Head Coach Joe Judge
Opening Statement: Today we'll begin our preparation for Dallas. I'd say just off the bat, this is an extremely talented team. They're playing at a very, very high level. Getting ready for this team is really going to take everything we have on all three sides of the ball.
Offensively, obviously (Cowboys Head Coach) Mike's (McCarthy) background is offense. You see a large influence of his this year. It's still (Cowboys Offensive Coordinator) Kellen (Moore) calling the plays. There's a large design for Kellen's offense and that stretches back even going through his experience with (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett). But you see a lot of the influence in terms of how they're playing. The run game is extremely efficient and effective on early downs staying ahead of the sticks. They're doing a great job on early downs with the short controlled passing game, ties a lot back into that West Coast offense with Mike and how he's used it in the past. And, of course, they know how to really tie in shot plays down the field and create matchups for their players. Doing a really good job with (Cowboys Running Back) Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott), (Cowboys Wide Receiver) CeeDee Lamb, (Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari) Coop (Cooper) and those guys, really getting them involved. (Cowboys Tight End Dalton) Schultz has really shown up big in key situations, been a very productive player. I think their offensive line this year is playing at an extremely high level. I think we all know about how talented that line has been over the course of the last decade-plus and they just keep on rolling with those guys. That's really helping their run game and their pass game. I think you talk about No. 4, (Cowboys Quarterback) Dak (Prescott) is one of the top guys in the league, one of the most productive players. He's still a threat with his legs, he's not afraid to run it, but this guy really keeps his eyes downfield, looks to extend plays really more for the pass than anything else. I think when you talk about their offense, you can go ahead and just spin a wheel, there's a weapon at every turn, so you can't focus on one guy. You've got to play good, sound defense as a team and work hard to get them off the field, and that's easier said than done.
Defensively, you can see (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Dan's (Quinn) influence right away. This team plays fast, they play aggressive, they're very high-effort and they're having a lot of results with turnovers. It's a turnover-driven defenses, they're having a lot of production and that really stems from up front with the pass rush and the disruption they're getting there. They're able to pin their ears back and really get you if they get you behind the sticks. When you reference across the board what they're doing, you can see some of the influence from Dan schematically, but they're doing a lot of different things schematically than what they did when he was in Atlanta or his years through that Seattle system. They've got defensive backs who are very talented, they'll match up very sticky on you, whether that's playing man or match up zone. Creates a lot of problems for you with the receivers in terms of having to fight to get open and then while you're struggling to get open, they go ahead with the rush. It's a very high stunt percentage, a lot of games up front. They know how to use the movement and get after you. That's something they do very, very well. Right now, they're leading the league I believe when they're stunting in terms of pressures on the quarterback and the results, so that's something we have to be prepared for this week in terms of how they use their front.
In the kicking game, known (Cowboys Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) Bones for a long time. Lot of respect for this guy. When you talk about Bones, it's about being sound, communicating, knowing how aggressive he's going to call it, how talented they are in the kicking game. They have a very good core. They have extremely talented specialists, talking about (Cowboys Punter Bryan) Anger and (Cowboys Kicker Greg) Zuerlein, the big-leg kicker and punter who can flip the field position, who can score far field goals. You talk about the guys with the ball in their hands in the return game, (Cowboys Running Back Tony) Pollard and CeeDee Lamb. Obviously, these are two of their top offensive players. They're looking for more opportunities to get the ball in their hands and they can make explosive plays at any point.
On all three sides of the ball, we've got to come prepared, we have to have a good week of preparation, that starts today, and we've got to make sure we translate it over in 60 minutes on Sunday. That being said, I'll open it up for any questions.
Q: Has (Cowboys Cornerback Trevon) Diggs on their backend become a player where you have to identify where he is or are they kind of playing him off to one side?
