Head Coach Ben McAdoo
September 6, 2017
Tremendous challenge this week, opening up against the defending NFC East champs. Huge challenge for our football team. Offensively theyíve got a heck of a team. They are returning nine out of 11 starters from one of the best offenses in the league. They do a nice job of mixing personnel groups and they have added a no-huddle package to the mix. Theyíve lost a couple starters up front, but they havenít missed a beat there. They have a stable of talented ball carriers and perimeter carriers that complement each other with their skill sets. Defensively, they are fast, theyíre physical, they play hard. The front end and back end are tied together well. They make you work for every inch. They were number one in the run in 2016 and theyíve added some good young talent over the past couple of years. They play with vision, they rally to the ball well and they are probably the best team in the league in stripping the football. Special teams wise, they have a trio of specialists and coverage players coming back and they do a nice job on special teams. With that, we will open it up.
Q: What was your reaction to Ezekiel Elliott being available for this game?
A: No reaction. He is a tremendous ball carrier and we want to play against the best. So, we are excited for the opportunity.
Q: Is it better for you guys to know now as opposed to Friday?
A: Whoever suits up for Dallas, weíll go play.
Q: Did it change your preparation even a little bit?
A: Whoever suits up for Dallas, weíll go play.
Q: How is Odell progressing?
A: He got some treatment. Heís getting all of the work in he can get and weíll see how he progresses.
Q: Is this more than he has done in the past, including Monday?
A: Weíll see. I havenít had a chance to go into the training room yet. They take it day by day.
Q: Do you need him to go through a full practice for him to play on Sunday?
A: We are just going to take it day by day. If he is cleared medically to play in the game, we will play him. If not, we wonít.
Q: What are your thoughts on somebody not being 100%, but you think they can help?
A: Again, if it is safe for the player to play and he is not going to do further harm to himself physically, then we would think about playing him, but I have never put a player out there who would do further damage to himself physically.
Q: How much influence does a player have in that decision?
A: Itís a medical decision.
Q: The playerís opinion doesnít count?
A: Itís a medical decision. It has to be cleared by the doctors.
Q: Shane Smith was listed as a tight end on the depth chart.
A: I havenít seen one yet. How does it look?
Q: Pretty intimidating. He can do a variety of things though?
A: Yeah, he can do a variety of things. Heís a football player. Heís able and heís willing.
Q: What do you expect Evan Engramís role to be this season?
A: Heís a young player. Heís developing. He works hard at getting better. I think that the most encouraging thing is, when he goes out, he practices, he makes mistakes and he cleans up those mistakes. Heís not a repeat offender when it comes to making mistakes.
Q: How comfortable are you with his blocking and leaving him in there on run-heavy downs?
A: Heís a tight end, so he has to block. Thatís his number one job.
Q: How has B.J. Goodson looked as an every down linebacker, particularly in coverage?
A: Good. I mean he moves around like a football player. I talked to him today and I told him that he looks like he is born for the position, but most importantly, he has earned it. First, second and third down, heís out there. He takes ownership of the defense and Iím excited to watch him play on Sunday.
Q: If Beckham does not practice all week, but on Sunday if he is feeling okay and he looks okay, could he play despite not being on the field since the Cleveland game?
A: If Odell is cleared to play medically, weíll play him. If heís not, he wonít.
Q: How do you think Dalvin Tomlinson can contribute to the success of stopping Dallasís run game?
A: Again, Dalvin is developing. He is good with his hands. He was good when he got here with his hands. He continues to improve being a violent and physical player. Dallas is very talented up front. They have a good offensive line. They havenít missed a beat even though they lost a couple starters. So itís going to be a tremendous challenge for us, but it takes the whole defense to stop the run especially against a unit like this. If you donít set an edge, build a wall and track the hip, you donít have a chance versus these guys.
Q: If Jay [Bromley] is healthy, is he still your starter next to Snacks?
A: If Jay is cleared to play medically, we will play him.
A: Weíll see on Sunday night.
Q: Heís cleared because he practiced, right?
A: Heís cleared to practice, yes.
Q: Is Dwayne Harris still your primary returner?
A: Heíll be involved, heíll be in the mix, yes.
Q: What gives you confidence that he can bounce back this season?
A: I think, quite simply, his catch mechanics are better. They are better this year. It was more of an emphasis for him and he is back on track.
Q: Do you think that was a health thing for him?
Q: Do you think Ross Cockrell will be ready to go on Sunday?
A: Heís a guy that we are taking a look at right now. Thereís a chance that he will be ready to go on Sunday night. Heís learning the position. We just brought him in. Heís got the whole defense and special teams to learn, so weíll see how it goes.
Q: Can you talk about what winning the first game in Dallas last year was like for you?
A: No, thatís a little bit too much drama. We play one week at a time. We want to come out of each game with a win and find a way to get a little bit better each time we take the field.
Q: What gives you confidence that this team can be better than last yearís team?
A: Again, we are taking it week by week. We have one game to get ready for and itís this week. 2016 is over. 2017 is here. Weíre just going to take it one day at a time, one play at a time, one week at a time.
Q: What makes you confident that this team is better than the one that showed up to training camp?
A: I think we got better today. There was a lot of energy and effort out there on the field today. If you take this practice here for a Wednesday in-season practice, with this type of energy, we move around and play with this type of energy on a Wednesday in December, January, and February, weíll be in good shape.
Q: Does Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) match-up well against these guys?
A: They have some talented receivers. We have some talented corners. I am excited to see how it shakes out on Sunday. There will be some good matchups out there.
Q: Do you wish that Jenkins didnít go into so much detail about how he covered Dez last year?
A: Yeah, I donít get caught up in all that.
Q: Now that Ezekiel Elliott is officially playing, did you see any difference from your team now that they know he is playing?
A: We are preparing for an opponent. Itís a good opponent, but we are focused on ourselves and getting better and being ready for the opponent come Sunday.
Q: Are you happy he is playing?
A: Again, I am focused on our football team. Whoever Dallas rolls out there and dresses on Sunday, we will go play.