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Quotes (12/7) McAdoo, Beckham, Harrison


Head Coach Ben McAdoo

A lot of excitement in the air. The opportunity to host a tremendous team at home on Sunday. It'll be a great challenge that we look forward to. We have to take care of the preparation first. Their offense is clicking on all cylinders. Their o-line is a great o-line. They pave the way for Zeke and Morris. Dak is doing a fine job leading the troops.

Dez, Witten and Beasley have all developed chemistry with Dak since the last time we've seen them. The defense is playing very fast and aggressive, like they always do. They do a great job hunting the ball carrier. Lawrence is giving them a nice boost, along with the Crawford, and Collins is playing really well as a three-technique. Lee and Jones have paired to be a great tandem in coverage at the linebacker and safety spots. Jones and Bailey are always weapons in the kicking game.

Q: When you watch the game film what has been the biggest change other than chemistry since Week 1 for the Dallas Cowboys?

A: They do a nice job running the football. That's where everything starts for them. They set up the long ball off of it. Just getting Dez back healthy has really helped them. It took a little while to get some chemistry going there, but they've done a nice job getting on the same page.

Q: How do you characterize the loss of JPP?

A: We wish JPP the best and a speedy recovery. We'll use an 'all hands on deck' approach to fill his shoes. It won't be easy to do, but we have confidence in the players in the room.

Q: How do you help lift the team's spirits?

A: Again, we're focused on our preparation for Dallas. We wish JPP a speedy recovery, but we have to move on.

Q: Do you have guys that can fill his role?

A: You can't expect one person to jump in and fill his shoes. He's a very talented player. We'll use all hands on deck.

Q: What have you seen from Romeo Okwara?

A: Romeo is a young, conscientious player. He's worked hard to get where he is. He has good pedigree coming out of a good school. He's learned the techniques that are required to play the position.

Q: Any idea if overuse could have been a factor in the JPP injury?

A: Nothing leans that way, no.

Q: Did the news of JPP getting surgery take you a little bit off-guard? Did you think and hope he would just be able to rehab this?

A: You always prepare for all the possible outcomes.

Q: Is 4-6 weeks accurate? Could he return if you make it that far?

A: We're just going to support JPP any way we can. The sooner he gets back and whenever he can make it back, the better. We'll support him in any way that we can. Whenever he gets back, we'll be ready for him.

Q: Are you going to put him on IR?

A: Too early to tell. We're going to monitor. He just got out of surgery a little while ago. We'll see how he feels and how he progresses.

Q: Does your defense have to drastically change without him?

A: No.

Q: How much of the second half struggles against the run in Pittsburgh were due to his absence?

A: I think it was a combination of things. I don't think you can point to one particular position and say that's the reason for it.

Q: What are the specific challenges that Ezekiel Elliott presents you with?

A: He's a complete player. He has good hands, so you have to be prepared for that. He's good in the screen game. He has a nice feel for the seams and staying in phase there. We have to be ready for that. He took one to the house against Pittsburgh. He's a big back that runs behind his pads. It's hard to get a good clean shot on him. He's a load. He's a big young man and runs with a lot of energy.

Q: What is the key factor that has allowed Dak to succeed immediately in the NFL?

A: The first thing I really notice about him is that it's not too big for him. He's been a winner. That's one thing that we noticed when we first played him early in the season. His background is that he's a winner. It doesn't seem too big for him. He plays with some pretty good poise.

Q: How different do Dak and Zeke look at this point compared to Week 1?

A: We really didn't have a ton of tape of them in this league going into that game. They've progressed nicely. They don't seem to be rookies that have hit a wall by any stretch of the imagination.

Q: How much can a team change over a 13-week period?

A: I think you develop as the season goes on. You have a chance to harden your team. We're both two different teams.

Q: Takeaways from your conversation with Victor Cruz?

A: That'll stay between Victor and myself.

Q: Do you think you need to get him more involved?

A: That'll stay between Victor and myself.

Q: What does your offense need to do in a one-week period to improve?

A: Put our head down and keep on working. We can talk all we want, talking isn't going to get anything done.

Q: Do you feel like you need to change some things?

A: Possibly.

Q: Does Jason's absence put more of a burden on the offense to carry this team?

