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Skins Quotes 10/9: Shanahan/RG3/Garrett/Romo

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Marine Corps Virginia


October 9, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On how vital running back Alfred Morris is to the running game this week:
“We believe in the running game and we always want to have a great game plan. Usually teams that can run the football have a lot of success. We will always have that philosophy. Hopefully this week we can kind of get back to where we’ve been running the football and the play-action game and those types of things.”

On how Morris looked in practice today:
“He had full practice today, so that’s a good sign. So there was no setback, no limits on his carries in practice, so he should be ready to go.”

On owner Daniel M. Snyder letter to season ticket holders about the team name and if he discusses it with players:
“No, we concentrate on the game. I’m not sure how many players saw the letter. But personally, I was glad he expressed exactly how he feels from an ownership standpoint. I think I addressed that many times in the offseason. I said once the football season has started, I’d concentrate on football, and I’d like to do that.”

On what Morris’ unselfishness while receiving limited carries says about him:
“He’s a great, great person. He’s not selfish. He wants to carry the ball as many times as you’ll give it to him. He wants to help the football team win. And so he’s got the intangibles that you look for in a football player, and I think everybody saw that last year. Hopefully we can get him some more carries and have the success that he’s had.”

On if he says anything to Morris to keep him encouraged despite his number of carries:
“What you do is when you do carry the ball, you want to be successful just like he was last year. He can’t dictate how many times he gets ball – the flow of the game, if you’re ahead or behind, all the things that we’ve talked about already. So he’s a pretty smart guy. He understands those carries will come, and when they do come, he wants to take advantage of the opportunities.”

On if playing the Cowboys has extra meaning considering the division is wide open:
“Well, it’s always wide open this early in the season. It never changes, regardless of if you’re 4-0 or 0-4. But everybody understands within the division how important the division is. You’re guaranteed a home playoff game if you win your division. That’s enough incentive right there. Regardless of if you’re in the AFC or the NFC, it’s very important for a football team to win the division. We know that right now it’s up for grabs, but I still think it’s up for grabs in all divisions regardless of how you start.”

On if the division is more wide open with all four teams below .500:
“I think everybody sees that regardless of what you’re record is, they do have a chance.”

On the rivalry with the Cowboys:
“I think everybody looks forward to the week. It’s a big rivalry. It’s been a big rivalry for we know how many years and it’s something we look forward to. Players know how important it is. Since I’ve been here, it’s gotten bigger for me every year. I think as you grow as part of any division rivalry, the more games you play, the more intensity that goes with it. So it’s something that I look forward to.”

On if he has seen enough from kicker Kai Forbath to determine his status for Sunday:
“Right now, he looked good today. He kicked today. I would say I don’t, but you never know if something pops up. I think a couple of weeks ago it happened on a Thursday. We weren’t anticipating anything wrong with him. Hopefully there is no setback, but today he looked good and I anticipate him being ready for the game.”

On the performance of the offensive line, which has allowed the fewest sacks in the NFC:
“I don’t get too much into those stats right now. It’s still too early. What you want to do is make sure you don’t turn the football over. We still have to score more points. We have got to get better on third downs. There are a lot of different areas that we’re working to improve on every day. I think sacks is one of the things that we’ve done poor in the past that we’re getting better at, and that’s just a line coming together. The receivers, quarterback -- that goes with getting rid of the ball and being on the same page with everybody. But [we’re] trying to do the little things the right way, and hopefully we can get that done here this week.”

On what has made nose tackle Barry Cofield so successful this season:
“Barry is a very talented player. Nose tackle is I shouldn’t say easy to evaluate, but you can see how a guy performs. Sometimes it’s a one-gap defense, other times it’s a two-gap defense. But he’s a guy that does have quickness, he’s got power, he’s got the ability to rush the quarterback and at the same time, plays the run extremely well. Not too many guys can do that.”

