Wade Phillips press conference 6/17/08

 

Wade: Mini-camp started today, it’s a culmination of our OTA’s for the past four weeks and some voluntary stuff for a month before that. We’re implementing everything into this mini-camp and we’ll back away from coaching a bit, just let them run the plays, see how they react. Only half a practice today because of weather, we’ll make up for some of it in this practice. We want to see what they’ve learned, see if it carries over, individual techniques, see it on the field. We’re seeing good things in OTA but want to see it in minicamp, with the coaches backing away and watching them play. Everybody is participating except for Ken Hamlin and Terry Glenn, Jerry and Stephen will handle that, and T.O. has a family matter that I excused him for.

T.O. situation?

He didn’t want to go into it, just a family matter, I’ll leave it at that. He will be excused for mini-camp. He found out what happened and asked yesterday to be excused. He’s participated in everything so far, it’s good for young guys, for other players get work. Him missing is no big deal, he’s a vet, he works hard. We wouldn’t have given him as many reps anyway.

Another season possibly without Glenn?

We did a lot of good things last year. We threw the ball well, we had a tremendous passing game last year. Our second receiver is our TE, he’s a tremendous TE and takes the  pressure off Terrell. The other guys I expect to step up, top get more receptions. Crayton is a big 3rd down guy, a plus and he will help as starter, but the young guys will need to step up.

Glenn still part of the team?

He’s still part of the team but they’ll (Jerry/Stephen) handle that.

Pacman?

He works hard, very competitive, extraordinary competitor, he wants to mix it up and make every play. I heard he was a good practice player, you look for a competitor in your DB’s, he doesn’t want anybody to catch the ball. The talent is there, but needs a lot of work on knowing what to do and how to do it, but you can see his natural ability. (Some of the WR’s say he might be over-aggressive?)  I don’t know if over-aggressive is a bad trait, it helps him make big plays. He’ll get better once he gets a feel. If you say sic ‘em, he will.

Jay Ratliff at DE?

He started out at end, but we put him at nose guard last year because we needed him. He played tremendously well at nose guard, but he is talented as an end. Tank coming in, some other good players at nose guard means we can put Jay back at end some. I said last year I think he is one of our best three guys up front, we want to utilize him at end. I don’t think it will be full-time right now because he played so well at nose guard, but he uses a different technique inside than Tank.

Tank Johnson?

He came in as an unknown, he’s learning what to do, Todd Grantham has been a big help, Tanks has perseverance and he’s very strong, he is a leader too, we didn’t know that before he got here. He’s a big positive and lets us move people around. We didn’t know much about him last year, his strengths and weaknesses cause we didn’t have him, I think our expectations are the same as his which are high.

Courtney Brown, Pat Watkins?

Similar to our young WR’s, the more reps they get the better they get. All our safeties are getting work. Hamlin is a vet who knows what to do, he probably knows better than anybody else back there so he’ll be fine. Hamlin is conscientious about what we’re doing, it’s been him calling in talking to Stewart and the coaches and the players, he finds out what were doing. But it’s similar to last year so he won’t be behind.

Is Pacman playing one side or can he play both corners?

Both sides of field, he can play both. It let’s us put Newman inside on slot where he’s real good. It’s a real strength to have that.

Are you happy with the production from your DE’s?

I think they’re getting better. I think we have a strong group overall, we’re really strong and young at DL. Happy with the way they work, when you get those guys that work they will get better. They need to keep stepping up.

Worried about the off-time for the players next month?

I worry about my kids all the time, and I worry about my players, too. But I have confidence in them. I think they’re good people. I don’t worry all the time about them doing something wrong.

Do you talk to them about things like Javon Walker in Vegas?

Actually we had an NFL security meeting this morning and it was good timing. They talked about personal safety and the way the NFL wants them to act. It came at good time to reinforce, just a reminder. The league has a good film about it.

Romo’s production dropped in December last year?

He only played half a game in the last game, if you use stats you can use them anyway you want. I thought he played well throughout the season. Philly played really well against us, they were a good team at the end of year. Part of it too was T.O. was hurt. Then you only have Witten as the star receiver. I’m not making excuses, I thought he played well.

Isaiah Stanback?

He’s probably where Miles and Hurd were last year. Hard to gauge how fast he’ll come along. He’s learned a lot, the OTAs and offeseaon stuff has helped him. We’ll see. He makes some plays, shows flashes and you say wow, then the next play he won’t run a route correctly.

If T.O. gets hurt again you’re in the same situation as last year?

Hurd and Austin have looked exceptionally well, even though it’s just OTA’s, you can tell about skill positions. They’ve come on and improved a lot. We have a real good group of corners now and these guys catch balls on them. Those two guys have come on. In the passing game I’m comfortable but we want to improve. A lot of it is individual improvement. We’ve gone over specific things they need to better. We’re optimistic. Some of it is technical stuff, route running, releases, but some is confidence. Austin has got more confident and that made him better. He feels like he can’t be covered and he needs to think like that.

Anthony Henry?

We moved him inside on our sub-package. He’s still playing right corner most of the time. We move him inside cover TE’s on 3rd down and passing situations, he’s done very well. He has to learn to play some zone in those situations too, we have to mix it up. It’s coming along. Man-to-man on TE’s, even Witten, he’s been a real plus. We feel we got more corners to replace him. (Could he be moved to FS?) He’s certainly big enough at 210 lbs., he’s athletic, but he’s a good corner, he’s played well there, we’ll keep him there as long as we can. We might look at it later, but we have Ken Hamlin and he’s pretty good.

Roy Willams?

All our guys have a good attitude. Roy’s doing well, Campo and Maxie have helped. Some of it is technique in coverage, he’s a tremendous run player, 2nd leading tackle last year, he plays that well. I’m going to have his back so I don’t know why anybody asks about it. If I say he’s a starter he’s a starter. I’ve noticed some attitude change. He’s more motivated and that’s good. The guy didn’t give up a single deep pass last year, that’s an improvement, he was in the Pro Bowl, voted in by fans, and the coaches and players. Yes he is a starter.

Pressure on team to win this year?

There’s always pressure, it comes from within. Last year we had high expectations with 6 pro bowlers, but we had a new HC, OC, and DC, but when you win expectations go higher. We’re disappointed we didn’t go further. It’s a new year, we’re tying to be this year’s champions. We put pressure on ourselves.

Subs on the offensive line and why move James Marten inside?

Marten plays both inside and outside, we wanted to get a full line, all of them to get work. All three (Marten, Free and McQ) are doing better. Hudson Houck been a real plus, I’m encouraged with them. It’s hard to evaluate line play in OTA’s except for technique, their footwork and hand placement are getting better. Some of the protections have changed with Houck.

Felix Jones’ role?

Marion Barber will have a bigger role like in the playoff game. He’s our 100-yard back we hope, he’s a good receiver and a good blocker, he could play every down. Felix we will utilize and Choice has a chance to play some, too. But we’re counting on Barber and see what Felix can add. (Monitor Barber to keep him fresh at the end of the game?) He’s fresh all the time. One of the strongest stamina guys I’ve been around. We’ll monitor it but he won’t have any problem.

(Disclaimer: These press conference recaps are just paraphrases of what Wade Phillips says and aren’t vetted for total accuracy on quotes. I shorten and condense things he says but try to get across the intended meaning. If you have questions about something from the press conference, feel free to ask in the comments.)

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