A: Everyone needs to put their head down, get to work and get a little better this week.

Q: How's Justin Pugh?

A: He was limited today.

Q: Is he making improvement?

A: Yes. He's improving.

Q: You mentioned the other day about Ereck Flowers and his hand placement. He's a young player, but this has been an ongoing thing. Is he getting better at it? How drastic is it?

A: As we all know, it's tough to develop linemen in this league. It takes time. It's a fundamental issue that he's working hard to fix. He's keeping his elbows tight. That helps keep your hands down and tight. It's something that we're working on.

Q: He's had about four different left guards next to him. How much has that affected him?

A: We're fortunate to have four guys that have been able to go in there and help us win ball games. I'm sure it hasn't made it easier for Ereck. That's part of it in this league.

Q: Does the game plan include Shane Vereen on Sunday?

A: There's a chance that we may have a package for Shane if he's ready to go. If he's not, then there won't be.

Q: When will you know?

A: We have a practice on Saturday. There's a chance Saturday that we can make a decision.

Q: Are there any structural things in the running game, such as tight end blocking, no fullback, that could hamstring things a little bit?

A: We have some young tight ends that we're working to develop. They're making progress.

Q: How willing are you to use Devon Kennard on the d-line more in JPP's absence?

A: We will use an 'all hands on deck' approach to fill his shoes.

Q: How do you improve the linebackers and their pursuit to the ball in space?

A: We just need to keep on working at it. We took steps today and we'll take steps tomorrow.

Q: Just to clarify, at this point, is it a coaching decision or a medical decision on Vereen?

A: Medical.

Q: Does OV have to take on anything else in the absence of JPP?

A: Like the entire 53, everyone needs to focus on doing their job. If they try and do too much, that puts everyone else in a bind.

Q: Still planning on pads tomorrow?

A: Good possibility, yes. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Q: How big of a loss is it when a guy like JPP goes down?

A: It's definitely very tough. Especially coming from a guy that has come from hell and back, in my opinion. A leader on this team. Just someone you can count on day in and day out. Practice, game, whatever it was, he was always going to give it his all.

It's tough to lose a guy like that. Hopefully we will win enough games for him so that he can be able to come back and make an impact. It's unfortunate, especially with what he's already been through and what he's been able to overcome already. It's incredible enough. We all wish he was here.

Q: What's the biggest difference between the Week 1 Cowboys defense and the Week 14 Cowboys defense?

A: They're making plays. It has a lot to do with the offense as well. When an offense is rolling and they're scoring points and holding the ball, the defense only has to come up with a few stops every now and then. The offense get's the ball, they hold it for seven or eight minutes. It makes it a lot easier if the offense is controlling the game.

Q: How much do you need your offense to play that role?

A: You have to. This is a red-hot offense. Not taking anything away from their defense, but it's a difference when your offense controls the game and the clock. You control the position of the field and pretty much control it all. They do a very good job at it. We need to do a good job of keeping the offense off the field and minimizing their attempts.

Q: What's the right balance for you guys?

A: I don't know. Just spread it around. Move it around and play fast. I feel like when you play fast, it makes it harder for other teams. They may make mistakes. Even if you play fast and make a mistake, at least you're making it full-speed.

I think it's a lot harder for defenses to adjust and call what they want to call when the offense is moving at such a fast pace. I feel like the defense will worry about lining up more. Definitely have to find ways to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers. Like we've been preaching, we just need to be more productive on offense. Just have to be more productive.

Q: Ben McAdoo backed you up on the point of the officiating calls.

A: There's really no point in talking about it. Nothing is going to change. You're sitting there wasting breath.

Q: I was just curious of your reaction to him backing you up?

A: It doesn't surprise me. Like I said, everyone knows what's going on on the field. Everyone can see it. Stevie Wonder can see it. It just is what it is. You can't do anything about it. There's no point. I shouldn't have even brought it up. It's always a lose-lose situation. Either you're speaking out on it and trying to defend yourself or the other way around in which you're complaining.

Either way it goes, I shouldn't have ever brought it up. Nothing is going to change. No calls are going to be made because of what I say now. You just have to keep playing. You know what you're going against. It's the Giants against everyone. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Q: How much more of a burden do you feel the offense has now with JPP out?

