Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Q: How is Justin Pugh doing at this point?
A: We will see more on Justin tomorrow.
Q: Has he shown you anything this week?
A: He has been limited all week. He will get some more work tomorrow and we will take a look at him.
Q: How big of a boost would that be if he is able to play on Sunday?
A: Justin is a good player. We have confidence in all of those guys over there at the left guard position, but he has played a lot of football for us.
Q: What about Shane Vereen?
A: Again, we will take another look at Shane tomorrow and see how he is doing. He has had a good, productive week so far, we just have to see if he is ready.
Q: How did he seem to respond to the contact yesterday?
A: He seemed to respond okay.
Q: Did you get what you wanted out of that padded practice yesterday.
A: Yes. It was a good practice. We started the first half of practice, probably about 60 percent of practice, we had pads on and then we took them off, we went to shells. But we had some good contact. It was a good, physical practice, competitive. A lot of guys jockeying for spots and that is always healthy this time of year.
Q: Has Shane been a full participant?
A: I would say he is limited.
Q: How is the running back rotation going to change with Vereen coming back?
A: We will take a look at that. That is a hypothetical right now. We will take a look at that when we come to it.
Q: How would rain, sleet or snow affect you guys?
A: Great. We are a cold weather team; we welcome the weather conditions. I think it would be great for our team and great for the game. I think it would create a great atmosphere.
Q: So you like it to snow?
A: Oh, yeah. Don't you? I think that playing in the elements is always fun for the players and coaches and we practice in it, we see it every day, so it would be great for us.
Q: Do you approach it differently?
A: You take everything into consideration.
Q: What makes a team a cold weather team?
A: Living in it is a good place to start. Practicing in it helps. Being able to play physically behind your pads helps, being able to keep your feet on the ground helps, playing on turf usually levels it out a little bit, but it is good playing in it and living in it.
Q: When a team that plays most of its games indoors comes up into your elements, do you think that is an advantage for you?
A: It can be an advantage. You still have to execute; it still comes down to execution. You have to be able to execute your plan.
Q: You mentioned that you saw Odell smile on the TV copy of last week's game. Do you watch the TV copy and what do you get out of that?
A: Of all the games? Yes. You try to see as much as you can see.
Q: Does it give any different perspective?
A: You can hear and see things that you normally wouldn't be able to, yes.
Q: What do you consider being at stake on Sunday night?
A: We have a big game, a big opportunity for us in the division. It will be a highly competitive football game and an opportunity for us to get a win.
Q: On the TV copy, have you heard the announcers make comments on the size of your play sheet?
A: Have I heard that? There are certain things that I listen to and certain things that I don't.
Q: It has kind of become a thing where every game people mention it. Why is it so big?
A: It is a map of the field. It is more of a thought process than it is a play sheet.
Q: Has it always been that size or has it sort of evolved over the years?
A: It has evolved as situational football has evolved.
Q: So where they are on the field is where you look on the sheet?
Q: When you say cold weather football team, some people may perceive that the lack of the run game and the three wide alignment isn't really built to win in December. I'm guessing that you disagree with that?
A: Yeah, I disagree with it. I have been a part of some three wide receiver teams in the past who played a lot of three wides in the past who have won Super Bowls in bad weather conditions and elements. Tight Ends Coach Kevin Gilbride
Q: On Will Tye.
A: I think he's adjusted well but I am looking for more out of him. I'm going to continue to always talk to him and say play fast, play fast, finish longer than the play. Those are the two things I want to see out of him this week and I think you're going to get it.
Q: What do you mean by finish longer than the play, on the blocking game you're talking about?
A: Yes, exactly. Whether it be once the ball is thrown, immediately turn-up and find someone to block, that's one area. Another one is sustaining the block longer than you think you have to in the run game. He does a nice job initially. And then at times, guys will fall off late, whether they make the play or not, might not be noticed by other people, I notice (laughs). I want to make sure that we can continue to work on that moving forward.
Q: What's your assessment on blocking from the tight ends this season?
A: Done a nice job. The guy that's brought some energy and some strength is Jerell Adams. He doesn't necessarily always take the proper footwork and at times it looks like his body is out of control, but if you refer him back to the finish, just watch how he finishes, that's what I'm looking for.
Q: That's what you thought you would get out of him coming in?
A: Yeah, a good blocker initially and then, can be explosive in the passing game. Which he has shown a few times.
Q: Has he lived up to what you thought?
A: He's exactly who we thought he was. I think he'll continue to develop and get better and better as he continues to play more. Really it's, once he gets familiar with the NFL and the structure of the defensive fronts, the structure of the coverage, the more he learns, the better and more comfortable he's going to be. When he feels comfortable, that's when he excels.
Q: What went into the decision at the bye to sort of make the switch. Obviously Larry Donnell is playing significantly less?
A: Well really, the reality of it is that we need to protect the football and that was the number one issue with Larry. Larry is a bright kid, works hard, does a nice job with his technique but first and foremost, you've got to protect the ball. It puts your team in a bad position if you're turning it over and that's happened.
Q: How has he held up mentally?
