In part one of What They're Saying, we'll check on what the players and coaches had to say about the Dallas Cowboys and their actual play on the field. The Cowboys shocked the Giants 33-20, and there was plenty of praise to go around. None more deserving than Dez Bryant, a rookie who has shined all year., Even during the dark times pre-Garrett (ha, a win can sure change the air, huh?), Bryant was showing that the Cowboys have a budding star on their hands. His circus catch for a touchdown was a thing of beauty. His ability to position his body and out-leap a defender is phenomenal, his Velcro hands complete the package. The catch he had that was overturned was spectacular. This guy is breathtaking even when his plays don't count. What says Dez?
Make the jump...
[On Jon Kitna]
"He trusts in in me, he believes in me. That's what he said coming into the locker room after the game. Basically, I feel like if you put it there, I'm going to get it."
[On the Cowboys]
"I just felt like today was our day," Bryant said. "The way we had been going in practice, our mindset was determined and I just felt like that's what we showed tonight."
Let's go elsewhere for opinion. Jon Kitna, your thoughts?
"He's just a different breed of player," Kitna said. "Sometimes you throw him the ball and he's covered, and you just kind of throw it out there because he's going to make a play, and consistently, he does it."
There we go. Jason Garrett?
"Dez has that kind of ability," interim coach Jason Garrett said. "He's a very natural football player. That's what we saw in him coming out and he demonstrated that over the course of the first nine games. He has a long ways to go as a player; he has to refine a lot of different things. But, he has some ability to make some little plays and certainly some big plays as well."
All hail Dez.
The Cowboys run defense has been a disaster. Going into the rematch with the Giants, you would be excused for having visions of Wile E. Coyote getting run over by a train when thinking of what Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs did to us a few weeks ago. On Sunday, Bradshaw proved he's a good back, because he had to work extra-hard just to get the yardage he did. The Cowboys defense was disrupting plays on a regular basis, and while their tackling wasn't perfect, it was improved. They got the job done.
"We got back to our old days of stopping the run," linebacker Bradie James said. "That's one thing that I'm proud of."
James also had a huge stop on Brandon Jacobs on a crucial 4th and 1 play.
The Cowboys could have folded when they lost Terence Newman (who later returned) and Mike Jenkins (who did not return and will have a MRI on his neck) to injury. But, to everybody's surprise, they didn't. In fact, not only did they not fold, they made plays. Bryan McCann was forced into action at corner, and boy did he ever respond. When he had a chance to make a big play, he didn't fail. 101-yards later, touchdown.
"I just knew that nobody would catch me," said McCann, the SMU product who displayed the speed that won him Oklahoma's Class 6A 100-meter title in high school. "It felt real good, especially in a game like this. I definitely want to keep working and keep playing."
And about those injuries, no excuses from now on from the team.
"Everybody's hurt in this league, so when guys go out, other guys have to step in," [Bradie] James said. "What are we going to do, cry wolf? Nobody cares about the pain. They just want to see the baby."
I guess Bradie did learn something from Bill Parcells, the perfect witticism for the situation. Alan Ball wasn't playing because of someone's injury, but because he's the starter. He finally made a play to quiet the critics, at least for one week.
[On the game-sealing INT]
"We were in one of our base coverages," Ball said. "Orlando did a great job in front, getting his hands on the receiver and just kind of pushing him to me so I could see his route a little better, and so it was one of those things where he threw the ball and I just broke on the ball."
This week, it wasn't the Cowboys who made the crucial turnover, it was the Giants. This didn't go unnoticed by New York coach Tom Coughlin.
"You can see their number-one objective was to stay away from turnovers,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "They did have a little bit different of a plan, and they did a nice job of staying away from the turnovers.'