A: I think you've got to know where this guy is. He's extremely aggressive, he's been very productive. You don't have the results that he's had by accident. This guy has obviously really taken a step forward as a player this year, learned from some things in the past. He's very, very aggressive, he's got great ball skills, he's got great instincts on when to break on the ball and when to undercut the receiver going across the middle. You see that interception he had against the Chargers, that was an outstanding play. To play from behind, catch up to this guy as he's running away from his leverage to undercut him and then lay out and make that interception, that just shows you in terms of the instincts, the awareness, playing within the scheme and just the playmaking ability this guy has.
Q: The way the offense operated on Sunday, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime, is that the way you guys can function going forward being more aggressive and pushing the ball downfield?
A: As far as our offensive approach, really it's the same on all three sides of the ball. Whatever it's going to take to win a matchup with that opponent and whatever the flow of the game dictates, that's how we're going to have to play. Obviously, we made some plays pushing the ball down the field the other day, that was something we saw from their defense that we were able to make plays on. (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) did a good job getting the ball out to receivers. They did a good job protecting up front to give us the time to get the ball downfield.
Q: You obviously don't call the plays, but what is your role in kind of determining what the offense is going to be big-picture and just week to week?
A: We talk through it continuously starting on Monday, going through Monday and Tuesday. Today, we start the prep, it goes into the install of what's going in, it goes into what's being run on the field and making sure that we're sound in everything we're doing and then talking collectively in terms of what we're practicing. You always start out with more in practice than you end up with in the game. You've got to throw some things against the wall sometimes and say, 'Okay, that one doesn't make the cut. Maybe we'll come back to that next week if it fits the scheme and what we're looking for.' Then, within the game, controlling the flow of the game, how we're doing it, making sure that we're playing what we planned or as things are being done in the game, we adjust accordingly.
Q: You talked about using the early part of the season to kind of figure out what you do well, what your identity is. When you look at your offense now, what do you view as the identity of that group?
A: I think the identity of the group right now is I think we're doing a good job protecting up front, we're doing a good job getting the ball to playmakers in space and letting them make plays with their legs. We've been able to be productive in some elements of the run game. I think it's something we've got to keep on improving on. In terms of the pass game, I like the way we're setting things up on early downs. We've become more efficient on some third downs and we're executing better situationally. So in terms of our identity, I like the way our guys are taking what's given to them. We don't have to go out there and force plays. Go out there and understand what's presented in front of us, what's the defense giving us, what matchup can we create, what zone or man matchup works better for us, and Daniel is doing a good job identifying that pre-snap and making decisions post-snap.
Q: During the draft, how did you evaluate (Cowboys Linebacker) Micah Parsons as a player and why did you ultimately decide not to go in that direction?
A: Our decisions for our team were big-picture (and) what we thought was best for our team. Him as a player, he's an elite player. This guy is explosive. I think the one thing that I picked up on him when I went to the pro day at Penn State and you stand next to him, he's a big man. That's the one thing I told the team today is this guy on tape sometimes doesn't look as big as he is. He's a big guy, he's strong and he's explosive. You watch this guy play, he's very athletic, he has really, really good instincts. Obviously, they use him on the edge in the pass rush, he's got the green dot, he's playing in the stack right now, makes plays in both spots. This is a guy that coming out looking at his college tape, he actually had a lot of production on the edge that we looked at and talked collectively about (how) this guy really gives you dual value – stack backer to edge backer, he can cover, he can blitz, he can do a lot of things. I think this guy is going to be one of the elite players in the league for a long time. Our decision had nothing to do with his impact as a player, we just make the best decision for the team.
Q: I know you're cognizant of trusting the process and this is a gradual thing, but this is a game against a division rival and if you win this game, all of a sudden, this race looks different, a lot different than it did when we talked a couple of weeks ago. Are you mindful of that?
A: Well, this race goes the entire length of 17 weeks, so we're going to make sure that every week we keep taking a step forward and we want to be consistent in how we prepare and make sure we're a better team each week. That's our focus. All the big-picture stuff, that'll take care of itself. We can take care of how we prepare today on early downs and third down. Tomorrow, we'll show up and work early down, third down and some of the red area. That's our focus right there. We're going to keep it small and keep it focused.