A: He's actually done a very nice job. He's ready to go. He's locked in through the meetings, through practice. He's ready to go when his number is called.
Q: What was his reaction when you had to tell him that this was the way you were going to go?
A: I think he understood. He knows how important it is. It's just one of those things that he has to realize, he's got to continue to be ready and when he is, when he gets his opportunity, I think you'll see a different guy as far as making sure he protects the football.
Q: Obviously that one snap he played on Sunday didn't go very well. Is that a sign that you guys are going to try to ease him back into things?
A: I don't necessarily want to comment on playing time as far as what we have moving forward. I'll say this, the reason ihe was in for that play is that he's by far the best at that particular route. He's a big target and we know that he's made many plays for us in the end zone and that's what we were trying to get done.
Q: What's it going to take for you to trust him again?
A: I think I do trust him again. It's a matter of, right now, those other two guys are playing pretty well and he needs to be ready when his number is called.
Q: Is it a mental thing with him? How do you work on that with him or is it a physical thing, too?
A: It's both. Mentally, once he touches the football, it's got to be the most important thing to him, that's number one. The second is, with that thought process, with that approach to having the ball in your hands, the technique of it. It's our high and tight technique with our fifth point of ball security.
Q: Coach McAdoo was talking about this being a cold weather team, do you find that to be an advantage when teams come in here and the wind is blowing?
A: I think it's somewhat of an advantage, I don't think it's a huge advantage. The fact that we practice in it, we had a great practice yesterday, a very physical practice yesterday, we're prepping for that type of a game and hopefully we're more prepared than Dallas. CB Coach Tim Walton
Q: What do you think was the key to the success that you guys had against Dez Bryant in Week 1?
A: It was a combination of the pass rush, the guys up front doing well, putting pressure on the quarterback and guys being disciplined on the back end. Janoris did a good job of playing him and matching up. Guys over the top. It was a combination of things.
Q: How does your guys' job change now that JPP is not there?
A: It stays the same. It's the next man up. The upfront guys are trying to handle getting pressure on the quarterback and stuff like that. It's our job to try and be disciplined on the back end. Basically everything will stay the same for us.
Q: What have you been able to do to limit some of the top receivers you have played this year?
A: Team defense. When the guys get pressure up front, it forces the ball to come out faster. Our guys compete. Janoris has been matching up a lot of times against those guys when it's on the outside. He does a good job of competing. DRC, we have him inside. They move those guys around. DRC faced A.J. (Green) a few times in the slot. It's the same thing with Dez in the first game. He knocked down a pass in the end zone in the slot. When they move those guys around, both guys get a chance to play against top guys. With that, along with the pass rush, team defense, it works out good for us.
Q: Is that sort of where DRC is the advantage in the slot when they move big guys like that?
A: Yes. A lot of teams, that's what they do. They move the best players around. If you watch Dez, he lines up in all three receiver spots. Watch him play. A.J., he lines up in all three receiver spots. Those are two examples of tall, big guys that can run. Their inside skills cause for good matchups.
Q: Do you guys decide before a game if Janoris is going to follow a guy or is the decision made on the fly?
A: We usually decide before games on some things. Usually, you have mid-stream adjustments during the game. What happens is on offense, they change the stuff that they do and what they put on film, too. It changes as we go. Sometimes we have a pre-plan with some stuff that we might want to do.
Q: How has Eli Apple responded since he sat out that half?
A: He's responded well. He came back and in the Cleveland game almost got a pick. Then he came back in the Steelers game and had a tackle for a loss, recovered a fumble and had an interception. He's starting to respond and play well for us. It's good to see him.
Q: Sometimes you have rookies that have ups and downs. Do you feel that he is past that now?
A: Yes. Hopefully he is ready to take off and continue to grow. That's the thing. They play elite receivers in the league. Sometimes as a rookie, you make rookie mistakes. He's grown and matured with it. He's getting better each week.
Q: Where has he improved the most this season?
A: Just his discipline. He's a competitor and a big, physical guy. He'll tackle. It's his discipline where he has grown. He's becoming more consistent. You get that by reps. The more reps you get, you actually get to see things that you have on tape instead of for the first time.
Q: How did Leon Hall handle that stretch where he was a healthy scratch?
A: He's a pro. He's a great teammate and a great guy to coach. He's the ultimate professional and is back in the mix now, moving around a little bit. It's good. He handled it great.
Q: Is that a tough conversation to have?
A: Yes. Obviously they all want to play. Like you said, he understands how things go sometimes. Hats off on how he handled his stuff. It's a long football season. He's back in it. There is a lot of football left to be played. They all know that hopefully we can be playing a lot more games. This way, everyone gets a chance to get a lot of reps.
Q: Coty Sensabaugh, you guys seem to be using him in a lot of packages and sets. What does he bring and when do you decide when and where you're going to use him?
A: Smart guy. Instinctive. He understands route combinations. He sees formations and tendencies very well. He has a good football IQ. We just take time and try and use him. Try and let everyone have a role. He's a guy that can definitely help and contribute to this team a lot. We have to make sure we utilize him.