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Dallas coach Wade Phillips, 12.02.09

Q. How much of your success last week was you guys and how much of it was that you were playing the Raiders?

A. We have had success before that. We had a couple of games that we didn’t do quite as well, but you can say that about any team. I think it is more us than anything. We have worked hard at what we are doing. We have been one of the top offensive teams in the league. We have had a couple of games where we didn’t score quite as many points but still moved the football.

Q. Is there something glaringly different with the Giants that you see compared to when you faced them earlier in the season?

A. Not much, they still have a real strong running game. Their quarterback is real good, excellent receivers, especially their young receivers. Defensively, they are third or fourth in the league, so it’s not a whole lot of difference.

Q. What has the presence of Miles Austin meant to your offense?

A. Quite a bit. I don’t know, he probably has the highest average in the league per catch. He has really come on to the scene. Once we started playing him he’s really made a difference. He has a lot of touchdowns, a lot of yards receiving and he is a threat.

Q. He had some production last year and was quiet early this season and then really took off. What happened?

A. He was hurt early in the season and that stopped his progress a little bit. That was really the only thing that held him back this year. He was hurt early and we had an open competition for that receiver spot. Once he got well and had a chance to compete for it, he did great.

Q. What makes you confident that this December will be more successful than previous Decembers for the Cowboys?

A. Well, we are just playing one game at a time. The first 11 games make a difference, too, to where you are. Those games are important, it’s not just one month. People can come up with all kinds of stats. I think the Cardinals lost three out of four last year and went to the Super Bowl and almost won the Super Bowl. So you can come up with all kinds of stats but all it is how you finish your record that season not only in December, only in November or only on Thursday nights. We can come up with all kind of baseball stats if we want to.

Q. How is the health of your team?

A. Pretty good, we have a couple starters out, but it’s fairly good.

Witten and Romo were a little banged up going into the last game but they have made it through fine. I think they’re healthy. We lost Colombo and Ken Hamlin, two starters, but the other guys have come out and played.

Q: Did you notice a difference in Felix Jones last week playing without the brace?

A: Yeah, I think a little bit. He’s getting healthy. He and Barber have both been getting healthy, and we didn’t have Felix last year at this time. I think that’s a real plus for us this year because he was hurt at the end of last year. He is an explosive player and he can make big plays, he certainly did last week.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about Brandon Jacobs up here. I think he had his longest run of the year against you guys. What did you see from him in that game, and what have you seen of him lately?

A: Well, he’s always been big and strong. He plays really hard and I have a great regard for him. He plays hard against us and everybody. I think the guy is a really good back, and he is tough to stop. Once he gets on a roll, he gets going downhill on you. He can give you a lot of problems, and I have great respect for Brandon Jacobs.

Q: Did you think he did that in Week 2 against you guys, as far as taking you downhill, wearing you down, and getting in a groove?

A: Well, he tries to do that every game, and they try to do that. He’s a really strong runner, and I have great regard for him and he’s a really good player.

Q: You think the Giants offensive line has given the kind of push this season it has in years past?

A: You know, they have lost some close games. We just study what they do and what they don’t do. I’m not one to comment on what or how the Giants are doing. I’m just telling you what we see, and we see a good football team that is playing at home. This is a big division game for both of us.

Q: The Cowboys pass rushers have come on quite a bit in the past month or so. What contributed to that in general?

A: In the first couple of games, we played teams like the Giants and Tampa, you know (Byron) Leftwich didn’t get sacked by us or the Giants. I thought we had a good rush earlier in the year and we just kept coming. We had good pass rushers, and we have a good group. We were first last year in sacks, and third the year before so we have a pretty good rush.

Q: Chris Canty has only played in a few games this year. What do you see in him? Do you think he’s back in his form?

A: Chris Canty was a really good football player, and one we hated to lose. We especially hate to lose him to the Giants. He’s a real good player and we don’t expect anything but good things from him because he’s a good player.

Q: Have you guys figured out why Tony Romo and Roy Williams can’t seem to connect?

A: Well, we had 494 yards of total offense last game and Tony had over 300 yards in quite a few games, and he’s thrown touchdown passes in the last few games. I don’t know if they’re not connecting, but I think it will come along. We use a lot of different receivers, and if they take one away, Tony seems to hit the guy that’s open and at the weakness of the defense. So, that’s what we’re trying to do.

Q: With Miles coming home this week, have you cautioned him at all to not try and do too much or get overly excited?

A: A little bit, but that’s part of the game. I don’t think you can control players completely, but they have to learn to do a bunch of things themselves. You can caution them about things and certainly work on things with them, but I think he’ll be fine. I think he’s excited about playing in front of his family and at home, and usually they play well in those situations.

Q: How has Doug Free done stepping in for Colombo?

A: Doug Free has done a good job. Both him and other guys have done a good job stepping in for us in place of good players for us. They weren’t starters, but they have done a good job.