Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
Q: How's it looking at quarterback this weekend?
A: We'll see. We'll see. We had kind of a walkthrough-type practice yesterday and (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) observed most of it. (Quarterback) Mike (Glennon) got a lot of those reps and we'll see what Daniel is able to do today. He seems like he's doing fine, and he seems like himself, so we'll just take it day by day.
Q: On the play that Daniel got hurt on, it seemed like he just had the freedom to check that?
A: I don't want to get into too many details, but we do give him some freedom on plays if he sees something to take advantage of it.
Q: When you put (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) as a wildcat quarterback, what does he bring? What do you like about that?
A: Well, obviously he's a very dangerous athlete. We've seen him in a short period of time do a lot of different things. He's dynamic with the ball in his hands and he has a quarterback background, so he seems very comfortable doing those things. It's not like, 'Hey, do this because you're a really good athlete.' I mean, he has a feel and an instinct for those things. He has some history with that. I think he's proving that when you get the ball in his hands, he can do some real positive things for you. That's just another way to do that.
Q: And he can throw pretty far too, right?
A: He's got a good arm.
Q: What's the fine line for you guys with wanting to take advantage of Daniel's athleticism but then seeing times like Sunday where he runs and it has a negative result?
A: I think it's that. I think there is a balance there. I think we'd be foolish if we didn't use his ability as a runner. It's been such an asset for us, both him making plays spontaneously by moving in the pocket, but also some design stuff. Those have been good plays for us. But at the same time, you have to be certainly aware of that. You don't want to overdo that and put him in harms way. I think we're understanding more and more, he's understanding more and more the balance between those.
Q: Is there anything he could have done differently on that play to put himself less at risk of getting hurt?
A: I don't know that I can get into detail on that. It's pro football. Guys go out there, he's trying to make a play, they're trying to make a play and unfortunately, it didn't work out for us.
Q: As a coaching point though, do you want to not – in some way, would you rather him run towards the sideline, run out of bounds rather than putting his head down? Knowing that it's your quarterback and such an important position, how do you as a coach, coach that?
A: I think it's important to understand that obviously sliding is important for quarterbacks. But when you're in a situation like that when you're right down by the goal line, you're probably not going to slide and give yourself up unless you have no chance. He thought he had an opportunity to score. He's proven that he can be a tough, competitive player and make some of those plays for us. Again, unfortunately that didn't work out for us.
Q: We're always hearing talk about trusting the process from coaches, but when you have so many injuries, especially on offense, how much does the process have to change or be altered?
A: I think it probably reinforces the process and that probably goes a lot to what we ask of our players every day to come in and be prepared. If you look at our offense this year, like you said, we've had a lot of moving parts. A lot of guys have been in and out of the lineup. The next guy up has to step up and be ready to go and that goes back to his preparation, our belief and confidence in him, and putting him in situations where he can have some success. We have a number of examples of that on our offensive line, the other day in the game, the receiver, the quarterback, the running back, the left tackle, all of that. I thought the guys who went in responded well. They were prepared and ready to go.
Q: I know hindsight is 20-20, but looking at what he's done the last two and a half games, do you wish that you got Kadarius more involved in the first two and a half games? Or was that he was just not ready at that point?
A: I just think it was a function of missing all the time. He missed all the time in the spring and then really virtually all throughout training camp. He practiced for about three days before that first game, so we had talked about it. We're for him and we like him a lot as a guy and as a player. It was just a matter of getting some practice time, getting him comfortable doing some different things and he's responded really well.
Q: What have you learned about him that maybe you didn't know these past two weeks, like when you see him in the game that maybe you couldn't tell until you got him in a game?
A: I think you're optimistic when you draft a player that high that he has everything that you want, but until you see it, see it in a practice setting and in a game setting, it's never really verified. I think we felt good about his athleticism coming out. I mean, the numbers were well documented. The plays he made on tape were obvious to everybody to see. I do think his instincts and his feel and how smart he is as a player just early on in this whole process has been impressive. Again, I go back to the time he missed. He missed virtually all of training camp and to be able to transition as quickly as he has without that much work has been impressive to all of us.
Q: How much easier does it make it on a quarterback and a coordinator when you have a guy who can do that yards after catch-wise? He goes three yards downfield and it's a 20-yard catch.