A: There is still 11 other guys that play defense. Now it's time for guys to step up. I was talking to Owa today. I said, 'this is where you make your name. It's your time to shine. We all know what you can do, and it's time for you to go out and do it.' I think he's fully ready to go out and accept that role.

Like I said, it's unfortunate when a guy like JPP goes down. Someone since I've been here, I've looked up to. If I need advice, I'll ask him for advice. Whatever the case may be, he's always been there for positive reinforcement or constrictive criticism. Whatever you need out of him, he's always been there.

Q: As an offense, do you feel there's a burden to score more points?

A: If the offense was the only part of a football team, I would still feel that we need to score as many points as possible. It's a lot harder to beat us if there's 35 points on the board. That's just always been my mentality. As an offensive guy, even when I watch. I was watching the Steelers play.

They're up on us and they're going for it on fourth. It's not a disrespect thing, it's just I don't want you to have a chance. I want to end the game. Our foot is on your throat, I'm going to step on it. I'm not just going to ease off of it. We need to score more points and be more productive. Just have to overall execute better.

Q: Is that the goal for this offense? Put your foot on someone's throat?

A: I think that's always been the goal. It's just a matter of happening or not. To beat a team like this, that's going to be the only way. Have to outscore them. Our defense has to make more stops than their defense. We have to do more on special teams. We'll see what happens on Sunday. That's a very, very good team that we're going against. Just have to wait and see.

Q: Does it get any better than a nationally televised game against the Cowboys at home in front of your fans?

A: There's not much more you could ask for. In the NFL, Sunday Night Football, going against the Dallas Cowboys, it's pretty much everything. It's a lot of fun. It's awesome to be in these moments and opportunities. Hopefully we come out and play our best.

Q: Do you remember your last Sunday night game against them at home? Anything stick out personally?

A: Not that I can remember. Not that I can think of. I think last time we played them on Sunday night, we lost. That's still what I remember. We have to come out. This is a playoff game for us in my mind. So are the rest of them. You have to win eight games. That's how I look at it. You have to win eight games straight.

Q: You guys won opening night. No one could've seen them win 11 straight. How would you describe how well they've played and what they've been doing the last few months?

A: Execution. They're executing. They're getting it on third and fourth downs. That kills teams. They're taking seven, eight minutes out of a quarter. That deflates a team. You're sitting on the sideline biting your fingernails, sitting on the bench with your legs crossed waiting for your opportunity.

By the time the offense gets back on the field, you know how this game works. There's going to be some TV timeout, a double-TV timeout. It feels like you've been sitting around for 40 minutes just to go out there. At times, we've gone three and out. Then you sit back down and do another seven or eight minutes. When you do get on the field, you have to be productive. You can't just give it back to them because the next thing you know the first quarter is gone. You can't let it be that type of game.

Q: In Dez's shoes, you have one catch for eight yards the first game. Does that sit with you when you play them the second time?

A: I wouldn't expect him to come out here and have one catch for eight yards again. I know that for sure. I'm happy to see that he's finally getting back to being a little more himself. Coming off a foot injury, it's a mind thing.

Every time you're going to make a cut, you're going to think about the position of your foot. If I make this cut, am I going to be able to sustain and hold? Be strong enough to come out? It's a lot that goes into lower injury extremities. I'm just happy to see him out there snagging balls and scoring touchdowns.

It's something that he's been doing for a very, very long time. Like you say, anytime you go against a team and you didn't put your best foot forward the first time, you're going to come back around with a vengeance.

Q: Did you talk about this with him?

A: No, it's just we Scorpios, our mindsets are pretty much the same. He's a friend of mine, like a brother of mine. I don't even have to ask him. If I were to text him right now and ask him what he's going to do Sunday, he'll just say, you already know. It's a hunger thing. I know he's very hungry.

They're on a roll right now and I'm sure they don't want to lose. We're the only team that has beaten them. I'm sure that that's on their mind, too. They feel that they could be 12-0. They're going to try and come out and prove that they should be undefeated. It's going to be a big challenge on Sunday. DT Damon Harrison

On JPPs injury

A: You don't know how much of an impact a guy has on a team, on and off the field, until they are not there anymore and I know how bad he wants to play. I know how much being out there this year meant to him and I was a little heartbroken for him.

