Safety Landon Collins
September 12, 2018
Q: How different does this Cowboys offense look without (WR) Dez Bryant and (TE) Jason Witten?
A: Without Witten, it looks very different. Honestly, Dez was a big influence in their offense. Somebody that kind of took a lot of pressure off their running game. Now that those two guys are gone, it’s kind of phenomenal that they’re giving the ball to (Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott) ‘Zeke’, and try to keep the run game going.
Q: Do you feel as if you’ll be lined up closer to the box more often to try to mitigate that damage that Zeke can do?
A: Yes, of course. Just making sure we disguise very well – side rotation and their gap schemes. We can get them out of whack with that, and getting our linebackers free and be able to shoot gaps and get our D-linemen to get pressure and get off those blocks a little quicker.
Q: When Witten retired, did you have to go, who is their tight end?
A: A little bit (laughter).
Q: Do you know who it is now?
A: Yeah, I know now.
Q: How important is it to get that winning feeling back for this team?
A: It’s very important. We’re stacking each and every day. We’re working each and every day to become better as a team, as a whole, and making sure we get that win.
Q: How important is this game for you guys in terms of not falling into an 0-2 hole?
A: It’s a big hole, especially in this conference game. So, we need this game. We need this win. It’s definitely big to us. Out of the two teams that we’re both 0-1, one of the teams got to come out with a victory.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in defending a running quarterback like Dak (Prescott)?
A: Keeping him contained, honestly. You want to keep him contained, because a majority of the time if you got a running quarterback and the defensive backs’ and the linebackers’ backs are turned and he takes off, he can get a 15-yard gain just like that. With a guy like him, you want to keep him contained with your defensive front. Make sure your rushers are in the passing lanes, and the running lanes are all closed up and somebody is there.
Q: How did it feel to hit (Jacksonville RB) Leonard Fournette in the open field and not get run over?
A: (laughter) Not many people would try to put themselves in that predicament, honestly. I’m used to that. I’ve been doing that all my life. I was expecting that. I knew it was going to happen eventually. It was definitely a good bang-bang play.
Q: How did it feel? (To hit Fournette)
A: It felt great, it felt great. Honestly, I want that kind of stuff. I want running backs to try to just turn up field on me and not try to beat me to the sideline, because nobody is going to outrun me, I’m sorry. Just may as well try to run me over or try to shake me or something like that. If not, you’re just going to get pushed out of bounds.
Q: There’s no Witten, there’s no Dez. Is all your emphasis shifted solely to Zeke now in terms of being the guy you all need to focus on?
A: Just like you said, we just really got to focus on stopping Zeke. Making sure that every run gap, we’re playing our gap assignments, we’re making sure we close the air out of their offensive running game. If we do that, put the ball into Dak’s hands, I think we’ll have a better shot at winning.
A: Like that was their go-to. Without (inaudible) it’s like who do you go to. He’s looking for Zeke more times he’s looking for any receivers down field.
Q: How much does it help you to have a guy like Saquon in practice to practice against him leading up to a matchup against Zeke?
A: I mean it’s good. You can’t tackle him; you can’t really hit him, so it’s good because it gives us looks to where you got to play honest with him. Saquon can definitely give you all (inaudible).
Q: This a team that was reliant on Zeke before. So without these guys…
A: He’s the guy. He’s the guy.
Q: Do you think if I just hand you the stats after the game and you just looked at Zeke’s numbers, you would know 100-percent if you guys won or lost?
A: Yeah. Correct.
Q: And how do you think Zeke and Saquon compare as runners?
A: Two different backs. I feel like Saquon – I mean he’s younger, got a little bit more wiggle to him. I feel like with Saquon, Zeke is a north-south runner, a pound guy. He’s going to put his shoulder down on you, he’s got a nice spin move and Zeke’s got real good vision. Same thing with Saquon, but the run game for Zeke is different from the run game for Saquon.
Q: Is it a concern last two games, the preseason finale and the game on Sunday, that the quarterback got outside and kind of went for a long way? Are you losing containment, is there a –
A: That was just gap assignments, missing gap assignments, not being on the same page with the defense in the front and playing the right gaps, that’s all that was.
Q: Everybody would say how they hate the Cowboys. Is that sentiment still exist in this locker room?
A: I don’t know, that’s a good question. The guys that have been here for a minute, yeah. They got it, but it’s not to the fact where I really don’t dislike Dallas because you got so many new faces, not many people know the tradition over here with Dallas and the New York Giants. They kind of know, but they’re really just focused on the game and playing each and every play to the best of their ability.
Q: You’ve been here a little while so how do you feel about the Cowboys?
A: They’re just another team in our way, honestly. We’re just trying to build on top of that and keep on pushing from there.
Q: How desperate is this team for a win? I know it’s only 0-1 right now, but you guys want a taste of victory, of course.
A: We want a taste of it. I wouldn’t call it desperate, but we’re working towards it each and every day. We keep on working as hard as we work, we’ll definitely know we’re going to get it and multiple ones.
Q: For the guys that are new around here, what would you tell them about this particular rivalry?
A: Just watch the history, honestly. There’s a lot of history between the rivalry. For me, I haven’t been apart of that history a lot. Only been three years so far so it’s not really taken in on me, but honestly, we just look at it as another game, another opponent and we’re just trying to better ourselves.
Q: What will that atmosphere be like on Sunday night?
A: Atmosphere is crazy. It’s always crazy when we get down there and play the Cowboys at home. It’s a different feeling. I feel like once we get there, we feel the hatred and then that’s where the fumes, the emotions and the tempers come.
Q: These games always seem to come down to the final two minutes or so, too. Why is that?
A: I don’t know, that’s a good question. That is a good question. I think it’s the fact that no teams are trying to make mistakes. The team with the less mistakes wins the game and if you could do that, that’s what happens and a majority of the time, we know each other so well on both ends, it’s like ‘alright, we know they’re going to do this so we’re going to play this and we’re going to beat them this way,’ so it’s like back and forth, back and forth so the team with the less mistakes wins.
Q: So these games are more fun?
A: Yeah, these games are more fun because you kind of know the opponent. You know what you’re going to get.
Q: Who’d you grow up rooting for?