On what makes passing out of two tight end sets difficult:
“It all depends on what type of tight ends you have. There aren’t very many tight ends like New England has that have the ability to run routes and run like wide receivers and have the size and the quickness to make plays. If you have some wide receivers to go with it, those tight ends are going against linebackers and safeties, so those mismatches – just like you saw last week with Denver – the tight end got a lot of catches and took advantage of it.”

On how he addressed the Redskins’ slow offensive starts:
“Our players know that every play is 11 guys working on execution. So you don’t hit one thing. You go over everything. One thing we’ve been able to do through the years is different ways to move the football. But in order to move the ball effectively, you’ve got to eliminate mistakes, so hopefully we’ll do that over the next 12 games.”

On how confident he is that linebacker Rob Jackson and defensive end Jarvis Jenkins will be able to contribute in the first game after their suspensions:
“We’ll evaluate that today and Thursday and Friday and kind of get a feel of where they’re at and then make a decision before the game what direction we’re going to go.”

On how quarterback Robert Griffin III has progressed this year:
“What you do is you get to go back, take a look at every pass play – you know, play-action, dropback. You see him feeling more comfortable with himself. You can see him taking advantage of those reps in game situations. So I see him continually getting better and better as he feels he gets the reps that he needs.”

On if Griffin III is where he expected to be coming out of the bye:
“You never know, you never know. But talking to Robert, he feels good and that’s the main thing. If he’s feeling good, we’re going to give him the opportunity to do a bunch of different things. Hopefully he plays at the level that he’s played at.”

On the status of tight ends Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen:
“[Reed] was full practice today. Logan was limited.”

On his assessment of the team thus far:
“At the end of the day, you’re 1-3. You take a look at what you did well and what you did poorly. We worked at least the last couple of days on things that we did poorly so we can win a few more games. This is the stretch. You’ve got to start playing your best football now. Whatever stats you do have, they don’t mean anything right now. But you want to start playing good football and hopefully we can do that.”

On how to make Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo uncomfortable:
“If Tony knows exactly what you’re doing, he’s going to have a great day. He’s very accurate. He reads defenses extremely well. If you don’t make him a little bit uncomfortable, he’s going to have a big day on you. He’s got a lot of talent. It’s always a matchup that I think you enjoy because he’s got a lot of talent. He believes in what he does, but we’ve got a lot of belief in our players as well.”

On the injury report:
“[Nose tackle] Chris Neild, he did not practice today. Everybody else looked like they were full go. [Linebacker Brandon] Jenkins is a little sore with his ankle; we’ll probably have him listed as limited as well.”

On what makes cornerback DeAngelo Hall effective against receivers like Dez Bryant:
“DeAngelo is a competitor. You put him on a receiver and he’s going to go out there and fight. He believes in himself and he likes to go against the best players. He’s got that type of mindset. It’s always nice when you have got a person that believes he has the ability to shut down anybody. Dez has got the mindset that he can beat anybody. So it’s always a great matchup to see two great athletes compete against each other.”

On if he looks at the success other quarterbacks have had against Dallas to prepare his offense:
“Well, you take a look at [San Diego Chargers quarterback] Philip Rivers. He did a great job. You take a look at [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton Manning. You’ve got two experienced guys. You take a look at Kansas City and you take a look at St. Louis, and you take a look at the defense that played very well. If you count both those games up, they probably gave about 270 yards up. And even against [New York Giants quarterback] Eli [Manning], they had six turnovers. I believe three interceptions and four fumbles – maybe it was three and three, six turnovers. They’ve done a good job. A couple of quarterbacks got hot. They still had a chance to win a couple more games. They lose to Kansas City, 17-16. They had a chance to beat Denver. So we understand what type of football team this is and they’ve done some great things on both sides of the ball. We just have got to make sure we play one of our better games.”

On the Cowboys switching to a 4-3 scheme under Monte Kiffin:
“It’s always different. It’s a different philosophy. I’ve got a lot of respect for Monte; been going against him for a lot of years, both at the collegiate level and the professional level. He’s a heck of a football coach. It’s a heck of a scheme.”