Q: How much of an impact did he have on this team beyond the obvious seven sacks?

A: He is a great locker room guy and he was the one who pretty much brought everybody together and now somebody has to step up and fill that role. But that is one of my good friends on the team. I still talk to him. I was just texting him a while ago, he is in good spirits. I think that as soon as he can get back out there, he will.

Q: Does he expect to get back out there this year?

A: He didn't say and that is something that you have to ask him or Ronnie. But trust me, if JPP can be back out there this year, he will be.

Q: A lot of that depends on how deep into January you guys go, right?

A: I threw that out there, too, right? No, I didn't. Yeah, I guess we have to play well to be able to see our teammate again.

Q: Do you worry that you may have played your last snap as his teammate?

A: I don't want to get too much into that. I will let that take care of itself. But he has done a good job to put himself in position to be somewhere and be productive and getting the contract that he deserves.

Q: How much faith do you have in the guys that have to step up and fill his shoes?

A: Well, I have no choice but to have faith. But no, man, we have a good group of guys. We have Kerry Wynn who has a lot of experience and we also have Romeo (Okwara) and Owa (Odighizuwa). All of those guys have experience and Romeo being a rookie, he made the team for a reason, the guy is a pretty good player. No matter who gets the start out there opposite OV, we will have faith in them.

Q: What does Romeo bring to the table?

A: A lot of energy, man. Romeo is a good player. I don't know if you watched him in training camp, but he did a lot of good things, as well as in preseason, too, so we watch him every day and I tell you what, I wouldn't be worried at all if I had to line up next to him.

Q: Is it frustrating that you guys are going into the Dallas game with the line so banged up?

A: No, because we still have to do what we have to do at the end of the day, no matter who is out there, and everybody is a little banged up this time of the year, so we just have to put that aside and do the best that we can.

Q: When you see Ezekiel Elliott, what challenges does he present?

A: He is running all over everybody. He is a real good back. I think he is leading the league in rushing, so that in itself speaks volumes. But from the very first time we played against him, we all said that that guy is going to be a player in this league and that seems to be true up until this point. Not only is he a great running back, but he can catch the ball out of the backfield as well.

Q: He didn't do much against you guys in Week 1. What did you do to control him?

A: I just think that everyone was aggressive and we followed the game plan. Everybody stayed in their gaps, everybody played their assignments, so if you do something like that, then you will have some success.

Q: Do you feel like you have a good formula or does it change up?

A: You really don't change much week to week, no matter the opponent. It is still the same thing for the defensive line, stop the run, set the edge, build the wall, that is all the same. But when you play a back like Ezekiel, then you have to do some minor tweaks in your assignments.

Q: Your whole thing is about stopping the run. When you go up against a back like this, do you relish the chance to stop that?

A: Yeah, because when you have a back like that, a team is going to want to run the ball and I was born to be a run-stopper. I am not a pass rusher at all, I don't claim to be one and I don't act like I am. But yeah, when you play a back like Ezekiel, you know the team is going to have to give them the ball.

Q: Do you think people forget that you beat the Cowboys?

A: Well, they won 11 games in a row, so yeah, that is long forgotten. I am sure that they put it behind them, too, and we have as well.

Q: Does it get any bigger than this? Division rival, Sunday Night Football, your stadium.

A: Well, I haven't been in the playoffs, so I really don't know if it gets bigger for me. It is a division game. Every game feels like you are coming into MetLife Stadium for a night game, I treat every game the same. It doesn't matter the opponent. G Justin Pugh

Q: How are you feeling?

A: I am feeling good. Obviously today was a little half and half, it wasn't a full practice and tomorrow will be good to see, you get uppers on, get pads on, see how I am feeling, so that will be the true test.

Q: How has the day after been?

A: It has been really good. My knee is feeling great, so I have all intentions of going out and playing on Sunday. We just have to make sure that we are taking the right steps and like I keep saying, I feel like a broken record, making sure that we don't have any setbacks, but every day I am feeling good, so it is solid.

Q: You know we love percentages. Do you have a percentage?