Q: In your experience with a young player who's not really 100-percent proven – let's say Daniel in this case. When they win a national award, a Player of the Week kind of thing, can that help a player, his psyche, his confidence, things like that, outside influences helping him?
A: I don't think we need outside confirmation to tell us what we're doing and that's kind of as a team. When someone gets an award like that, that's a team award. Any time a quarterback gets an award, that starts with the protection. That starts with the skill players being able to make plays with the ball in their hands. It starts with the defense and the kicking game giving field position and opportunities to get the ball back and make plays. Obviously, what he's done is he's capitalized on the opportunities and that's what we preach to all of our players. You can't force when the opportunity comes your way, but you have to handle it the right way when it does. He obviously has done that. He's put our team in a position to have success. I see him improving every day. In terms of just national awards improving someone's psyche, I've seen this guy weather a lot of storms already. In our short time together, I've seen him weather a lot of storms. In terms of anything on the outside influencing him, if he's going to go ahead and have this make him feel good, what's it going to be when it crashes down the other way? This guy does a good job of just making sure he stays focused on what the task at hand is and move forward every week.
Q: It can feel good though, right? I mean, a player is allowed to feel good about getting something, you know? It's human nature – you get an award, 'Oh great.' I'm not saying it's life-changing, but it's better than –
A: Can he feel good about it? Yeah, absolutely. Enjoy it. Can it affect how you work, prepare and perform this week? Absolutely not.
Q: When you look at Lamb and Cooper, some teams have one really good receiver (and) they have two. How much of a challenge is that? Also, schematically, what do you notice about how they're using them and what sort of challenges do they pose scheme-wise?
A: I'd say first off, just talking about the skill players there, you even go beyond those two. I mean, (Wide Receiver Michael) Gallup's obviously injured right now, I don't know where he's going to be exactly this week. Schultz has really done a good job at the tight end position, the two backs and these guys, so it's all across the board. In terms of schematically, what they're doing a really good job of right now with all their guys is they're finding creative ways within their base plays of dressing it up and getting the ball out, so every time the ball hits Dak's hands it looks the same way. The other thing they're doing is you watch a lot of tape, there's obviously a lot of thought put into how they're using 88, Lamb. Whether he's in the backfield on the short-yardage stuff or breaking the huddle fast, getting lined up and using him as a running back. You see him in the Tampa game, they kind of bluff that quick screen to the side and he kind of bluffs and goes. So, these are obviously things they put a lot of thought into in terms of a game plan (and) preparation of how do we get him involved? How do we create explosive plays with CeeDee Lamb? And I'd say this, this guy's extremely talented. Ball in his hand, I don't care if it's punt return, handoff, receiving, whatever it is, this guy is a weapon every time he touches it.
Q: You said Daniel has weathered a lot of storms. Can you share an example of what you consider a storm that he's weathered?
A: I'm not going to go into the specific details, but this kid's pretty mentally tough. In terms of handling any outside influence, positive or negative, I've seen this guy already just go ahead, come in and be unfazed and unaffected, and make sure he influences the team the right way internally.
Q: When you play a team that's aggressive, especially Dallas on defense, how much can you use that against them?
A: I think every team tries to play aggressive. I think there's different ways you can kind of pose and say, 'What matchup can we get on a certain player? How do they play? Can we find something to use them?' I think it still comes back to the base fundamentals of you can scheme everything up to say we have to isolate this one guy in this one specific coverage or how they're going to play something, but then you've got to go back to the whole sound board of, look, it's the protection upfront, it's how we get the guys out. If they take that away on that guy, what's the rest of the pattern look like? What's the rest of the run look like? So, can you try to find a way to scheme guys up? Yeah, we all do that every week. Can you rely solely on that one scheme up or that one play? Absolutely not.
Q: You said they have a high stunt percentage – this potentially could be, from what we see, that you have your entire offensive line play back-to-back weeks. Is that an advantage for you guys to have that, not having to keep moving guys around? I know you have confidence in all the guys, but starting the same five presumably would be better than not?
