Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
Q: How great was that to see that trick play work like magic?
A: Well, I don't know if it worked like magic, but it worked. Yeah, it was a good play for us. We wanted to get to it. There were certain situations where we felt like we could get the look that we wanted, and it came up for us in that case and ultimately those plays come down to execution. Book (Running Back Devontae Booker) did a really good job handling that pressure and getting the pitch off and then (Wide Receiver) Dante (Pettis) made a really good throw and DJ (Quarterback Daniel Jones) made a hell of a catch.
Q: What made Dante the right guy to throw the ball there or was it anybody who was in that spot?
A: No, he just has a real good feel. I think we've seen that from Dante. Whenever he's gotten opportunities, he's gone in and played well. He's got a good feel and instinct for playing the game. We worked on it a little bit last week with him in practice and he threw it well, so we decided to give him a shot and he came through.
Q: Could you have made that one-handed catch when you were in there?
A: Absolutely not. That was a hell of a play.
Q: You moved Daniel out of the pocket a lot last week, is that something that can become a bigger part of his game and the offense going forward?
A: I think each week you just try to decide what you think you need to do to win the game. You try to attack with what are potentially strengths that you have and maybe some things that you think you can take advantage of from them. That was such a good defense last week. I think they were third in the NFL coming into the game and we had a lot of moving parts on the offensive side of the ball, so we felt like that was a way for us to move the ball. Again, I thought the guys responded well to it.
Q: When you look on the other side, you see (Chiefs Quarterback Patrick) Mahomes who does a lot of that moving on the run and throwing not designed, just sort of that freelancing. Do you want Daniel to do that more maybe? It seems like when he goes to run – when he moves, most of the time he ends up running rather than running to throw.
A: Well, I don't even want to compare players. In Kansas City, that guy's a really, really, special player and he has his style of playing. Obviously, he's taken the league by storm. Just all the different things he's capable of doing – throwing from the pocket, throwing on the move, making creative plays, throwing back across his body, throwing from awkward, funny body positions. He's just amazing. You've just got to give him credit for what he's been able to do so far, the way they've used him and then just simply how he's played.
Q: I'm more asking how much would you like Daniel to add that aspect? Not the throwing across his body, but just unscripted throwing on the run.
A: Daniel's made a lot of plays for us on the move. He made a lot of them the other day in the game. He uses his feet to run, and he uses (them) to throw. He has his own style, but he's been really effective and he's going to get better and better as we go.
Q: You used that heavy personnel package at the goal line. It worked a couple of times early in the year. It didn't work the other day. What do you like about just having all those big bodies in there at the goal line?
A: Typically, down there, you get inside the one-yard line, that's been a good personnel in the NFL for a long time. We call it 23 personnel. It's two backs and three tight ends and it's been good for us. It's been good for other teams. They did a good job stuffing us. It comes down to coming off the ball, being lower, getting a little bit of a surge and getting in. The numbers are never going to be right down there. They're always going to have one more than you have. Unfortunately, we didn't get in that time. There are other ways to score down there, too. You can be opened up and spread out, but inside the one, typically that's been pretty good. We'll continue to use that. We'll continue to try to do other things as well.
Q: What would it mean to this offense if you get some of those weapons back?
A: I thought our guys responded really well the other day. Again, if you think about the different pieces we're using on the offensive line and then the different skill guys who came in and played, you've heard me say this before, we've got a lot of professional guys on our team who prepare the right way and get ready for their opportunities. I thought that was in evidence the other day against Carolina. Having said that, guys are starters for reasons, and the other guys who have been out have been really good players for us, but we've just got to continue to control what we can control. Those guys are controlling their preparation and their rehab as best they can. They're trying to get back as fast as they can. When they come back, there will be a place for them. But in the meantime, the guys who are playing, they have to continue to embrace their opportunities and they've done that so far.
Q: (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) was saying that when you go against a high-powered offense like this, there are a couple of different ways to approach it. You can try to play ball control, or you can try to sort of match their 'high-powered-ness,' for lack of a better term. What's the balance like to try to strike that in prepping for this week, especially when you don't necessarily know if you're going to have some of your guys?
