September 16, 2015
Good morning. We’re excited to prepare for our home opener against the Atlanta Falcons, who defeated Philadelphia the other night, as you well know. A very close game, 26-24 was the final. Atlanta was down, kicked a field goal in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia came down with three minutes to go and missed one. That was the deciding factor in the game. New coach is Dan Quinn, was the defense coordinator in Seattle. They play an aggressive style of defense, they’re a pressure defense. They rotate the defensive linemen in and out of the game, they keep them fresh. They get after the quarterback and after the running game. They played very aggressively (Monday) night.
Their offense was in the top ten last year in the National Football League. Matt Ryan is the outstanding young quarterback. They have many skill players on their offensive side of the ball. Their kicking game is outstanding, as you well know. Matt Bryant is the field goal kicker, he was 3-3 over 40 yards the other night. Bosher is their punter and kicker. He broke his own record, had 57.8 average for punts the other night. Did an outstanding job in that game. And Devin Hester, who was inactive last weekend, has been a top-return man in all of football with 20 touchdowns. So they’re an outstanding team and we’re looking forward to preparing for the Atlanta Falcons.
Q: Do you have Victor Cruz or Jon Beason in practice today?
Q: Ereck Flowers?
Q: So everything checked out with him. Just a sprain, is that correct?
A: Like I said, yes, he’ll be at practice.
Q: Is there any further update on Victor Cruz?
Q: Still just a strain or is there anything else?
Q: Will ‘Unga be at practice?
A: Well, I don’t know about that. I’ve got to find out what his status will be. He’ll be limited, if he’s there.
Q: What’s your challenge as the head coach coming off a controversial end to the last game?
A: The challenge is simply to recognize the encouraging things that happened in the game. I thought we played hard, we were aggressive. We’ve got to continue, obviously, to do that. But we’ve also got to get our X’s and O’s better. Our offensive execution and the fact that the offensive team, their responsibility is not only to protect the ball but score touchdowns. So that’s basically where we are.
Q: Do you do anything differently after a loss like that to try and keep morale up or prepare for the next week?
A: Well, we talk to our team in specific ways when we gather on Monday. And then we are encouraging where need be, and we talk about nothing but improvement in other areas. But again, let’s get back on the practice field and get going.
Q: You spoke a little bit about taking longer shots in the preseason. I’m guessing you’d like to see more?
A: I would like to see the ball down the field. I don’t want the ball turned over, but I would like to see the ball down the field, yes.
Q: What effect does it have on an offense or coaching staff to not get the ball until the 11th minute of a game?
A: Well, they won the toss and took the ball, and they put on a long drive. I think, certainly, you want to get in the game much faster than that, but you deal with what you deal with. I think we were all glad to see there was only three points. So out goes the offensive team knowing what their job is. It was a long, sustained drive, and there’s reasons why you take the ball and why you don’t take the ball and that type of thing. They obviously were correct in what they decided to do the other day.
Q: When you say you want the ball down the field more, how much is that a product of what they were doing defensively?
A: There’s no question about what you’re seeing defensively out of people today in terms of the number of people involved in underneath coverage, and the single-high coverage primarily. I just don’t throw that out there. Obviously, there has to be some excellent decision-making on when to do things. But just by general nature, for me, it’s always been, at some point, let’s get it down the field.
Q: Eli has taken a lot of criticism over what happened, more than maybe at any time of his career. Are you surprised by it and do you have to talk to him?
A: We’ve had the conversations, and we’re on to Atlanta.
Q: Getting back to Atlanta, how similar is this defense to what Dan Quinn ran in Seattle?
A: Very. Surprisingly.
Q: Preston Parker seemed to have a difficult game. Are you going to make any changes to that part of the depth chart?
A: Well, we certainly want to see the ball caught and not dropped. We’ll see how practice goes this week. Dwayne Harris will get more opportunities, but we’ll see.
Q: What are you looking for from your crowd in this home opener?
A: Enthusiasm, excitement. Our regular season home opener—1 o’clock game, National Football League—come out, support our team. And (have) our team give them reasons to be excited and involved in the game.
Q: Do you expect Owa Odighizuwa to have a better chance of being up this week?
A: He’s going to practice.
Q: How much was him being inactive due to injury? How much of that is the way Dallas plays?
A: As I think I’ve said, he did not practice last week to any extent. Therefore, that decision was not a difficult one.
Q: Do you expect Flowers to be limited today?
A: I think he’s limited, sure.
Q: But you feel good about his situation?
A: I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. I said he’s going to practice or try to practice.
Q: Rashad Jennings gave a very public apology for revealing what was said in the huddle. Did he need to that to you and was that something you were upset about?
A: I’m going forward to Atlanta, thank you very much. I’ve talked to everyone, but it was two days ago or whatever.
Q: Is that your basic message to the team? Get over this?
A: Let’s go.
Q: How different is the offense now in Atlanta with their new coordinator?
A: Well, Kyle Shanahan is the coordinator. They’re up-tempo, west coast. They do some no-huddle, it’s not always to create the fast circumstance. They will interject it when they want to. They’re pretty quick out of the huddle when they huddle. But they are an outstanding play-action team, outstanding.
Q: Obviously Julio Jones is a great player. Is the challenge similar to Dez Bryant?
A: They have a lot of good skill players, they really do. Guys can help themselves out very well. Julio is certainly an outstanding player.
Q: When you mention the encouraging part of Sunday night, was the play of DRC and Prince Amukamara a part of that?
A: That was a part of it, sure. I think it was very encouraging to me.
Q: Is that what you want to see from them? What you need to see from them on the outside?
A: We need to see the consistency of that quality. I just feel like they’re outstanding corners and they can continue to lead the way and help us in that area.