On the impact of only scoring six points on first-and-goals: You know it’s always going to come back and bite you. You get down there, you work your offense down there, and not to come away with seven? You know but they’re fighting. They’re trying to make it happen. But you knew it was going to come back and bite you. You get six instead of 14. Do the math.
On not playing press coverage on TO: Honestly, we wanted to mix it up. We wanted to play some press, and we wanted to play some off of him. There were a couple of times that Romo instead of getting sacked he ran around a little bit and the guy was looking at the quarterback instead of staying deep. Anytime you have a situation like that, we know we have to stay with the guy and not let him just run free. That’s what happened on a couple of plays. But we did press him as well.
On Nate Clements: Nate, the last few weeks, Nate has been playing well. Today, that one play was a tough play for him. It was just something where the quarterback scrambled, and I’m sure he thought the quarterback was sacked. He thought we had him, but he20got loose and he threw the ball. It happens. It just came at a really bad time. But Nate has been playing his tail off, and he’ll continue to do so.
(rather he not try to knock the ball away, but make the tackle) I think he was trying to do both. Yeah, you want to try and knock the ball out. TO is a big guy. You’re trying to tackle him; you’re trying to knock the ball out. It just didn’t happen.
On the touchdown to T.O.: Obviously, it changed momentum. I felt a the beginning of the game, we pretty much were running things we needed to run to stay on the game plan that we wanted to have. After that one play, of course there were a series of plays during the game, but that got it started. That is something that we did not want to do, something we did not want to happen, but obviously it happened. But we just had to regroup and continue and try to come from behind at that time momentum-wise.
On Gore not really being a major part of the game: I think going into this game, we wanted to try and take advantage of some things that we saw in their backend. Once we got behind and now they’ve got their ears pinned back and they’re rushing us every time, it makes it a little difficult. I thought20both run defenses did a pretty decent job today. I thought we did a pretty decent job containing Barber and they did a pretty decent job containing Gore. That’s the kind of day it was.
Did the Cowboys offense do anything different? No. No. Absolutely not. It was just one of those things we came in and gave up some big plays. They’re a big play offense. They live and die by the big play. Today, they lived by it. We just have to be smarter than we are. We were not very smart today and that’s why we lost the game. It’s really as simple as that.
Is this a step back? I would never say it’s a setback, because I told the guys a little while ago you know what, I love every one of you. Effort is outstanding. We’re just not playing very smart at times. To me, that was the case today.
What are you referring to? I’m referring to the little things like the first play that Nate had. I’m referring to we get a break, we get a turnover, and the quarterback turns around and throws a bad ball, however it was. It was deflected or whatever it was. It’s just that we have to go to that next level where we’re playing sma rt football. We play with our heart. We’re playing with a lot of intensity, a lot of energy. But at times, we’re not playing smart. When you’re playing against a team with all this talent, and all the things that this team can do, you just can’t do that. We did it too often today.
On Hill having trouble in red zone: I can say yeah, he’s going to have a bit of a challenge because he doesn’t zip it or whatever. He’s been doing fine the past couple of weeks. I can’t say that. I just think the ball he threw, I don’t really know what exactly happened on it, I just know it was a bad play, a bad throw. I guess he’s going to make those throws. It’s unfortunate. It came at a bad time.
On getting to the quarterback: I just know the guys are fighting their tails off to try and get there and the times they did get there, we didn’t bring him down. Romo does a decent job of moving around. If you’re going to do that, if you’re going to rush him, you’ve got to bring him down. If you don’t bring him down when you have a chance, he’s going to hurt you and that’s what happened.
Obviously, I’ve got to give them credit. They’ve got a good defense. Those guys can get after you. They’re very athletic. So I’m going to give them all the credit in the world. They’re due. I just think we did some things on offense that we haven’t done in a while. We’re turning the ball over. We’ve got to keep the ball. We get down there in the red zone, inside the 5, we’ve got to punch it in. I have to give them credit for it.
On fearing T.O. coming into this game: You know what, I’ll just put it this way: I think TO is a heck of an athlete. When you give him a chance, he’s going to do what he does. It’s unfortunate for us, but obviously, he’s a heck of a talent. I’m not going to take anything away from him.
On it being a tall order for Nate Clements to be matched up on T.O.: No, it’s not. No. I can’t agree with that. I’m going to defend Nate. Nate is better than that. Nate is a good football player. Nate can cover TO. He did not today, but I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for him. Maybe we should have got him more help? Maybe we should have…. No. I don’t think so. I totally disagree with that. I just think we did a bad job. It’s as simple as that.
Did you press Terrell Owens? After a while, when you’re playing against someone like TO and you know that sometimes even though you’re supposed to be pressed, maybe you back off a little bit, because a guy like that can make you lose your confidence a little bit. It’s really unfortunate, but it happens. I’m not going to all of a sudden say TO is the greatest guy in the world, greatest wide receiver in the world. I think he does a heck of a job. But I just think when you’re not playing smart and you’re not playing with confidence, sometimes that’s going to happen. I will not say that Nate can’t cover that guy. I will say Nate can cover him all over the field.
On talking to Clements after the game: Nate’s a man. He’s a professional. He’ll bounce back. He’ll do fine.