchup, if that individual can handle the defensive ends in a four-down or the outside linebackers in a 3-4, it gives you a chance to run the ball, which is an important thing that obviously you'd like to do. If he's a matchup nightmare for linebackers or safeties, that gives you an advantage in the passing game, particularly when people are playing too deep trying to take away your outside receivers. Depending on the individual, he can be a very, very important part of what you're trying to do.
Q: How do you stop DeMarcus Ware, who had two sacks in Week 1?
A: He's tough, he's a great player. He plays hard. It's a big game; he's always revved up anyway. He's even more so in a game against us. We know we have our hands full and those guys up front have got to do their job and we have to help them as best we can. We're certainly cognizant of where he is and trying to do whatever we can to assist the individual that has the primary responsibility of blocking him. It's a difficult matchup because he's such a terrific player and he plays so hard.Q: What's the difference in preparing for a divisional opponent who you've already seen this season?
A: This team, obviously they have new coordinators so even though it's the same team, different coordinators employ different tactics and different styles of defense. We had a chance to see them last year and of course we saw them this year; you always wonder what or how much they're going to change from the first time you play them. There's always going to be some modification, some adjustments. How much will it be? Some coordinators' teams will go out of their way to be different just for that sake, to be different. Other ones will say hey, this was good, I'm going to keep this going until they prove that they can beat it. You know there will be some adjustments, how many, you don't know. It usually comes down to trying to put your guys in a position where they have a chance and they go make the plays when those opportunities present themselves.
Q: Any reason why you guys have been pretty successful in playing a team for the second time in a season?
A: Hopefully we've done a good job in recognizing what people were trying to do schematically against us and been able to, again, intelligently go after what they're doing and the players have understood what has been done to them and have been able to adjust to what people are doing. It's never easy. I wish I knew…I just know this, they're an outstanding defense. You get down there with the noise factor, which makes those tremendous pass rushers just even more effective. It will be a challenge.
Q: What's your thoughts on Ahmad Bradshaw asking for more running plays?
A: Have you met a runner that doesn't want the ball more? Have you ever seen a pass receiver who doesn't want the ball thrown more? They all do. We just do what's working best. We weren't running the ball very well, so we're always going to do what we're doing well. We were averaging eight yards a pass attempt and averaging three on the run. We're always going to do what's most effective. We did hit a couple of big runs where we confused them. They didn't expect it. We got everybody overloaded and came back with what we call a counter-tango back to the weak side. We caught them on another "bob" play where we had everyone overloaded. Consistently, when they knew where we were at, we didn't run the ball as well as we had the previous couple of weeks. We were struggling and they were moving the ball up and down the field. We had to keep the ball. You're always going to use whatever gives you the best chance of accomplishing that. Again, we'll always run, but we're going to do what we're doing best that game.
Q: At what point do you decide, this isn't working for us?
A: That's the million dollar question. That is a tough question. I don't mean to be flippant…you want to be balanced. In the perfect world, that's what you do. In an effort to do that, all of a sudden the game gets away from you. 'Well, I got my balance, but we got our rear-ends kicked.' That doesn't make any sense. You do what you're doing. They had a hard time stopping us when we're throwing the ball. We don't want to make those two costly turnovers, which we didn't expect, but other that, we were moving up and down the field with it. We kept trying the pro-run, but it wasn't intelligent because our basic runs were not giving us very much.
Q: You guys were able to run pretty well in the first half against San Francisco:
A: Because they were defending the pass.