Good afternoon. The players reported this morning in a timely fashion. I think we're all eager to take a look at the tape and try to make the best as we can out of yesterday's game and then move on. I think it's very difficult for any team to win a game with all of the penalties, the turnovers, the timing of the turnovers. You can simply take the fact that we had an interception returned 101 yards for a touchdown and a touchdown in the end zone that would have brought us to within six points with seven minutes to go and have that called back as well. We kept battling, we kept fighting, but we just weren't able to overcome the margin and, again, to go back to the penalties, which, again, were very costly and there were way too many. Opportunities to have the ball in the end zone twice and then to have the scores taken down....That's very frustrating and we were all frustrated by that, but nevertheless, give credit to the Cowboys, who did execute. They did make some outstanding plays. I would add also that the number of big plays also obviously contributed.Q: Were the big plays schemed or did they come off of mistakes?
A: On occasion it was communication issues, but two of the touchdowns were off of some kind of post move, where they tried to hold the safety inside as well, worked us a little bit on the outside shoulder, and were able to make a great throw and catch - it was an outstanding throw and catch there. We did have some communication issues with some of the balls down the sideline - not just communication, but whether you got a good enough hit on the receiver as he was coming off the line of scrimmage to disrupt the throw, hopefully to put the safety in a position where he might be able to come over the top. That didn't happen either. We gave up those long plays, which we haven't been doing. We've been in games - in any two games, there might be three big plays against, so some things occurred yesterday. Just as a comparison, I think that two weeks ago, the execution of our team was as good as you can imagine and then yesterday, the execution was nowhere near that, so back to work and we do have some new individuals that are being fitted in here that we've got to get acclimated to the game, to build the trust factor between, for example, the quarterback and the receiver or the protection and how that goes. We've got some of that we've got to accomplish right away as well.
Q: Ramses Barden is in a hard cast?
A: He's got a significant ligament injury in the ankle and he does have a fracture as well.
Q: In the ankle?
A: Fracture down there, yeah.
Q: Time frame?
A: More than you'd like.
Q: Any news on Steve Smith?
A: No. Not significant to report.
Q: What is the plan for that position?
A: Go to one receiver. We'll have to do some work on that.
Q: Are you going to go out and sign someone?
A: There's a chance.
Q: Will Barden be back this year?
A: That is unlikely right now.
Q: Any word on Diehl or O'Hara?
A: Not the word we want to hear. Both guys are feeling better, but how that figures into our plans for this week, I'm not sure.
Q: Are we likely to see the line we saw yesterday next week at Philadelphia?
Q: How do you assess them? It seemed like they were unable to open up the running game.
A: I think that when you start down that road, I think that the penalties were just as big a factor in our inability to consistently move the ball, whether it was throw or run. We didn't have any of the long runs like you've been seeing. Again, give some credit to the Dallas defense, but we kept pounding away. We didn't obviously have equal distribution yesterday because we were coming from behind, but we did have 28 runs in the game and as I said, we weren't able to just go out and run, run, run, run, run, but when you're coming from behind and the other guy has the lead, it's a little bit different situation.
Q: What did you see on the Kevin Boothe hold that called back the touchdown?
A: I didn't see one.
Q: There's a lot of football left to be played and a lot of teams are still in this. What's your mindset going forward?
A: That's what it is. We've got to re-establish who we are, sink our feet into the sand a little bit and come out swinging. We've got a lot of issues that have got to be straightened out. Just stop and think about 480 yards, taking the 50 yards on the Nicks throw, and 20 points? It doesn't add up. I think that you have to understand, as I mentioned to you yesterday, a big part of our thoughts were to turn the ball over and score by virtue of that. The previous two ballgames, 42 points had come off of turnovers for the opposition and that didn't happen either. Obviously we never got the quarterback out of a rhythm like we planned on doing. They did a good job on some of their formations, they blocked it up pretty good and got the ball thrown down field and kept the risk of the inside stuff, a lot of inside balls - they didn't throw them. They did a good job with it. But we've got to re-establish who we are. We've got to clean up these penalties, the missed assignments - all of that stuff has got to get cleaned up. Regardless of how we figure the chemistry of the groups on either side of the ball or with special teams, that's all got to get cleaned up and cleaned up fast.
Q: That sounds like a lot of focus stuff. You mentioned that you weren't happy with how the team practiced on Wednesday...
A: Preparation. That's where it was. It was in the preparation. We do have to get back to the real solid, solid preparations, which quite frankly we had seen all year long. That really was the first Wednesday practice or Thursday practice that I had been disappointed in in a long time.
Q: Before Barden went down, it looked like he was playing well.
A: Yeah, he contributed well.
Q: How disappointing is it to lose him then?
A: Extremely. Extremely. Let's think of the player first, okay? He had gained some confidence, he was making a strong contribution. As far as I could tell yesterday, he did a pretty good job on kickoff return, blocking from that front, the spot he manned. What Ramses needed to do was play, get out there and play, get the ball down in the green zone, throw it up high - just like the one he didn't come down with - but put him in that situation, put him out there against really outstanding competition, let him compete, let him perform, let him play. That's exactly what was going to happen and it's unfortunate that he will not be able to continue.