A: Do I have a percentage? No, I don't have a percentage for you.

Q: What about a gut feeling?

A: I really don't want to tell you until tomorrow. Tomorrow I will probably have a better idea for you based on how we go on uppers. That will be the closest to game action since getting hurt, so we will see.

Q: If you do come back, this is quite a stage to come back on

A: Yeah, why not? What are they, 11-1? Their one loss is against us, we know how to play them, we know them very well and it is going to be exciting to go out there and give them another loss.

Q: Has it been hard for you to take it step by step?

A: It has been miserable. I obviously want to get back out there and I tried to get back out there and ended up pushing myself further back than I wanted to and it is probably my fault that I am further behind than I want to be because I tried to push to get back out there, so that has been the hardest part, learning to make sure that I am listening to the doctors, listening to my body and that is something that I am definitely going to learn from.

Q: Does it get any bigger than this?

A: It doesn't get any bigger than this. This is what you play for, these games in December, meaningful games. If we want to be a playoff team, then we have to beat playoff teams and they are the best team in the NFL now, so we have to go out and beat them.

Q: Do you think people have kind of forgotten that you guys beat them way back when?

A: I know that no one around here forgets that we beat them, but I bet you that a lot of people in the NFL don't even remember who that one loss is, so maybe we can go out there and remind him again.

Q: Odell likened this to a playoff game in his mind. Do you feel the same way?

A: I think that these next four are playoff games. We are not solidified, we haven't clinched a playoff spot, so to get in, we have to win these games. All these teams we are playing are contenders, so every game from here on out is a playoff game.

Q: What has changed for them defensively?

A: I think their offense is keeping them off the field. I think their offense does a good job of eating up clock and their defense is fresh. They have got DeMarcus Lawrence back out there who is a good player. They moved Tyrone Crawford out to end, they brought some new, young guys up that are playing well, so they have some guys that are playing hard and they have a really good scheme over there. But they definitely benefit from – I think their time on the field is the lowest in the NFL because their offense does such a good job.

Q: When you guys are going right; you are usually doing the up tempo stuff. Against Dallas, do you think you have to try and slow it down?

A: I think that we can do a little bit of both. I think that we have shown that we can do both. But putting points on the board and making that offense play from behind, which they haven't done much of, is the goal. S Landon Collins

Q: Do you have guys here that can make up for the loss of JPP?

A: Yes. We have Kerry Wynn, Owa and Romeo and a couple of other guys that can do that.

Q: He didn't always have the sack numbers but does his impact go beyond that?

A: Yes of course. You know he's going to do his job. He's accountable. We looked up to him as a leader. He's a brother of ours.

Q: Do you and the other guys have to lift everyone up?

A: Definitely. It's something that as a team it sets us back but we look at it as an opportunity for other guys to get their names out.

Q: Are you in a better position this year to make up for his loss?

A: Yes, we are in a better position than last year. We have guys that have the opportunity. Now, they just have to go for it. It's a blessing for them.

Q: Just from a leadership standpoint how tough of a loss is this?

A: Just knowing what he's capable of. He's going to get the quarterback off his spot and get the movement. He's not going to miss a tackle and he's going to get a tackle for a loss. He's professional and what he does is awesome.

Q: What do you take from that Dallas game in Week 1?

A: We just have to come out fast and play hard. We have to continue to do it and feed off each other and keep playing ball.

Q: What can you do as a secondary to disrupt the chemistry between Dak and Cole Beasley?

A: It starts with our d-line. They can get them off the spot like they did the first game. Not have them looking down field trying to find those guys. Just force them into bad plays and bad passes. If we get an opportunity to make game changing plays, get off the field and get our offense back the ball.

Q: How do you attack that Dak-Zeke attack?

A: It's the front two with Hankins and Snacks. They shut the run down in the middle, we stop the run first and make them one-dimensional. You have two edge guys cut off the edge. Make them move off the spot.

Q: How important is maintaining the gap integrity in this game? Zeke seems patient and is finding holes.

A: You just have to be patient. We just played a patient back in Le'Veon (Bell) who is awesome. I don't think there's a back that's more patient than he was. I think with Ezekiel if he see's a hole, he's going to hit it hard. We just try and hit our hole and stay square. Make sure there is no big holes for him to hit. Just collapse it on him quick. DT Johnathan Hankins

Q: How are you feeling?

