Head Coach Ben McAdoo
December 7, 2016
A lot of excitement in the air. The opportunity to host a tremendous team at home on Sunday. It’ll be a great challenge that we look forward to. We have to take care of the preparation first. Their offense is clicking on all cylinders. Their o-line is a great o-line. They pave the way for Zeke and Morris. Dak is doing a fine job leading the troops. Dez, Witten and Beasley have all developed chemistry with Dak since the last time we’ve seen them.
The defense is playing very fast and aggressive, like they always do. They do a great job hunting the ball carrier. Lawrence is giving them a nice boost, along with the Crawford, and Collins is playing really well as a three-technique. Lee and Jones have paired to be a great tandem in coverage at the linebacker and safety spots. Jones and Bailey are always weapons in the kicking game.
Q: When you watch the game film what has been the biggest change other than chemistry since Week 1 for the Dallas Cowboys?
A: They do a nice job running the football. That’s where everything starts for them. They set up the long ball off of it. Just getting Dez back healthy has really helped them. It took a little while to get some chemistry going there, but they’ve done a nice job getting on the same page.
Q: How do you characterize the loss of JPP?
A: We wish JPP the best and a speedy recovery. We’ll use an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to fill his shoes. It won’t be easy to do, but we have confidence in the players in the room.
Q: How do you help lift the team’s spirits?
A: Again, we’re focused on our preparation for Dallas. We wish JPP a speedy recovery, but we have to move on.
Q: Do you have guys that can fill his role?
A: You can’t expect one person to jump in and fill his shoes. He’s a very talented player. We’ll use all hands on deck.
Q: What have you seen from Romeo Okwara?
A: Romeo is a young, conscientious player. He’s worked hard to get where he is. He has good pedigree coming out of a good school. He’s learned the techniques that are required to play the position.
Q: Any idea if overuse could have been a factor in the JPP injury?
A: Nothing leans that way, no.
Q: Did the news of JPP getting surgery take you a little bit off-guard? Did you think and hope he would just be able to rehab this?
A: You always prepare for all the possible outcomes.
Q: Is 4-6 weeks accurate? Could he return if you make it that far?
A: We’re just going to support JPP any way we can. The sooner he gets back and whenever he can make it back, the better. We’ll support him in any way that we can. Whenever he gets back, we’ll be ready for him.
Q: Are you going to put him on IR?
A: Too early to tell. We’re going to monitor. He just got out of surgery a little while ago. We’ll see how he feels and how he progresses.
Q: Does your defense have to drastically change without him?
Q: How much of the second half struggles against the run in Pittsburgh were due to his absence?
A: I think it was a combination of things. I don’t think you can point to one particular position and say that’s the reason for it.
Q: What are the specific challenges that Ezekiel Elliott presents you with?
A: He’s a complete player. He has good hands, so you have to be prepared for that. He’s good in the screen game. He has a nice feel for the seams and staying in phase there. We have to be ready for that. He took one to the house against Pittsburgh. He’s a big back that runs behind his pads. It’s hard to get a good clean shot on him. He’s a load. He’s a big young man and runs with a lot of energy.
Q: What is the key factor that has allowed Dak to succeed immediately in the NFL?
A: The first thing I really notice about him is that it’s not too big for him. He’s been a winner. That’s one thing that we noticed when we first played him early in the season. His background is that he’s a winner. It doesn’t seem too big for him. He plays with some pretty good poise.
Q: How different do Dak and Zeke look at this point compared to Week 1?
A: We really didn’t have a ton of tape of them in this league going into that game. They’ve progressed nicely. They don’t seem to be rookies that have hit a wall by any stretch of the imagination.
Q: How much can a team change over a 13-week period?
A: I think you develop as the season goes on. You have a chance to harden your team. We’re both two different teams.
Q: Takeaways from your conversation with Victor Cruz?
A: That’ll stay between Victor and myself.
Q: Do you think you need to get him more involved?
A: That’ll stay between Victor and myself.
Q: What does your offense need to do in a one-week period to improve?
A: Put our head down and keep on working. We can talk all we want, talking isn’t going to get anything done.
Q: Do you feel like you need to change some things?
Q: Does Jason’s absence put more of a burden on the offense to carry this team?
A: Everyone needs to put their head down, get to work and get a little better this week.
Q: How’s Justin Pugh?
A: He was limited today.
Q: Is he making improvement?
A: Yes. He’s improving.
Q: You mentioned the other day about Ereck Flowers and his hand placement. He’s a young player, but this has been an ongoing thing. Is he getting better at it? How drastic is it?
A: As we all know, it’s tough to develop linemen in this league. It takes time. It’s a fundamental issue that he’s working hard to fix. He’s keeping his elbows tight. That helps keep your hands down and tight. It’s something that we’re working on.
Q: He’s had about four different left guards next to him. How much has that affected him?
A: We’re fortunate to have four guys that have been able to go in there and help us win ball games. I’m sure it hasn’t made it easier for Ereck. That’s part of it in this league.
Q: Does the game plan include Shane Vereen on Sunday?
A: There’s a chance that we may have a package for Shane if he’s ready to go. If he’s not, then there won’t be.
Q: When will you know?
A: We have a practice on Saturday. There’s a chance Saturday that we can make a decision.
Q: Are there any structural things in the running game, such as tight end blocking, no fullback, that could hamstring things a little bit?
A: We have some young tight ends that we’re working to develop. They’re making progress.
Q: How willing are you to use Devon Kennard on the d-line more in JPP’s absence?
A: We will use an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to fill his shoes.
Q: How do you improve the linebackers and their pursuit to the ball in space?
A: We just need to keep on working at it. We took steps today and we’ll take steps tomorrow.
Q: Just to clarify, at this point, is it a coaching decision or a medical decision on Vereen?
Q: Does OV have to take on anything else in the absence of JPP?
A: Like the entire 53, everyone needs to focus on doing their job. If they try and do too much, that puts everyone else in a bind.
Q: Still planning on pads tomorrow?
A: Good possibility, yes.