A: It's always nice to have some continuity with the guys at the game. The last few weeks, we had new guys come in every week as far as getting them acclimated to our systems, (getting) on the same language and then trying to get them ready for a game at the same time. That's a challenge, but (Offensive Lineman) Wes (Martin) has done a good job of that. (Guard) Ben (Bredeson) did that early in the season. (Offensive Lineman Matt) Skura did that early in the season as far as getting ready. (Offensive Lineman) Jonotthan Harrison, coming back the last few weeks getting ready. I'd say in terms of just an advantage on it, the advantage is going to go to whoever performs better on Sunday, so we've got to do a good job preparing for these guys and accounting for everything they can do and things we've seen from other games as well that are going to show up in this game.
Q: You had a different speed element at receiver with (Wide Receiver John) Ross (III) and (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) playing as much as he did. I'm wondering if you saw on tape looking back or if you expect going forward, does that help clear the box and give (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) more space when safeties have to be really worried about Ross and Toney going deep?
A: I'd say just a general football answer to that is, yeah, if you've got speed that can take the top off, they've got to decide on how they want to cover you. Do they trust a guy to lock up man the entire game, the entire field? Do they have to have safety help over the top? Is it one safety, two safeties based on however they see your guys as a threat and the situation of it? Does it help you as far as kind of lightening up the box? It can. It can. Now, some teams will just turn around and just tell their corners, have a nice day and we're going to load the box anyway, so we'll see how they approach it.
Q: On Sunday night, (Patriots Head Coach) Bill Belichick went into the Bucs locker room to talk to (Buccaneers Quarterback) Tom (Brady) for like 20 minutes after the game and a lot of people view that as out of character for him. What did you make of that?
A: I think when you know the guy, I don't think you see anything like that as out of character. There's a lot of things you kind of see publicly and lot of things you kind of see privately. I've worked for a lot of guys whose maybe public perception doesn't come off great, but privately you know them as some of the best human beings you've ever met.
Q: Anything on (Wide Receiver) Sterling (Shepard) and (Wide Receiver) Darius (Slayton)? Do we expect to see them out there?
A: We'll see them move around a little bit today. We'll see where they're at. I know both guys are kind of pushing to get back as fast as they can, but we'll have to see them today. Really, we'll have to see them tomorrow when the pace comes up a little bit in practice.
Q: Do you expect them to be in practice to some degree the next few days?
A: I'm optimistic.
Q: Are (Safety) Jabrill (Peppers) and (Wide Receiver C.J.) Board in the same thing?
A: (Jabrill is) actually in the same exact thing. C.J. will be out here full today. He's going to be good to go.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: How much of an impact does it have on you when your left tackle is playing as well as (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) is?
A: It has a huge impact on me and on everyone I think. He's played great, (there's) no secret about it. When you turn on the tape, he's shut down pass rushers and whoever's he's gone up against, he's played really well – so big credit to him. It's huge. It's the ultimate team game and that's an important position, and he's played well.
Q: What's your reaction about winning NFC Offensive Player of the Week?
A: I'm certainly grateful to be recognized and (I) appreciate it. I think it says a lot about our offense and our team. We talked about Andrew – the whole team has to play well to score points and to gain a lot of yards, so I think it's a credit to all those guys.
Q: With key guys out and the way guys have stepped up for you, specifically the receivers, how much does that just open up options for the passing game and just moving forward for the rest of this season?
A: I think it does a ton. I think the depth at that position is big for us and a lot of guys are coming in and doing a lot of different things well. Kind of playing to their skill set, giving them opportunities, calling plays based on what they do well, and I think you saw that. (We were) able to highlight a lot of those guys, so that was big. Those guys stepped up. (Wide Receiver) John (Ross III) obviously stepped up and a lot of those guys, so that was big for us.
Q: When you went back and watched that though, how much different did the offense look? I mean, you did throw the ball downfield a lot more, so when you were looking at it on the film was it a significant difference?