A: They just want to make sure that I am full-go on Sunday, so it is really just taking it a day at a time and not really trying to push myself.

Q: Do you feel like you kind of got whacked in the face when you hear about JPP's surgery?

A: Yeah, that was tough losing him, but I am confident that we have some guys that will step up and play the position well and get the job done, so we all have to step up now that we have him out. We are going to see how it goes, we are going to continue to practice and see what happens.

Q: What about those guys gives you confidence?

A: Well, Romeo [Okwara] is, I feel like he is pretty good at setting the edge and getting to the quarterback. Kerry Wynn is probably one of the best, after JPP, at stopping the run, so I think we have a great group of guys that can get the job done and with me, Snacks [Damon Harrison] and OV [Olivier Vernon] we can lighten the load on them. But we do have a tough challenge ahead of us.

Q: Is it discouraging when you have that chemistry going, and you lose a guy?

A: It is always discouraging when you lose a guy on the defense, but it is football, things happen, injuries happen, so it just has to be the next man up goes out there, steps in, takes care of the job and I think that this week of practice will help prepare us to get to where we need to go. So we are praying for JPP, hoping that he can get back soon, but we have to get ready for Dallas.

Q: What is the challenge with Dallas' offense?

A: It is probably one of the best offenses in the league. They can run the ball, they can pass it, they are well balanced. It is going to be a challenge. I feel like the first game we played them pretty well, so hopefully we can imitate that and carry that on to this game.

Q: What about a rookie quarterback who looks like a veteran?

A: Dak [Prescott] has been playing good. They have all been playing good. They have gone on an 11 game winning streak, so you have to give them credit. They are one of the best teams out there, we are going to give it our all and hopefully we come out with the win.

Q: How much do you enjoy playing a Sunday night game at home in the division?

A: This is huge. Not saying the last game we had wasn't huge, but this is big in the division. We have got to win this. My ultimate goal is to win the division and they are in our way, so we have to make sure that we get them taken care of.

Q: How much do you think Zeke {Ezekiel Elliott] has improved since Week 1?

A: Man, I knew the cat was going to be good when he came into the League, and to see him continue to play as well as he has isn't really shocking. He has a great offense, great quarterback, good weapons around him, so I expect him to play great and do great, which he is.

Q: Is this a match-up that you guys relish?

A: Oh, yeah. I love it. It is always a match-up when you go up against Dallas. Since I have been here it is the first time beating them at their home, so they are coming to our home, so we have to protect home field advantage. It is going to be a challenge and I am up to it, we are all up to it, so we are going to see.

Q: What is the message from Ben in relation to dealing with JPP's absence?

A: Just next man up. It is football. People get hurt, people go down and you have to count on the backup that was behind him to step up and fill the spot. But with me, OV, Snacks and the group of guys that we have in that room, I feel like we will be just fine. DE Kerry Wynn

Q: What is your reaction to JPP having surgery?

A: It is really unfortunate. I hate for that to happen to him. I am going to check in on him as soon as possible and see how he is doing. I hope he gets back soon.

Q: Can you describe a little bit more in detail how you guys handled losing him in the game on Sunday?

A: Well, it was an unfortunate situation, but it was a next man up mentality. Both me and Romeo (Okwara) stepped up and did what we had to do.

Q: Would you say that you two split it evenly on Sunday?

A: I felt like it. I didn't really count the reps, but it seemed like it.

Q: How have you guys handled filling JPP's shoes?

A: We went out there and tried to take advantage of the plays we had and did what we were assigned to do.

Q: Is it a big emotional blow to this defense to lose a guy like Jason?

A: Yeah, it hurts. It hurts to not have him in the locker room. He is not with us, but we just have to rally around it and keep going.

Q: I know this is not the way you want the opportunity, but do you look at it as an opportunity to show what you can do?

A: Yeah, like I said, it is just a next man up mentality and we just have to do what we have to do.

Q: How confident are you in the overall defense without him?

A: Still very confident. He is an outstanding player as we all know, but I feel very confident in myself and Romeo.

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