On he looks at film of last year’s games against Dallas less because of the Cowboys’ change in scheme:
“Sometimes when you go back and you look at games last year with a different scheme, it’s about personnel, studying someone from last year – might be a defensive end, linebacker, secondary – not as much scheme. [You] see if somebody has changed within the last year or how they’re playing, but not from a strategy standpoint.”

On third downs:
“The one thing you do is you take a look at third downs, across the National Football League, the teams that have success on third downs usually have great days. If it’s Dallas, 4-for-6, or Denver, whatever they were – 9-for-12-or-13 – both offenses did very well. You put a lot of pressure on that quarterback in those situations and I thought they handled it well. But you’re always working, just like we did last year after the bye week, to get better in those third down areas and that’s what we’re hoping we’re doing now. We’re paying a lot of attention to it and hopefully it will show dividends this Sunday night.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On importance of the running game:
“It’s just what we do and it’s essential to us. We have got a couple guys back there who can really tote the rock for us and you have to give them the opportunity to do that, whether it’s Alfred [Morris], [Roy] Helu, or [Evan] Royster or anybody who has to step back there to take some carries, we want to get that game rolling. I think it helps our offensive line out too – they don’t like to just sit back there and pass block all the time. They like to their feet dirty and their hands dirty in there in the running game.”

On his reaction to the game between the Broncos and Cowboys last Sunday:
“I did watch the game and it was a great game by both teams. Each week is a new week so you can’t really count on what they did the previous week. I know they were on fire and we don’t want them to be like that versus our defense of course. So whatever game it ends up being, that’s what you have to go win – high-scoring, low-scoring, in between, we’ll be ready for anything and we just have got to go take it.”

On how the Cowboys’ new defense changes his preparation for the game:
“Like I said, you have got to take each game, each year as a new experience. They have got the same guys there but they have a totally different scheme and they’ve bought into that scheme, so we have to attack that. We can’t just attack those individual guys, so I think it is totally different but at the end of the day we want to have a similar result and that’s a win.”

On how he and the team feel coming off the bye week:
“I feel good, great actually, rejuvenated – everybody’s got a lot more energy coming off the bye week, just ready to do what we know we have to do. And then as a team, I think we’re all just moving on from those first four weeks. We got the win going into the bye, which is real beneficial to us, but aside from that we didn’t really play like we know we can play. So we just have got to get back to doing us and that’s kind of the approach I took as well over the bye, just relax my mind and get back to being myself.”

On if the time off helped his knee:
“The more time you have after it, the better it’ll be.”

On if he feels playing in the first four games was beneficial to him:
“I do. The only way to come back from an injury like that is to play and that’s what we had to do. I feel good about what we were able to do from a groundwork standpoint, building up each game, but now it’s time for us to make that breakthrough, and we have to do it.”

On if he saw a big difference from Week 1 to Week 4 or just subtle changes along the way:
“I was just more comfortable with everything going on. I think as a team we played better each week in general and specifically with the offense I feel like we played better each week. And that’s what we have to do, we have got to go out and execute. It takes all 11 of us and every guy has got to look in the mirror and say, 'What can I do better?’ That’s the message Coach gave us, and that’s kind of the message that we have to take on. You have got to look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'What can I do better to help this team win?’ And for me, in general, that’s just going out and being the playmaker that they need me to be.”

On the importance of making plays with his feet like he was able to do in Oakland:
“I think it’s important for everybody to see that. They get more comfortable to call various plays because they feel like I can go out there and do it. So I just want to give everybody that confidence. For me, I always know I can make those plays if the opportunity arises and they did in that Oakland game, so hopefully that’ll put everybody at ease and we can go move forward with the year.”

On if he’s identified how to ease the pressure or take advantage when teams blitz:
“When they blitz, you’ve got to be able to take advantage of the holes they leave behind it. That’s what teams do – when they blitz they’re taking a gamble. Sometimes they get you and you tip your hat to them, and then after that, sometimes you’ll get them. And when that opportunity arises, you have to make the most of it and that’s what we’ve got to do... I’m not going to give away any secrets. Also, in the first couple of games we got behind so teams could blitz us and not really have to worry about the consequences because they were playing with a pretty comfortable lead – we have got to make sure that doesn’t happen either.”