A: Not really. I think the biggest thing was executing it. I thought we executed it better on the field. I think there have been opportunities that we haven't executed as well early on and we were able to do that. That's a credit to – you know we talked about the guys up front and the receivers who stepped up. It takes a whole group.
Q: (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) said earlier today since he's been with you you've weathered a lot of storms. What do you think he's referring to there?
A: I don't know, I mean, we haven't won enough games – that's no secret – the first two years, and obviously this season didn't start how we wanted it to or expected it to. Those are storms we've all had to weather, and we've got to continue to progress, continue to improve. I think it was a big win for us, but it's over now and our focus is on Dallas and making sure we're prepared this week.
Q: Do you think it's made you tougher somewhat mentally or physically?
A: Yeah, I think so. I think it's hard to win in this league and it doesn't come easy. It comes with a lot of hard work and preparation. I think it's taught that lesson more than anything. That's important every week, like I said. Now the focus is preparing this week and making sure we're prepared to play on Sunday.
Q: What do you think of the Dallas defense, especially a couple of those players who have turned into playmakers?
A: I think it's a good group, a very talented group. They play fast, play hard. Talked about some of those guys who've made plays, they've turned the ball over a lot, taken the ball away and affected the game. So, we'll have to be aware of some of those guys and have a plan for them, but it comes down to us doing what we need to do and executing as a unit.
Q: Is (Cowboys Cornerback Trevon) Diggs taking more chances? Is that why he has five interceptions or what do you attribute that to?
A: Yeah, I think he is in certain situations, but like any good corner or d-back, he's selective about when he kind of takes those chances, so being heads up for that and being aware of it. You can tell he's a smart player and he knows when to take those chances.
Q: What's the key to being successful when you're throwing those deep balls? It seems like that's something you've been really good at these last two years.
A: I think just giving guys a chance to make a play and giving them a chance, not trying to overthrow it or throw it out of bounds. I think more often than not, a guy's going to go up and make a play for you or separate and our guys have been able to do that for us. I think that's part of it.
Q: When you're throwing the deep ball and you see 12, you see Ross going out there, does something in your head have to click and say, 'Okay, he's a little bit faster'?
A: Yeah, certainly. I think I learned that pretty early in camp. Obviously, he had an injury that kept him out of the back half of camp, but you can see the speed. You can feel it definitely when you throw it.
Q: The criticism of (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett), at least prior to this week kind of has been at times that he's too vanilla or too conservative. I'm just curious, what do you think when you hear that?
A: I certainly don't agree with it. I think when you watch the tape and you turn it on and you watch other offenses, I don't think that's a fair conclusion to draw from comparing different schemes. I think more than anything, it's been about us executing it and taking advantage of some of those plays that have been there. I thought we did a better job on Sunday, so we've got to continue to do that. I think the opportunities have been there and I think the stuff we're doing on offense has kept defenses on their heels.
Q: Every coach has talked about how (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) has to earn their trust, your trust. Where are you at with that? Has he made strides now that he's been practicing and all that?
A: He is. I thought he had a great week last week in practice and that kind of translated to the field and he made a ton of plays for us. I think you can see how dangerous he can be with the ball in his hands and making guys miss, staying on his feet, extending plays. I've got to continue to focus on doing that, getting him the ball. I think he's come to it with the right approach of learning and we're constantly talking and getting on the same page throughout the week as we game plan.
Q: (Cowboys Linebacker) Micah Parsons looks like he can play inside as well as outside. How much do you have to be aware of where he is pre-snap and just what have you seen from him as a rookie and as a pass rusher especially?
A: Like you said, he's extremely versatile as a player. He can rush the passer, he can play in the box as a linebacker, and I think his speed jumps off the tape when you watch him – how quick he is to the ball, to find the ball and how physical he can be. I think that's it, recognizing where he is and understanding his speed and how aggressive he plays. He's an extremely athletic linebacker, pass rusher and someone we'll have to be aware of.
