"I thought following the game - when you play a divisional opponent like the Cowboys and you are in that type of an atmosphere, I was pleased with our guys. Our focus was good; our concentration - even the young guys who have never been in an environment like that - learning of, as was stated last night, when asked we were aware of the fact that it was the largest crowd in the history of the NFL in the continental United States. We really weren't -- but we didn't know what the number was. We had the same anticipation as everyone else - 110,000 or whatever was stated.
But I thought that when we took the field in our warmups and our young guys, the way that they warmed up, I thought that our focus was on the game. And I didn't think there was any distraction whatsoever. And I credit our leadership for that. I think a large part of going on the road and doing well on the road has to do with your leadership and the kind of peer pressure that is being exerted on everyone from the standpoint of the veteran guys. So I was pleased with that. And the game was certainly an exciting game that went right down to the wire, as many of our games have with them. But I think for us to go in there, particularly after having had a game a year ago - the second game down there in which we had really so many protection errors, so many sacks in the game and not be able to do some of the things that we had planned on being able to do. And to play hard, yet have very little to show for it, I thought that this was - to come away with a win, without a sack and without those kinds of things was real important.
Now, do we have work to do? You bet we have work to do. It is very early. We have a lot of people in the mix which, I think, hopefully in the long run is going to pay off for us. But our inability to stop the run and our inability, really, to run the ball the way we wanted to - those are issues that are first and foremost with our team. And we will be working hard to make the necessary corrections with regard to that. We are pleased to win, obviously. But we have a lot of work to do."
Q: The inability to run the ball - obviously that wasn't a trouble spot for you guys last year - was it more a product of the defenses you have faced and what they are trying to do or things you guys are not able to do right now?
A: I think we came out in the second half (last night) and did a better job. I don't want anybody to think that. I think that you could have been sitting there as a spectator last night and understood what our mindset would be coming back in the third quarter. We thought we had to rush the ball; we had to take some of the time of possession off of our defensive team and we had to re-establish that part of our game. We had some runs in the second half that were good. We started right off with that first drive which we had a couple of really good runs. So we did do a better job in the second half. But I mean overall it wasn't the type of game that we had expected going in there. And yeah, you have to give credit to the defense but you also have to realize that there is obviously some work to be done in terms of making sure that we anticipate and understand exactly what the other guy is trying to do to stop the things that we have planned. And then our execution has got to improve.
Q: Do you expect that the way your receivers have performed that defenses are now going to have to really dramatically change their approach to you?
A: I don't think so because I think you are seeing the way in which people want to play their secondary, I think, is being exemplified in just our first two games. The ability, for example last night, the Cowboys rolled their coverage either way and still have their safeties involved down there in the box, I think you see that. And I don't think there is a reason to change a lot. I think it is well coordinated, they are gapped out. The safety appears at the right time as Hamlin did a number of times last night. I just think people play their game the way that they have prepared themselves throughout training camp. They do have the ability to adjust and they change and react to make slight adjustments to their coverages and yet play in principal, the exact same way.
Q: What updates do you have on Tuck and Hixon?
A: I really don't have much. They are going through all of the tests today and we will have to wait and see what the tests say to see where these guys are. I think a big factor will be Wednesday. When we do get the information, how do they feel on Wednesday?
Q: How about starters that missed this last game - Dockery, Ross and Canty? Do you expect them back at practice on Wednesday?
A: I couldn't say. The early prognosis is not that different from what we finished last week with. And so again, we'll see. I think it ends up being, hopefully, a day to day thing. But we will have to find out.
Q: Is there any reason to believe that Tuck's injury could have been serious?
A: Anytime you have a player of that caliber that can't finish a game, I would think that something is going on there that is preventing him from continuing. And as I said, we'll just have to wait and see.
Q: What did you see from Boley in his first game?