A: I think the biggest thing that we always talk about is controlling what we can control, and what we can control is executing ball plays. If we're able to score fast against these guys, that's a good thing. If we're able to drive the ball and score, that's a good thing. The biggest thing we have to do is execute play after play after play, sustain drives. It's about making a lot of little plays in the game. It's about making the big plays when they're there. When we played our best offensive football, we've been able to do that. That will be no different on Monday night.
Q: How do you handle, you personally, game plan-wise with four of your top weapons you don't know, or you might not have them? Do you plan that, 'Okay, we're not going to have these guys and then add as you go'?
A: I think that's the best way. You try to get the right information from the training staff. Our guys do a great job communicating with us. You talk to the players about what their availability is but having said that we're going to have ball practice today, and we need to have receivers and linemen and tight ends and backs out there going and we believe in the guys that we have. If we're able to get some of the other guys back, we'll plug them in and we'll go. We have to be nimble on the call sheet. There's a lot of different personnels with guys names on it and if guys are available, those will be up, and if they're not, they won't be up, and the next guy's going to step in. Again, I keep going back to our guys. They embrace whatever situation it is, and they've responded well to it.
Q: Some of the things that worked against Carolina were the quick slants. I think (Wide Receiver) Darius (Slayton) caught a couple and I think Pettis had one, too. Is that something specific to Carolina or is that something you guys run well?
A: I think it's something that has to be part of what you're doing offensively. The quicks have been good for us around here. It's always a combination of trying to make some of those quick plays where the ball comes out of your hand and then making some plays down the field. Again, the conditions that you have, the guys you have playing and the guys you're going against I think factor into those decisions. The biggest piece is the execution part, and I think our guys did a great job in the game the other day. When those plays came up, they made the throws, they made the catches, they made the runs after the catch and that was big. I think if you look at the ball location on a lot of those, it was really good. Dante wins on an inside slant and DJ puts it right on the front number and he comes out of it for I think a 28-yard gain. The execution at a high level, how you're protecting, how you're throwing it, where the ball is, catching on the run, I think those are big parts of it. You can mix in some explosive plays in that quick game where guys are able to do that.
Q: What have you seen from (Tight End) Evan (Engram) this season? With so many other starters out, it seemed like his time to step up and shine and the numbers aren't necessarily showing that.
A: Evan has just responded well to anything we've ever given him. He's dealt with some injuries himself. He's worked his way in and out of the lineup and all that, but he gets himself ready to play. I think the other day in the game, he did exactly what we asked him. We moved the pocket a lot. He was a guy who was going to get the ball on a lot of those plays. He caught them. He went north and south and made a lot of good plays for us. He's ready and willing to do whatever we ask him. He's been a blocker at times. He's been a vertical receiver. He's been a run after the catch guy. He's always ready to go. We love having him on our team.
Q: This is a national game, a lot of people from outside watching. With Daniel, do you feel like people realize when you talk to people on the outside, how well he's kind of played so far this season?
A: I don't really think too much about that to be honest with you. We really try to focus on what we need to do each day. He's done a great job of that. You prepare, you prepare, you prepare and then you go out there and play. I think he's clearly improving with every opportunity. I think that goes to his approach. He's someone whose always ready for the opportunities in practice and then he learns from the experiences, and he does that in the game as well as any of the guys I've been around. He'll keep getting better and better and better. We're going to keep trying to get better around him and keep growing. We'll just keep kind of focusing on that.
Q: Is it refreshing that for the first time this year you're going to have the same offensive line, I would assume, in back-to-back games?
A: Again, it's just part of the deal. I keep going back to this. Our guys have responded well to it, our coaches and players. Whatever it is, we've just got to be ready to embrace it. Guys have to be prepared. You never know, these situations change during the week. They change during the game. Go in there and play, next man up and keep embracing that approach. That's what allows you to play your best.
Q: How was the victory formation?
A: It was good. It was nice to be in that. It really is. We've got to get more of that going (laughs).