Our first half was very, very well played. I was disappointed with the turnover at the very start of the game. We were in position to have an opportunity to move the ball and then we fumbled the ball away. The ball was in the outside arm, and had it been protected, I don't think that would've occurred. Our defense did a nice job, and following that, we took the ball down and scored quite a few times in a row. We had a nice mix, and Seattle had been number two in the league against the run and number 10 when we played them. They were formidable, despite the fact that they had a couple people missing from their defensive team. I thought our execution was good, and our defense made the timely interceptions in the game to keep Seattle out of the end zone. I thought that our kicking game, our strategic ability to not put the ball in a position where Leon Washington could hurt us helped us tremendously. We were not concerned about the starting point as much as just trying to keep him from taking the ball the distance and I thought that was very effective. When we did kick the ball down with a deep kick, we didn't have a lot of hang time on the ball and Chase made a really nice tackle in the open field that had Leon been able to get to sideline, it might have been problem. They had one breakout run that should have been eliminated but we didn't squeeze it well enough. That would've been controlled as well.
I think that our second half, obviously, was not as outstanding from a couple of standpoints. We did drive the ball down off them and we did kick field goals. We did find a way to not score touchdowns but we really do have some areas there where we can teach from and study, and I think improve ourselves in that respect down in that part of the field. We had been the number two team in the green zone in terms of touchdown percentage, and we did take a little bit of a step back on that. The one thing that I think was disappointing was the one drive with the breakout run and the double-move for the touchdown that Seattle got. I thought that Seattle came in and did a very good job of protecting their quarterback. Neither team had a sack. The young quarterback really did not...had the two interceptions, but really they did a good job of protecting him and controlling the pass game. They ran the ball and tried to run the ball and take the pressure off him, and that's what we expect there that they would try to do with the young quarterback in the game and that's having all his tools available to him. I thought we did finish the game the way we wanted to finish the game. We took the ball with 13:34 left in the fourth quarter, and eventually gave it back to Seattle with 34 seconds left. We ate up really the entire fourth quarter and I thought that was a positive. We did not throw the ball, we ran the ball, and Danny Ware played well in that scheme. Petrus had an opportunity to play, Ramses Barden was one receiver and Duke Calhoun was the other, and we had an opportunity to see those guys in action as blockers. Sage Rosenfels was our quarterback for almost the entire fourth quarter, and it was good to have an opportunity to have Sage play as well. We had many people involved, and to travel out there where we hadn't had a lot of success to play the game we played I thought was a positive thing. Hopefully, we can build from there. We came off the bye week and accomplished some of the things that we said we wanted to accomplish.
We are disappointed in the loss of Adam Koets, who hurt his ACL. Adam was running out to the right sideline right in front of our bench and all of the sudden went down. Apparently it caught his shoe, his cleat, and he just twisted the wrong way. When we got to him, the doctors were just in the process of evaluating him but he told me he felt good and I didn't think it was anything. Naturally, with all the different types of MRIs, etc., the ACL was shown to be an issue. David Diehl, we don't know anything back on, hopefully we'll get some positive news there. Hakeem did have a lateral ankle sprain, but seemed to be doing pretty well today
Q: What are the issues with Diehl?
A: I think you were told that he came out of the game. At first, I thought it was an ankle or a knee, he got kind of bowled over backwards. It's in the isolated areas up in the hip area, exactly what it is, I'm not sure. We're waiting to find out.
Q: That was on the extra point play?
Q: What does that 13-minute drive at the end of regulation say about your offense?
A: That we can take the ball and put the ball on the ground when the opponent knew what our objective was, which was to go into a four-minute mode with an entire quarter left. Just to be able to handle the eight and nine man fronts and be able to do that, and then penetrate and puncture the line of scrimmage, and make first downs under those circumstances. That's a huge plus for a team to think that you can take time off the clock like that. Sure, the situation wasn't the exact four-minute or wasn't a few points or the offense in the lead trying to preserve the lead and the defense trying to preserve the lead and the defense trying to get the ball back. It wasn't one of those, but it was a good thing for us because that's what the intent was of trying to finish the game that way, and we were able to do it.
Q: How does Wade Phillips being out affect your planning for the game? What's your reaction to that news?
A: I just heard that myself, and I feel very badly for Wade, to be honest with you. It's a highly competitive business that we're in, and we want to win and we want to win every game. That's the nature of our profession. No one wants to see a coach dismissed or have his family go through what they're going through, so from a professional standpoint and someone that's one of the 32, we extend our best to Wade and his family. Our preparation, which begins this afternoon, this will be taken into consideration, but as far as us looking at the tape and studying again the Dallas team and knowing it's a divisional game, they should know very well the talent level of their team. We'll be focused on this as a divisional game at home.
Q: You're off to a really hot start right now. Do you have any concerns about how your team may play down the stretch?
A: We're going one game at a time. The next game is our total concern, and that's as far as our thinking goes. It's right there.
Q: Can you recall Eli playing with as much confidence as he is now?
