Q. What is it about the Dallas defensive line that has given you guys so much trouble? Last year they had twelve sacks in two games?
A. They're good (laugh). When you get down there and you couple their ability level with the noise factor, it is always going to be a challenge for an offensive line.
Q. What do you expect from your offensive line knowing what they went through last year?
A. I think they are a prideful group and as a group, that is really, as much because of their character as their ability, is the reason why they have been as effective as they are. I would expect that they will respond and give the very best effort they can. We will do everything we can to help them. Collectively, hopefully, we will be able to do enough to come out on top.
Q. How much of a factor was it not having Brandon Jacobs in that game last year, in terms of protection schemes?
Q. What was the reaction the day after that game? Your offensive line gave up eight sacks.
A. I think everybody was disappointed. We played very, very poorly; the worst game of the year. It is a proud group that has experienced a lot of success because of their ability, but also because of how well they work together, their work ethic and their approach. So, it was very, disappointing is not a strong enough word, but it was very upsetting for them, it was upsetting for all of us. But, it was particularly upsetting for them, because they felt that they had let us, the offensive team and therefore the whole team, down. To be honest, the protection will never be just about them, it is always about everybody else helping them too. We didn't do as good a good job in that area either.
Q. Tampa had a lot of success running the ball against Dallas. Did you see that on film?
A. Yeah, I think the heat factor had a lot to do with it, and they were able to go no-huddle and exploit it. That fact, the dark uniforms, everything was going in reverse. Unfortunately, those things won't be available and they have two good runners. Hopefully we will be able to run the ball a little bit. That certainly will take some of the heat off of the pass rush.
Q. Have you seen much of a change in the Dallas defense since Wade Phillips took over calling the defense?
A. Not really, no.
Q. Were you disappointed with the rushing game last week?
A. Well, we always like to think that we are going to run the ball. As long as we are doing what we need to do to move the ball. I thought we threw the ball exceptionally well. That was the saving grace. I try to express in a way that is cogent enough for everybody, what you do defensively will determine what we should be able to do. They gave us opportunities to throw the ball and basically challenged our young receivers. Our young receivers responded beautifully. I was very, very proud of the way they stepped up and made the plays they did. Of course, the quarterback played well. All in all, it allowed us to do what we had to do, which was take control of the game right from the outset. The offense did a terrific job of doing that. The thing that was disappointing was that we got down there three times and didn't put it in the end zone. That is an area that we have to get better. Especially disappointing, it wasn't like it was third and eight or third and seven, it was third and one. You have to be able to get that yard.
Q. Tom said you guys emphasized that a lot about the red zone?
A. That had nothing to do with red zone, that is all short yardage. It's not red zone at all, it is all short yardage. We would do the same exact plays that we would have done on the fifty-yard line, the thirty-yard line, or backed up on our twenty. It all comes down to third and one, fourth and one, you have to make it go.
Q. Are you worried about the noise down there in Dallas?
A. Absolutely. It is going to be a factor, there's no question. You have to contend with it. We work on it, we stress it, and we emphasize it. Doesn't matter what you do, it is always a challenge, the communication. It's always a challenge in your pass protection. It's always a challenge getting off on the line scrimmage the way that makes you the most effective running the ball. It's not the deciding factor, but it is a very important factor.