A: It's such a big part of the game, as we all know. The game has become a lot more about space and when you get a guy in space who can make people miss and make plays for you, that changes your offense. It certainly helps protection, it helps the quarterback – it just helps your team in so many different ways.
Q: Given Daniel's status is iffy, is (Quarterback) Brian (Lewerke) a possibility to move up this weekend off the practice squad?
A: Again, we just have to get him ready. We'll take these situations day by day. Whatever the player is able to do, we'll let him to do that and then the other guys have to kind of fill in the gaps. Brian's part of our team, he's someone we're excited about having on our team and whatever work he gets here the next few days, he has to take advantage of.
Q: No one can obviously do exactly what (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) does. What does (Running Back) Devontae Booker do? What can he bring to your offense?
A: Book's just a good football player. He's demonstrated that. I remember evaluating him coming out in the draft and felt really good about him and he had success with the opportunities that he's had up to this point. I think the other day was a good example of it. He showed that he can run inside. He can catch the ball. He's tough. He's competitive. I just think he's been a productive guy. Really impressed with how well he played in the game and how he was prepared for that opportunity and took advantage of it.
Q: What did (Tackle) Matt Peart show you against the Cowboys?
A: Same thing with Matt, he didn't play that much leading up to this game but had an opportunity to play and responded well against a good front. They've got good guys up there and they come off the ball and I thought Matt responded well to that, both in the run game and the pass game. It was far from perfect, but he settled in there and he battled, and he fought, and he scratched and clawed, and he did a good job keeping his guy away from the ball.
Q: You mentioned how Kadarius how didn't practice very much. There was a sense that he needed refinement as a route runner, like where is he in that process? Has he impressed you with how he's run routes?
A: He really has. All receivers, you're constantly working on refining your routes and making them better, particularly young receivers. Again, he's a smart player. He's an instinctive player. You ask him to do something, 'Hey, push that a little bit farther. Take that in a little bit more. Flatten that angle out.' He kind of nods and says, 'All right,' and he does it the next time, which the best players I've been around have been able to do that. He's receptive to coaching and he takes advantage and learns from his experiences.
Q: When your quarterback comes back from a concussion, do you as a play caller have to change the way you approach that with him because you've been calling a lot of designed runs? How do you handle that whenever it is that he can come back?
A: I think the biggest thing is we would never put a player back out there if he wasn't healthy enough to play. Certainly, in a situation with a concussion, we certainly wouldn't do that. As an organization, as a coaching staff, we care too much about these guys to put them in a situation where they weren't right. If he's back and ready to go, we're going to play football. We're going to ask him to do what we need to do. Again, we talked about it earlier, you don't want to constantly put your quarterback in harms way. We have other guys who can make plays for us, but DJ running the ball has been a positive thing for us, so we'll try to find what that balance is.
Q: You wouldn't want to minimize hits, though? Obviously, you can't get rid of them, but is minimizing them coming off something like that –
A: We don't like our quarterback ever getting hit. We really don't, so we'll try to find what that balance is.
Q: What was Sunday like for you in terms of, I know you're calling a game, but your quarterback goes down, your running back goes down, your receiver goes down, your next receiver goes down. Have you ever been a part of that before and is there a point in the game where you're like, 'Is this ever going to stop?'
A: The biggest thing is you just have to respond to the situation. We talk about players being prepared and we have to be prepared as coaches. I believe strongly in the next man up philosophy. We work hard on the practice field to get our guys ready and if these situations happen, boom, you talk about it, who's in? What are we doing? What can't we do? What should we do more of? Again, I thought our coaches responded well and I thought our players really responded well. It just is what it is, and you try your best to make the whole thing work. I was proud of how our guys fought and battled throughout that game.
Q: Did you learn anything about Kadarius in terms of his competitiveness? He just seems to be a guy who has an intensity that kind of gets next level when he has the ball.
A: Again, you like to think that we saw that when we watched the tape and talked to the people down at Florida. We felt like that was in him. You saw that in a lot of his games. But when you're up close with him and you see him in these situations time and time again, it's certainly been impressive. The best players I've been around have that. They have that stuff inside of them. They compete, they scratch, they claw and he's showing that beyond just his playmaking ability.