Romo's performance? Romo was moving prematurely in the pocket, looked a little spooked. He threw the INT which was a bad choice, he was thinking one thing but he got another. I thought he got himself under control in the 2nd half, had some clutch throws on the last TD drive, and had a great throw to Jason to get the FG set up.
Why does he play better as the game moves on? After you play in a game for a little bit you have a better idea of what's going on. Now that one to Patrick on the sideline was too close for comfort, but he got away with it. Overall, he has a good sense of what's going on. That was a good to get us back with a minute to go, he did well there.
Romo said he saw Wilson on the throw to Crayton, but threw it anyway? I'm sure that he saw Wilson if he says he did but he cut it too close. Fortunately, it worked out.
What about the defense? The Giants' big plays were a sweep to Barber and the screen pass to Jacobs, they were well-executed plays. Keith Davis missed Barber on the sweep and knocked Bradie off the tackle. On the screen, not everybody recognized it, Spears got caught inside. But when Jacobs' is going downhill its tough, we missed some tackles. Those were the two big plays. Barber also caught the checkdown late in the game and we had 4 or 5 guys miss tackles.
We were fair on defense in the redzone, we held them to FG's a couple of times, but we got work to do. When you win, you need to discipline yourself, just because you won you can't brush off things that went wrong, and when you lose you can't over-criticize. I thought the OLB's played well, and Ayodele played extremely well. From the DE's I need more, I'm getting a little impatient, and they need to do better. They're capable. We might have to change the rotation. I'm talking about Spears and Canty. Kenyon Coleman played some more this game, he hustles out there. I'm hoping Marcus and Chris can get it going. Chris was better than Marcus, we need more out of him, he's capable.
What do you mean change the rotation? I might put someone else in there to start, if this keeps up, it will change. Maybe Hatcher. I'm not threatening jobs here, we just need improved play. We got guys around them playing well. They're not converting to the pass rush quickly enough on first down. This team we play this week can pass the ball.
What areas is Spears deficient in? When he wants to play he doesn't have any trouble, when he's not on top of his game, he has trouble with everything. I'm not getting on Spears here, we just need better play.
Canty said he's having trouble getting low because he's so tall? Is that what he said? I don't think that is the problem, Too Tall didn't have any trouble.
Thoughts on Barber? Barber is a good inside runner, he's aggressive with the ball, he has a nose for goal line, he's making a difference for us.
Will he get more time? They split plays 31 to 29 plays. That's the way it worked out, there is nothing set, I want them both playing. Julius had 31 plays and Barber had 29. We'll go with the way it is, I'm happy with results.
Romo's impact on the team over the last six games? Romo's had a big impact on the team. I talked to him today, he needs to get two hands on the ball or else he'll get stripped. There are things he has to get the feel for, and some of those go against his instincts, once he gets moving with the ball, it goes into one hand. That's not a good idea. That's the fundamentals of playing the position; I want him to not be as loose with the ball. No complaints though, he's preparing hard for the games, he has his head in the game, and he plays with confidence.
How has he changed the offense? It's hard to put finger on it, the ball gets out quicker, and he's more active. That helps to create opportunities, that's it basically.
More on Romo: He was a little spooky early in the game, he was bailing out a little quick. That's a tough environment to play in, they tried to get at him early. Overall, he's had a positive impact.
Have you talked to the team about playing down the stretch? I spoke with them today about things I thought championship teams do. I had just finished running them, so they were stepping on their tongues, so I'm not sure I had 100% of the audience at that point. I'll reiterate it on Wednesday. I'll call attention to things that are important.
Previous year's in Dallas you haven't had much luck down the stretch? I'm not worried about last year. Sometimes the situation won't let you accomplish what you want, but there are no excuses, this year may be better. The next two teams we play present a unique set of problems. We're not overly familiar with either team. New Orleans has changed their dynamics since we played them in preseason. A lot of preparation is needed this week. Bush is the leading receiver in league (in receptions), and they have three other guys that have been productive. Their QB is playing well.
What things did you tell the team that championship teams do? You need to get that from the players. It was just some things about how your mindset should be, how you go about doing things. I liked to know what they heard, see how screwed up it comes back out. Ask them and then let me know.
You seemed very happy with the win? The coach is charged with getting the team ready to play. Once you win, when you get that sense, that's what stimulates you the most. You're not disinterested or delinquent on your job (when losing), but your enthusiasm and attitude toward work is a lot better when you have something in front of you that your competing for. I was very happy we won. But I had just seen my daughter and was getting on the bus in the parking lot, and I'm already thinking about this week, the schedule we need, then we got Atlanta on a short week, that's what goes through my head. You don't get much sleep because you get home late, then you look at film at 6 in the morning. Not a good day to be rational.