On the offensive line’s pass protection thus far:
“With my offensive line, I always tip my hat to those guys. Whenever we throw the ball over 40 times I think the first three weeks of the season when that’s not anywhere near our plan or our goal as a tea – you want to be able to run the ball and we put ourselves in those situations – so I tip my hat to them for not allowing a lot of sacks, giving me an opportunity to look down the field. At times things are going to happen on the field and they’ll give up sacks and no one’s out there pointing the finger. I know I’m definitely not, so I tip my hat to those guys. For us as an offense, we have to help get them in rhythm and get our whole offense in rhythm by running the ball and throwing the ball.”

On if the discussion about the team name is a distraction in the locker room:
“When it comes to the name change, we can’t allow it to be a distraction. You don’t want to minimize anything that’s going on outside of these walls, but inside these walls we have to focus on football and that’s what our goal has to be. We have to focus on the Cowboys. We have to go out and win football games. We can’t worry about what’s going on outside of that at this time and point.”

On the team’s response after the bye:
“As far as how everyone has responded, I thought we had a great practice, offense and defense – guys flying around. We had the right energy. I think guys had the right attitude and we just have to go ball.”

On if he went back and looked at games or had a getaway from football during the bye week:
“You do a little bit of both. I think it’s good to get away from it and relax your mind and it’s also good before you get into that to go back and look at all the games. I did that before, came back, did it again, and then you move forward with the year.”

On if he expected the scrutiny for the first four games knowing he would get better as the season went on:
“Mentally you have to prepare for that kind of scrutiny. I had to deal with that when I came back from the injury in college. There’s going to be naysayers, there’s going to be people that doubt you and say you shouldn’t have come back so soon or this and that. You just can’t worry about those kinds of things. We did not expect the year to start off the way it did as far as going 1-3, but as far as some of the scrutiny that comes with it, you kind of have to be prepared for that kind of stuff – whenever people build you up so high, they’re just waiting to cut you down.”

On if he knew there would be struggles or if he expected to hit the ground running:
“A little bit of both. You come out and the way we played – the way I played that first game – that was not up to my standards or up to our standards as a team in general. That was disappointing. When it comes to timing here, timing there, sometimes you might be a little bit off coming back from an injury like I had, and you have to work through those growing pains, but we didn’t think it was going to be what it ended up being those first couple of games, so that’s no excuse at all. You just have got to move on from that and try to be better – or be better.”

On how to prevent intentional grounding penalties:
“You just try to get the ball out of your hand to not take the sack, and I think the one against the Raiders I thought I was outside the tackle box and I wasn’t. It’s just little things like that that you’ve got to try to avoid, those little penalties, because that does hurt your team and that’s stuff that I try to pay attention to. That also goes back to, as a quarterback, you don’t want to take that sack so you’re trying to find every possible way to get it out and get it past the line and be outside the tackle box, so it’s not that difficult, but it’s certainly something that I work on. It’s a thing that happens in the game so I can’t go in practice and say, 'Hey Coach, I’m going to practice not intentional grounding on this one,’ so it just happens.”

On the play of wide receiver Leonard Hankerson:
“I think he’s settled into his spot there, playing 'Z’ for us and he’s done a great job running after the catch, being a big target, friendly target for me to throw the ball to. I’m real happy with what he’s done, and he’s out there playing with a lot of confidence too so that also helps us.”

On if he looks at this week as the perfect time to play the Cowboys:
“I wouldn’t say that. For us, coming off the bye, it didn’t matter who we were going to be playing. Obviously we know the magnitude of this game being Redskins-Cowboys. They’re going to be pumped up, they’ll be ready to go. It’ll be on Sunday night. Everybody is going to be watching. Everyone is going to put their best foot forward. For us, it’s not really about the other team anymore, it’s about us, and that’s what we’ve got to focus on. We can’t focus on what are they going to do, what are they going to do here, what are they going to do there; you know it, you study it, and then you go out and play and just execute what you have to do. We have to focus on us as opposed to focusing on them.”