A: Well, he's playing with confidence, he's playing very well. He's very accurate with his passes. He's communicating well with his receivers and the receivers with the quarterback. The protection was very good yesterday against a very sophisticated scheme. I don't know if you realized the number of personnel combinations that Seattle had utilized in their games that we had to prepare for and I thought that the players handled it very well and the credit goes to them and to the coaches. Eli made an awful lot of big plays and the sustaining of all of these drives and finishing the drives with touchdowns in the first half was a real positive.
Q: Is there any decision on Kevin Boothe yet?
A: He's been practicing for two weeks and the decision will be forthcoming, and of course, it's necessitated now by the injury to Adam Koets, so Kevin will be activated.
Q: A lot of people are starting to anoint you guys as favorites for the Super Bowl. Do you think this team is playing as well as it can?
A: I'm really not interested in all of the anointing and all of that stuff. At the beginning of the season, the anointing was the other way. All we're concerned about, again, is our team, the way we're playing, trying to be as good as we can be, our personnel being as good as we can be. I think that everyone in this league tries to be the best that they can be. You're praying that none of your injuries are significant injuries so that you can keep your team together and that is as much of a concern as anybody. We all have to play through no matter what the circumstances are, which obviously will be a challenge right away for us.
Q: Any word on Shaun O'Hara?
A: I have nothing to report on that.
Q: Do you expect the line to be the same this week? Do you like Shawn Andrews at left tackle?
A: Shawn played well at left tackle. He did a good job and was energetic and enthusiastic about playing and for a guy that has played 17, 18, 19 snaps, he played 79 yesterday and responded very well, so I thought that the group played well together and certainly these things are pretty much week to week depending on who is available and who isn't, but I certainly did like the way in which our group yesterday played.
Q: Who else besides Rich can play center?
A: Boothe can play center. Snee can play center. We have a couple of guys who do all of the center-quarterback exchange stuff, so we do have some depth there. Boothe worked at center last week.
Q: How did Blackmon do in the return game? He got some snaps in the secondary as well.
A: Yes he did. He had the one really good punt return. He showed courage in coming up and not letting the ball bounce, utilizing the fair catch sometimes and other times not and the one opportunity that he had on kickoff return, we again didn't do a very good job of giving him a place to go and that continues to be a little concern for me, but I thought Will did a really good job for a guy coming right off the street, just made healthy. He showed the competitive aspect of him as an individual and really the courage to step right in there when his team needed him as the returner.
Q: Do you expect the Cowboys to change much with Jason Garrett in charge?
A: I really don't know about that. Jason has been extremely involved and instrumental in the direction of the Cowboy offense for quite some years, so I would expect that that influence would remain and whether or not there is any significance to the defense, we're just going to have to see if there are any changes there. I couldn't comment.
Q: Your offense has been clicking all around since Houston. What has changed?
A: I don't think anything changed. It's just the fact that with the opportunity to continue to practice and play and it's the ability to make the corrections and the ability to take a group of outstanding players and allow them to grow together. It's a matter of seeing the execution and the performance improve and that's what we strive to do on a weekly basis - to lengthen out each time we play and to stretch ourselves to four quarters of production instead of the spotty way in which we had been performing earlier in the year.
Q: What does it say that you've had some opportunities slip by in the last two games, yet you've scored over 40 points in back to back games?
A: Well, if you take a look at the number of drives that eventually ended up with touchdowns, that's basically where you are. If you cite the Dallas game, you talk about facing adversity, coming from behind, creating our own problems, putting our defense in a very bad situation, but being able to climb out of that hole and not lose confidence and not lose faith in each other, support one another and find a way to scramble to get back in it and this week we just took the ball and following that first turnover, were able to drive the ball on a consistent basis in the first half and put points on the board. I hope we're getting better and I hope we're ascending and it certainly is the time of the year when it is necessary for us to ascend.
Q: Was Wilkinson inactive because of his injury or other reasons?
A: In order to tackle and do the things you have to do as a linebacker, you really have to have some way to wrap and what he's being forced to wear right now is very similar to what Rich Seubert wore, except Rich didn't have to tackle anybody, so it's difficult for Gerris to wrap under the circumstances and with a little bit more healing, perhaps they can make that cast not quite as awkward to him as he attempts to use his fingers and hands in tackling.
Q: Do you have any concerns about Bradshaw wearing down as the season goes on?
A: Ahmad wants the ball more than he's getting it, so I think that's a very positive thing. He's a battler and a fighter and I was impressed by the way Danny Ware came in the game and perhaps we can balance this thing out to where all of our runners can finish the season on a very high level because they've had a chance to carry the ball in each and every game, but we've been able to go ahead and utilize all three of them and they've all been able to share in the ball carrying and the protecting and that type of thing. Don't forget that Ahmad does an outstanding job as a pass protector. That is very, very important to him - it's high on his list of priorities. He is physical. He does that as well as anybody, to be honest with you, and so that solidifies the way in which he plays and contributes.
Q: Do you expect Beatty to be able to do some more this week?
A: It's like I said last week. I told you that we expect him to be in the individual and until we get the green light beyond that, I won't be able to respond, but we're going to put him in individual and see where that goes.