A: Here is a guy that hasn't had a lot of work and yet was able to - because of his meeting time and because of the understanding at first of what the role was going to be and then the role did expand, obviously during the course of the game. It was good for him to be in there. I thought he did well. I think there are obviously ways in which --- there are things that he is going to have to improve on. But to get out there and get in the game, to play as much as he did, was a positive thing.
Q: Dallas' ability to run - is that just them having a good plan or what was going on?
A: They executed well. We were out of position some. And the results were big runs. The number of runs that they had that were long range runs -- that was both frustrating and disappointing. And we are going to have to address that. There were people out of position at times. And the result was you had some talented runners in the open field. And they took full advantage of those opportunities.
Q: After two division games, obviously right off the bat - those were a big deal. You now go into a stretch of three non-division games against teams that haven't been as successful as the others in the past. Is that something, given what your team has done the last few years - you don't even worry about letdowns or lack or focus or anything like that?
A: Well I don't think so. I think hopefully this team will take each game. As I say to them each week at the end of the week, "Win one game. Win one game and then we will come back together and we will worry about what it is we need to do to be in position to win the next game." So I think that has been the position we have taken. The players have understood what is meant by that. And I would expect that that will continue.
Q: Mario Manningham had those two catches that were - one was the juggle then he held onto it and the other one off the deflection. Is that something he kind of seems to have a knack for - to come down with catches like that?
A: I thought the tipped ball that he caught in the two minute drive was just a great example of focus and concentration. The ball that he caught in the end zone - I believe he had a little trouble with the lights - the ball came out of the lights for him there. I think that is one of the reasons that one ---- But he was able to stay with it and make the catch, which is the key thing. His focus, his concentration and his ability to stay zoomed in on the ball - there are two good examples.
Q: I think you knew what you were getting with Steve Smith. Has Mario surprised you at all?
A: We saw this even as he was running scout squad for us last year from probably the mid-point of the season on when he was healthy and he was feeling good and he was enjoying that role of taking the position of the guy that we had to stop defensively from the receiver's standpoint each week, week in and week out. And he did an outstanding job of that. And we saw some things that really excited us and he continued to develop during the offseason and then into the spring and into the summer. Certainly there have been some things that we were very pleased to see. I don't know who much 'surprised.' He was drafted in a high position and we had a pretty solid feel for his ability.
Q: Mario Manningham and how he gets off the line - he seems like a very slippery guy.
A: I think he does have the quickness and he has done a good job with his releases. He is studying the opponent. He is trying to figure how best for him to get off the ball and against really good corners that play good press coverage. So he is improving.
Q: Kenny Phillips - we had talked so much last week about how you have to manage his knee and he has got to miss practice time. And you had said that you had hoped he could still be as productive as you wanted him to be. I guess last night he was about as productive as you could want, right?
A: He was very good and quite frankly, he was very sharp. He is very much ahead of his ---. The play that he made off the foot of Whitten was an exceptional play because there was no hesitation on his part. The surprising thing was someone blew a whistle. Now a lot of times the whistle will not be blown there - at least that is what they say....whistle. His alertness - you saw him back in centerfield and he showed great range back there. He comes down to the line of scrimmage and does a good job of that. It is going to be the continued challenge for him to - for Kenny to get what he needs out of the week so that whatever happens he thinks that his mind and his body are in synch despite the fact that he may not be able to practice every day.
Q: To stay in the secondary, how good is it for you to see Bruce Johnson hold his own against Washington then make the pick for the touchdown last night. I would think that as a young player his confidence right now after these first two weeks has to be sky high.
A: Well as I said, I was very impressed in Week One because Bruce seemed to handle everything well. He never got overly excited, he wasn't big-eyed. He looked at this as an opportunity and he learned his assignments. We tried to put him in the best possible position. He did that for the most part. And then because of his study and because of being in the right spot and because of his knowledge of his assignment he did have an opportunity to make a play last night on a ball and then he had the wherewithal to get the ball in the end zone. So I thought the fact that we have scored two weeks in a row on defense has been a huge factor as well in our ability to win - and last night the +4 in turnovers.