On what the struggles of the rest of the NFC East mean for the Redskins:
“We just have got to win the division, period. I know some people will say you have got to keep pace with your division and, I mean, I understand that, it’s just a play on words, I understand that, but you’ve just got to go out and try to win football games. That’s the bottom line. We have to win this week. We have got to win the next week. If you continue to carry that mindset into each week, usually, the outcome will be what you want it to be. For us, we just know we have to make sure we win our division and that’s thinking down the road. Right now we have to focus one game at a time and it involves the Cowboys so that’s what we’ve got to do.”

On sets wide receiver Pierre Garçon apart:
“I think it’s his attitude. I don’t know if you guys see it very often, he’s kind of laid back with you guys, but the way he plays out there on the field, he’s an angry guy. I said it last year, he plays with a hunger inside of him, and just his ability to run after the catch is really what sets him apart – to run through tackles, never gives up. The way he is on game day is how he is every time he catches the ball. He’s trying to go score a touchdown, and that’s what you want from your receivers. You want them to fight for the ball, you want them to fight for extra yards and you want them to make big plays and that’s all things that he does.”

On if he made a conscious effort to focus on football during the bye week:
“Yeah, I mean, during the season you never do anything when it comes to endorsers or any stuff like that. You try to make sure you always have your focus on football. I think this bye week it was more important for me to just get away from everything and kind of let everything die down and let everybody get back to talking about football and not the knee brace, not anything else going on along those lines. That was the biggest thing for me at that time. That’s the reason I didn’t sit down and talk with you guys or do anything else. I just wanted to get away, go spend some time with my wife, and just relax and it worked.”

On if any of the first four games were up to his standards:
“I mean, whenever you set a precedent of how you are going to play week in, week out like we did last year, there’s going to be high expectations because that’s what you want. I don’t think we’ve disappointed anybody more than ourselves the first four weeks of the season, just because we know how much work we put into it and how much pride our guys have in going out and being successful. I don’t think any of those games were up to our standards, but we have to make sure we go out and not just rely on last year, but we have to build a story for this year, and it starts with us being 1-3 right now and trying to get to 2-3 against the Cowboys.”

Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett

On what he can use from the two games against the Redskins last season:
“They were great football games. We have great respect for the organization, for the team, for the coaching staff, their players, all of that. We’ve played a lot of good games against them through the years. Obviously, in the first game down here, the issues of turning the ball over early and giving them the opportunity to go way ahead at halftime, you certainly don’t want to do that. You can’t do that against anybody. I thought we did a good job battling back in that game, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Certainly the game for the division at the end of the year there is a ton to learn from. We did some good things in that game, but they did the things necessary to win the game. So you learn as you are preparing for the Redskins, but you also learn just as you prepare for another game to do the things necessary to win each week.”

On what he has seen from quarterback Robert Griffin III so far this season:
“He’s obviously a very good player. He makes a lot of good plays from the pocket. He still gets outside the pocket, either by design or spontaneously, and makes plays on the move. He’s a young quarterback in starts and in time at this level, but he plays very maturely, and he gets better and better it seems like every week. He’s certainly a dangerous guy. They have a lot of weapons around him. They have a good running game. So there are a lot of challenges we are facing on offense.”

On if he has to plan for Griffin III making plays outside the pocket as much as he did last year:
“People have been asking me that and it seems like he’s running a little bit less than he did last year in his rookie season, but still he’s a very dangerous athlete and he’s very comfortable out in space, so making sure you contain him and keep him in the pocket is critical, and that’s what you’re trying to do every week. When the quarterback does have the athletic ability, you want to limit those plays they make out in space.”