Sean Payton? Payton has done a remarkable job. We talked right after he got the job and he took what he took form here, and I'm happy to be a part of that. To his credit, he's got that thing organized down there, the players are in tune with what he wants, and his QB is playing well. That's a big item to get in place, he inherited some good things, some good talent, and he supplemented that and they are going well.
What about playing against coaches you know, who worked for you? There are a lot of them around so I feel fortunate. I don't want to see Tom [Coughlin] upset, especially since I have a high personal regard for him, but that's the competition in this business.
I look at it as the next game, I try to keep the personal out of it, for the last 15 years I've tried to do that. You know 3 guys on that staff [Giants] worked for me for 10-12 years, they are part of my success, I owe them a big gratitude.
Chris Palmer and Tony Romo's working relationship? Chris is demanding with QB's, he's not tolerant, he's an on the spot "corrector". He hollered down to me on the phone after 8 plays in yesterday's game and said, "This guy [Romo] is off the reservation tonight." We all go through those things with players, but Tony can communicate with him. Palmer tries to keep the communication during the game to the low denominators, inform him of what he's seeing or trying to confirm stuff. He's done a good job.
Chris can do the job, he did a good job for me in New England, I knew what I was getting. I was worried about him being beaten down, a lot of times coaches that have had tough luck, they're like a fighter that gets knocked out. I always tell him "You're glass is always half empty", I tease him about that, but he argues back and I like that.
On Gramatica's kick under pressure: That job is difficult, you got to stand around and then go make a play. The only thing I can equate it to is a guy who is exclusively a pinch hitter. You just watch the game but you have to go in when they need production. I'm glad Martin had a good night, he hit 3 balls solidly. The last kick was not easy under pressure, but he nailed it.
I though he kicked well in practice, but he missed some in warm-ups. I talked to Bruce deHaven about his range, the wind wasn't that bad. You do factor it in, in the 2nd half we started kicking into the wind so we would have it with us in the 4th quarter.
Was cutting Vanderjagt and signing Gramatica a gamble? You do what you thinks right, what needs to be done. You guys are like hawks on a perch waiting for something bad to happen. I don't consider it a gamble, it needed to be done. I wasn't sure what I was going to get, but last night it was successful. I had made up my mind range-wise, when we got there were going to kick it. With Mike I would have been more apprehensive, but that's nothing against Mike. It wasn't like I just watched 2 kicks, he had consistent struggles this year, and I though we needed to change it. Again, nothing against Mike, he had a great career.
Where is this team in confidence and demonstrated ability? I'm not as concerned about that as I was earlier in the year. They have answered the challenges. We we're down 7 points but they responded, every time they got close or tied the game, we responded. The Giants are a good team, they've had injuries but they got some people back. They're capable. Losing Amani was a big loss for them; he's a veteran clutch performer. You can do some things differently when he's in there, but it didn't help us as much because they hurt us with other people.
I consider this a young team, I always want to see the maturity level and their approach to the game. Are they not paying attention? This team seems to have been paying attention. They took a good punch in Washington and responded. They had a big challenge with the Colts, and they responded well, the next week was a short week and they responded well. This time we had extra time to prepare and they responded. I haven't been beating them up too much in practice. I told my coaches I thought the defensive line might have forgotten some fundamentals. But then a guy like Ayodele, who is basically in that same group, is playing better, so it's kind of a dilemma.
Assess your running game? We have good balance and we got guys who can block. We haven't been dominated physically. Hoyte at FB has helped us, but he wasn't that great last night. He hits the backstop once in a while
MB3 at FB and JJ at TB in the same formation? We use to run that play with Richie Anderson, I thought MB3 maybe could run it better. He's earned it, he's versatile, he can catch, block, run, he doesn't complain, he's quiet but very competitive, he's having fun playing. He enjoys the game. I'm leaving it like it is, I don't think you can play with just one back.
Miles Austin is doing alright, he's got good speed, a 215-pound guy, he's not small, he's got thick legs and good speed, He's a little goofy, I don't know what he'll do all the time. He's an intense player, but he's green, the more he plays the better he gets.
He's making progress as a WR, he has very good ability. If he played at a bigger school, a passing school somewhere in college, he would be a more polished guy.
What about Owens' drops? The first one was a tough catch, the ball was low, but I though the second one he should've had.
Do you think about positioning in the playoffs? I try to stay with first things first. I am wondering about positioning now, but to me that means winning the division. There's lots of football left here, we got some problems on the horizon. I'll let you know what's going on two weeks from today.