Q: How concerned are you that all of this stuff comes up the week before a big division game?
A: Well, we do have things to straighten around, but that's nothing different than following up any loss, to be honest with you. If you're asking from a standpoint of making sure what our personnel situations are, yeah, there's a little bit up in the air about that. As I told the players, Wednesday we'll be right back at it.
Q: What has been different with the pass rush? It hasn't really shown up the past two games.
A: The other two teams. I think I would go here with...If you looked at the tape, you could see it - a lot of three-step drops, a lot of max protections, get the ball out of the quarterback's hand, keep it short, don't allow the rush to get to him - some of that was featured yesterday, too. Obviously, there were some three step drops, the ball came out of his hand quickly, there were some designed routes with protection involved. The balls of any kind of risk were up on the outside and a lot of times they ended up one on one, but they blocked us up pretty well and we didn't get home with any kind of consistency. We only got one solid hit on the quarterback - it was the situation down on the goal line - but we weren't able to disrupt his rhythm. That's probably the simplest way I can say it.
Q: Is that because of what they did or a disappointing showing from your guys?
A: No...It's a little bit both ways. Obviously, you like to see the numbers up there, but also they did a good job preparing.
Q: With depleted numbers at receiver, is Duke Calhoun really a viable option to play on offense?
A: You said it. Yes. He has to be. He has to be. We've brought him along little by little every week and we used him in the four-wide package thinking that was going to be the extent of it yesterday. Little did anybody know he would be the third wide before long. He has great energy, he has great stamina. If you remember back to preseason, he had at least one outstanding game. I think you saw late in the game when he came down and made that real nice crack block on the safety on the third or fourth run before the end of the game. He's physical, he's tough, he's got the experience factor working against him, he's got an awful lot to learn and he's got to learn fast.
Q: Were you limited at all yesterday after Ramses went down?
A: Yeah, we were limited. Sure we were, but until we got to the two-minute mode, we just kept working our way through it.
Q: Do you remind your guys of the way they collapsed in the second half of last season after a loss like that?
A: No, but I'll remind them of what you're all saying today.
Q: Have you seen a trend or a pattern to your interceptions this season?
A: Well, you have to take them turnover by turnover. We had the ball on the ground a couple of times yesterday and a helmet hit the ball and it came out on Bradshaw. Bear Pascoe got it back, thank goodness, but we've seen a little too much of that. The interception for the touchdown was a guy not sticking with the route that was called and the worst possible result came about, but that's our fault. There's nobody to blame but us. Finish the route. At least it's a broken up ball, it goes out of the end zone or something of that nature. Is there any one pattern? No. Other than tipped balls. Tipped balls and fumbles by the runner, but other than that there's no real pattern that I can tell you about. It's just happening way too many times. Yesterday, there was a bad snap from center. That came about I think because of the hurried nature of...the clock was working against us there and I think that may have contributed some, although the snap was really errant.
Q: How are Goff, Boss, and Boothe?
A: Kevin [Boothe] at this point in time, it's just a patella tendonitis issue. Boss is very sore. They called it a lumbar sprain, whatever that means, but I would hope that he works his way through that and I think Jonathan hyper-extended his elbow and hopefully that's not an issue.
Q: Do Boss' and Beckum's roles change with the limited numbers at receiver?
Q: Looking back now, do you regret your decision to IR Victor Cruz?
A: No. I don't really think that...those decisions are...in many ways you see where we have looked to the future to try to have people back and other times you don't have that luxury. That was one of them. I don't think you can look back on that one.
Q: Are you more likely to try to bring guys in who have been here before?
A: Part of the package may be that, although whatever is available will probably get looked at.
Q: Is Darius Reynaud a factor?
A: Well, he is on paper. Now, he's returning from a hamstring and I'm not sure how he's going to... if he comes back this week, he comes back just a little bit earlier than they projected. I'm hoping that he does. That gives us one more option, obviously.
Q: Do you feel like you exposed weaknesses last night or do you feel like it was uncharacteristic and there were too many mistakes?
A: I think that the one part of me, which is normally the old school stickler, we played poorly. We played poorly in a lot of areas and gave up too many big plays as a result of it. Things we hadn't done all season long, so correct that. I'm not going to go the route of it was uncharacteristic. You deal with the facts and the facts are that we did not play very well.
Q: How dangerous would that blackout have been if it had happened during a play?
A: Well, in my mind it was that whole cycle. First of all, "this is a new one." This is a new experience. And then the idea of going ahead and continuing to play the first time. The second time the discussion was, I know that the referee would prefer to play, Jason Garrett preferred to play, I was the stickler saying slow down a little and I asked a couple of the players - Eli thought it was okay, one of the receivers did and one was not so sure and then before anything else could take place, the league moved in. Yeah, you could imagine that if that one time...of course you can think back to your days as a young man out in the yard playing football after dark and guys used to run into the trees and the fences and all that stuff, but that could have happened.