On the new 4-3 defense they are using and how it has made them better:
“It’s a different front as you know. We played mostly a 3-4 last year, a base Okie style defense and we were in four-man fronts in different types of situations like nickel and some of those game situations, but for the most part we were a base 3-4. Now we are a base 4-3 and you take some of those outside linebacker players and you put their hand down and they become defensive ends. Those defensive ends in a 3-4 kind of move down and they become nose tackles in a three-technique. So we felt like, when we were evaluating our roster, that we could make this change relatively quickly because of the versatility of some of our players and maybe some of the history they’ve had playing in a 4-3, either in the NFL or in college. So we felt good about that. Unfortunately for us, three of our top defensive lineman are out in [defensive end] Anthony Spencer, [defensive end] Tyrone Crawford and [nose tackle] Jay Ratliff, so a lot of that discussion that we had in terms of making the conversion involved those guys’ ability to convert and play on a four-man line. You know [defensive end] DeMarcus Ware and [nose tackle] Jason Hatcher are two of our veteran players who, we feel like, it suits them well and they’ve been acclimating to it over the course of the early part of the season. Similarly with the linebackers, you know 3-4 linebackers, depending on how you play the 3-4 scheme, are a little bit of a different animal than 4-3 guys and we feel like [linebackers] Sean Lee and Bruce Carter and Ernie Sims and Justin Durant, those guys fit well into a 4-3 scheme as well. We’re still learning it. We’re still trying to get better each and every day; I think everybody is around the league, but I think we feel comfortable with it.”

On the value of a good nose tackle in a 3-4 defense:
“It’s critical. It’s critical. You know, typically the 3-4 is predicated on the pressure players from the edge and then the ability for that nose tackle to create mismatches inside. A lot of times teams will take their offensive tackles and send them out and block the real good rushers outside and typically that leaves that nose tackle with a single block inside. When you have a guy who is threatening in there and can present some problems for you in those one-on-one matchups, it really makes the defense difficult.”

On blitzing:
“I think the blitz is such a big part of everyone’s plan every week. We spend a lot of time trying to defeat pressure packages of different teams. I don’t think it’s any different going against Washington. Some teams feel like some of the run-game stuff the Redskins use, blitzing them can be an effective way to stop it, but getting ready to defend blitz packages is something that’s happening in 32 cities around this league every week because defensive coordinators are awfully good at pressuring you a lot of different ways and you have to be ready to handle it.”

On if he is surprised by the struggles of the NFC East:
“Yeah, I mean the biggest thing for us is to kind of focus on ourselves. We have to get better, really, throughout our football team in all three phases and that’s where our attention is. In regards to what our record is and what everybody else’s records are, it’s really important for us to get out of that world and to get better and learn from the previous game and try and get better each and every day in practice. Certainly it’s been one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL for a long, long time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all the records are 14-2 or 13-3 or 12-4. That’s not the nature of it. But you certainly expect the NFC East teams to have more wins at this point but we’re real focused on what we need to do to get better because we have a lot of things to improve upon.”

On why the Cowboys’ defense has allowed some big games from opposing quarterbacks so far:
“We’ve run into some good quarterbacks, first of all. A couple of weeks ago we went out to San Diego and faced [Chargers quarterback] Phillip Rivers who is playing awfully well, and then this past week we played against [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton Manning, and what they are doing in Denver on offense is historic and Peyton Manning has a heck of a lot to do with it. They have a lot of weapons and he certainly knows how to use them. Having said that, we need to play better on defense, and with our pass we defense we just need to shore it up and just be a little bit more consistent in how we are covering people and how we’re defending them and make some plays on the back end. A big part of the game last week against Denver was their ability to convert on third downs. They were 9-of-13 in those third down situations and that keeps drives alive and just keeps you on your heels on defense. So making stops, starting with pressure up front and then making plays on the back end is really critical and there are a lot of unique and novel philosophies but it’s really what you have to do. You have to sack the quarterback and then on the back end, whether you are playing man or zone, you have to make plays on the ball.”

