RE: How much of T.O.’s [Terrell Owens] big game is due to what you were just talking about: the secondary play? How much of it was scheme? Could you have covered him differently? Could you have double-covered him the whole game?
“Sure, you can double-cover anybody the whole game.”
RE: Why not in this case?
“We didn’t feel that it was warranted. We didn’t feel that it was necessary to do so. Even in the pass that he caught over Nate Clements’ head, there should have been help over there. It wasn’t just Nate. You’ve got a post safety that has to get over there and help. He could have been sacked in the back field for a loss. No, it’s not just Nate. But it’s primarily Nate because Nate’s supposed to be on top of that thing. There are certain teams that we play against where if they have a receiver that you say, ‘We need to double cover this guy.’ But if you turn on the tape, and you look at Terrell Owens, there are a number of teams that put a db [defensive back] down there, they get his hands on him and he can’t get off the jam. If that’s the situation, why in the heck would I double team a guy every time when you can put one guy down there and put your hands on him, and you stop him. You knock his timing off. It didn’t happen a lot yesterday. What happened sometimes is what Dallas has begun to do is move T.O. inside where he can get off the ball, and you don’t get a chance to get your hands on him as much rather than moving him outside. That’s one of the things that they began to do. But understand as we look at it, trust me, it’s not just the scheme. The scheme is designed to work a certain way, but everybody has to do their job. So on the two or three big plays that he made, everybody has to do their job and they did not. But it’s not the scheme.”
RE: Was he supposed to have been jammed at the line on those big plays and was not? Is that what you are saying?
“One of them. One of them he was supposed to be jammed coming up the field. One guy just kind of reached out and rather than knocking the snot out of him, he just reached out and kind of touched him and he ran up the field and Mark Roman was chasing after that. Mark Roman saw him a little bit late. Mark was supposed to be on top of that. Was not, but yes he was supposed to be jammed on that play. The jam, the one with Nate Clements, that was just Cover 3. Nate just has to be on top of that. I feel that when you are playing football, you’ve got to play the game and if you have a guy out there that you feel in certain situations, there are certain downs and distances that some guys appear more than others, then you have to make sure that you plan for that, but I thought we had a heck of a plan going into the game. I still think it was a great plan, but you have to execute it. It’s as simple as that.”
RE: When you say it wasn’t just Nate [Clements] in this case, I was just wondering, a lot of it was Nate o n T.O. [Terrell Owens]. Was it a mismatch with a guy so much bigger than Nate? Was it just a mismatch that you got stuck with?
“I think I explained this yesterday. No, it wasn’t a mismatch. I think Nate Clements can cover T.O. If we just said, ‘Nate Clements go over there and get on the line of scrimmage and do not let him off the line of scrimmage,’ I would say nine times out of ten, Nate Clements would go over there and do that. That’s not the way we play defense. That’s not the way we played it this way because they have so many other guys that can hurt you. They’ve got a No. 82, they’ve got a No. 24, they’ve got a No. 84, they’ve got a No. 11. So T.O. was a guy, that we thought, you know what, we need to do this against. The ball that he got up field when you talk about mismatches, the ball that he caught up field, should have been on top of it and it’s as simple as that and when you play defense, there are times that you want to change it up. There are things that you are doing, but to put somebody over there on T.O, where you have five other guys that can kill you over here. I don’t know how wise that is.”
- Mac Engel