Q: In baseball, it seems that when a guy is hitting well, they say, 'He's seeing the ball.' As a quarterback, when you're playing well, are you seeing the field better, the defenses better or what?
A: I think there are a lot of things that go into it. I think football is different than baseball – it's a team game, there are 10 other guys that you're counting on. Those guys getting open, the guys up front protecting, those are huge factors in it and guys have done that at a high level. I think that's big. I think seeing it (and) being confident in what you're seeing is also always a part of playing the position.
Cornerback Adoree' Jackson
Q: On that play where you went down, it looked like something really serious, but then you were back in two plays later. What happened?
A: Just got banged up. It's just one of those things where it feels like something, it might be something, but they check you out and you feel good when you run off. It's just one of those things in the moment.
Q: That must've been a big relief for you, huh?
A: Hell yeah. I'm not trying to be hurt (laughs).
Q: When you're going against Dallas, they've got two weapons when most teams have one. How much of a challenge is that?
A: It's a huge challenge. For us, having the guys that we have here on our offense and being able to work against them and trying to get a good look, that's what I'm really most thankful for. But, I understand that Dallas has a lot of weapons – two good backs, two receivers, a great tight end. They've got a lot of weapons and a great quarterback.
Q: How different are (Cowboys Wide Receiver) CeeDee (Lamb) and (Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari) Coop (Cooper)?
A: I'll say they're similar from the aspect where they can go short gain, medium or deep ball. On another aspect, they're great ball catchers. They're both go-to guys for their team, so I don't know any differences. I just know the similarities are that they can affect the game and change the game tremendously.
Q: How did it feel for you guys – I know at the end of games you guys had been struggling to get off the field, but against the Saints you were able to do that. How big was that for you guys?
A: It was one of those things where we knew (to) just stay down, keep pushing, keep fighting, because at the end of the day it was going to turn one way or another. I'm thankful that it happened last week for us to get some momentum and get the ball rolling. For us, we never wavered no matter what happened the first three games. We were playing and kept going. We knew things were going to go our way eventually and it happened to be last week.
Q: How do you build on this now facing the Cowboys on the road?
A: Just stay focused and understand that was last week. Each week, you're starting off trying to be 1-0. You're not thinking about the record that you have. We're trying to be 1-0. For us, just focusing in on the details, the technique and being fundamentally sound.
Q: What do you see in their offense with the way (Cowboys Quarterback) Dak (Prescott) is playing and the way they're running the ball right now?
A: They're playing lights out. Dak is throwing the ball well. Zeke (Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott) and (Cowboys Running Back Tony) Pollard are running the ball well. You've got Coop and CeeDee. They've just got weapons – and the tight end, so you could do as much as you want to do. That's why I'm saying this week, we're focusing on fundamentals, technique, worrying about doing your job and trusting that the other 10 brothers that you've got out there will do theirs.
Q: What do you see from Amari Cooper? What makes him so good?
A: I remember the first time I went against him was in 2017. He was with the Raiders when I was playing against him. He's just an elite guy at the line of scrimmage. Great route runner (and) can catch the ball well. I feel like he's a complete receiver.
Q: Is he one of the best route runners you've ever faced?
A: Yeah, I feel like he's a great route runner.
Q: Do you consider Dak an elite quarterback, like a top-two quarterback in the league?
A: I feel like anybody that starts is elite, no matter what's going on. You may try to downplay a guy here or there, but at the end of the day they're a starting quarterback for a reason. I feel like he's an elite quarterback. They give him the keys to the offense. He's able to dink and dunk, throw the deep ball, the medium ball or hand it off to his weapons, so he does a great job.
Q: Does this week feel any different now that you've finally gotten a win under your belt?
A: It still feels like it did last week when we didn't have a win. We're just going out there trying to compete, battle and understand that nothing should change. It's just another game, but at the end of the day it gives you a little bit of momentum. But you can't really put too much focus on that because each week is a new challenge.
Q: So, no lingering concern on your knee?
A: No, sir.
View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.