On the play of rookie center Travis Frederick and how he has helped the offensive line:
“Travis is a guy that we really feel happy that we have. We did trade down in the draft and got him at the bottom of the first round. We picked up a third round pick in doing so and picked a guy that we really like. As you remember, there was a real run on offensive lineman in this draft; six guys went in the first 11 picks. Nothing like that has even come close to happening in the past. Travis is a guy we had our eye on. We feel like we needed to get stronger in the interior of our offensive line, and he’s a guy who had some position flex, played both center and guard at Wisconsin. He was a smart, tough guy in our evaluation, and he has really proven to be that since he’s been here. He was a minute one starter in OTAs. We put him in and gave him a chance to show that he could be a starting center for us and he stepped up and responded well. He’s certainly learning every week. It’s hard for a rookie to come into this league at any position, particularly a position like center, but he’s hanging in there, doing a nice job for us. He’s a physical player. He doesn’t seem to be in awe of the situation and we really like what he’s done. We also added [guard] Ron Leary, who is a guy that was with us last year. He’s playing left guard for us and gotten a heck of a lot better. He’s a stronger player from year one to year two and doing a nice job learning on the job a little bit. Again, he’s only five starts in. And then we added [guard] Brian Waters, a longtime Kansas City Chief, right at the beginning of the season and he’s done a nice job getting himself acclimated to what we’re doing and getting himself ready to play. He started for us and played the whole game last week. I do think we’re stronger in the interior of our offensive line than we’ve been in a long, long time and those three guys have a lot to do with it.”

On if he is bothered by the negative reaction to quarterback Tony Romo’s play despite big numbers:
“I think the most important thing is to stay focused on your job and getting better each and every week, and Tony does a great job of that. There is a lot that comes with playing quarterback in the National Football League, and when you’re the starting quarterback for one of these 32 teams, there is a lot of attention placed on your play both good and bad. Somehow, some way, you have to get locked in and focus on what you need to do each and every week to play your best football for your team. Tony is committed to doing that and you’ve got to block some things out. A lot of times they are saying really good things about him and you’ve got to block that out and similarly with some of the criticism he takes. He did a lot of great things in the game last week. At the end of the ballgame we didn’t get it done. He didn’t get it done. The team didn’t get it done. Denver did and we all have to live with that and you have to learn from it. Tony understands that. He’s been doing this a long time and he understands all that comes with the position and what he has to do to focus on being his best.”

On the play of tackle Doug Free:
“Doug’s really doing a nice job. I do think he’s playing the best football he’s played here in the last few years.”

Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo

On what makes cornerback DeAngelo Hall a solid defensive back and how he and Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant will try to get the edge in that matchup:
“DeAngelo has good instincts and he’s got speed, so it’s a good combination. And sometimes you have to try to use that against him a little bit and we’ll try to do that this weekend, but he’s a good player.”

On linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and what he’s doing well:
“Well, he has a lot of ability. He can cover well. He rushes the passer well. He’s a smart football player – understands combinations and certain things that other edge rushers don’t necessarily see and make a part of their process, so he does a real good job of understanding what football teams are trying to do. I think he’s a real good football player and you have to be prepared for him.”

On how disruptive nose tackle Barry Cofield has been this year:
“He looks good. He’s playing at a high level. He’s very disruptive. You have to have a plan for him. He’s playing at a very high level right now and he’s going to provide a very tough game for us.”

On the difference in play calling between Bill Callahan and Jason Garrett:
“I don’t want to get into that stuff. I think that’s to our advantage to not let all that stuff go, but we’re just continuing to get better and better on offense and it’s starting to go.”

On the importance of getting running back DeMarco Murray more touches:
“I think you’re always trying to get touches with DeMarco. He’s a great back and we love when he gets a lot of touches.”

On the impact safety Brandon Meriweather has on the Redskins:
“He’s a good player. He does a good job, he’s got good range, he tackles well and you just have got to hope you put those guys in a little bit of a bind sometimes.”

On how blitz schemes have evolved and how he prepares for all the different looks he will see:
“Well, you have to study tape. You’ve got to look at it constantly, and if you love football, it can turn into an enjoyable thing. I’ve always loved analyzing the game and looking at it and figuring out ways to attack certain things and we’re doing things a little bit different this year, and I think we’re hopefully going to continue to attack and just keep getting better.”
 

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