Cowboys @ Buccaneers: What Players & Coaches Are Saying (Defensive Edition)

Rob Ryan is proud of the defense - ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys played without Ware and Ratliff for much of the second half, but the defense still held the Buccaneers to only one scoring drive.

"I'm proud of them," Ryan said. "Guys did a great job. We played a more sound game, not too many mental mistakes. It was good. I thought we executed well and we played more zone than we have, especially in the second half after they kept hitting crossing routes. But the guys did good and we’re ready for the next challenge."

Cowboys rebound at expense of Bucs - The News Tribune
The defense especially has come under heavy scrutiny by fans and media alike, and a good outing by the defense is an obvious morale booster:

"I think it showed our character, our resolve, what we’re made of," Dallas linebacker Keith Brooking said. "It was obviously doom and gloom around Valley Ranch for the past couple of weeks – kind of the world was caving in on us. But we just kept fighting and kept plugging away, and we still control our own destiny."

Romo Sparks Cowboys to Big Win Over Buccaneers - NYTimes.com
Tony Romo had another stelar outing, but was happy to get some help from a stingy defense for the win.

"It was nice to go out there and play the way we did," Romo told reporters. "Offensively we did a really good job but boy our defense played outstanding ball."

Ryan happy with defensive performance but says Bucs 'not the Giants or the Eagles' - The Dallas Morning News
Rob Ryan was satisfied with the end results but also realizes the Bucs may not have been as big a challenge as the next two teams on the schedule.

"I thought we executed well," Ryan said. "Hey, the guys did good and played pretty much. I was happy to see us function without making mental mistakes. We were smarter tonight. And I think it helped us."

"They're not the Giants or the Eagles," Ryan said, mentioning the Cowboys' next two opponents. "But we're looking forward to that challenge. We're ready to get it right. Not many chances you get to do a mulligan. But here we go."

Cowboys defense has a solid night - Star Telegram
Dallas allowed only seven first downs and 190 total yards. The defense gave up only 8 points.

"I thought our defense played really, really well throughout the ball game," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "When you get into the second half, you get into more of managing, dealing with the clock as much as you're dealing with anything else. So, they were spreading us out, and they were able to complete the passes and move the ball a little bit more than they had been able to do in the first half. I thought they came out and played really lights out in the first half and then handled the situation in the second half really well."

The Cowboys led 28-0 at halftime, limiting the Buccaneers to 55 net yards and one first down.

"For you to do that in the NFL is tough against anybody," defensive end Marcus Spears said. "We were on tonight."

Win over Buccaneers gives Cowboys plenty of confidence to reach playoffs - CBSSports.com
Keith Brooking reacts to some of the criticism the Cowboys defense had to face last week:

"We obviously hear that. It's hard not to in that city. It's not about them. It's about what we do. We made a big step tonight. I think when you've slid that way two weeks in a row, you can go one way or another. You could have a lack of confidence or a lack of self-esteem. Morale is down. It's a game of being in the right mindset. It shows our character, our resolve, how persistent we are."

This was a game the Cowboys had to win.

"Coming off the two losses, you have to look at this as a win right here that we needed," Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. "But it's just a win. I've already forgotten about it."

Quiet night for Mike Jenkins a good thing - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas
Mike Jenkins played wearing a shoulder brace and was happy that he didn't get a lot of action.

"I didn’t really get action," said Jenkins, "I got one pass over there. Pretty easy day."

"I was catching them with one hand," said Jenkins, who is still favoring his injured right shoulder. "Just staying safe. If I don’t have to use it, I don’t want to use it. It’s still healing, but at the same time I’m just being smart with it and myself."

But Jenkins' left shoulder looked just fine:

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