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Wade Phillips press conference 10/22/07

Wade: Romo has a slight strain of the hamstring, wasn’t a bruise, we expect him to be fine. Hoyte will be cleared to play the next game. Henry is recovering, we’ll see how it goes. Justin Rogers has a calf contusion, he maybe out for a while.

Important win for us, good to go into a bye with a win six wins, I’m glad we are where we are and we’ll continue from there. Work this week on Weds. and Thurs., regular practices, and we’ll work on specific things that need improvement. Always try to improve, overall we need to improve on some things. Then some time to relax for the players and coaches and get back to it next Monday.

Big picture is we are a good team, six wins, our defense is 7th, offense is at the top, special teams played well in this game, the arrow is pointing up for them. But we have things to work on. Kickoff return must get better.

Returning players make the team even better?

Starts with personnel, better players, it was important to get Ellis back, he had two sacks in this game. Their QB had been sacked one out of every 40 or 60 plays, and we got him three times. Last week the guy had been sacked three times all year and we got him three times. I’m encouraged by the pass rush. And we’re seeing more max-protect so we can cover better. (Are the players getting comfortable in the defense?) I think so. We’ve played who we played, but I thought Minnesota had a good defense and I thought ours was better. But they we were pretty good. Having personnel back will help us scheme better.

Anthony Henry? Terry Glenn?
Don’t know on either of those guys.

6-1 but still close competition in the NFC East?
We knew the division was tough, it’s got three winning teams. I don’t know how I fall into this but every time I get into a division they get better. This division had good teams in it, it will be a fight for the division and the conference.

Could the pass rush improve as you add new stuff?
We run different things, we have different groups, we put in our three linebacker defense and pressured them. We put in Ellis and Spencer and Ware in at the same time and hurried the QB. We hadn’t Ellis for a while. Once we get the players in we utilize the talent.

No-huddle to start the game?
I liked the result. I told them the hurry-up offense scored in 8 ½ minutes. (laughter) Tony did a good job using the audible at the line. We weren’t trying to keep them from subbing, but wanted to get a better look at the defense. We used it some after the first drive.

Did Tony learn patience from the Buffalo game?
Everybody is playing the Tampa 2 and you have to be patient. Tony did a good job on that.

TD on the opening drive?
I thought we were good enough to do that, some of it was happenstance before. We were scoring 30 points a game. We started practicing that way this week and mentally get into that at the start. It’s the players who are doing it, whether we score or don’t score.

Ellis’ return account for the improved pass rush?
A lot of it. They can’t turn the line always to DeMarcus’ side and you can’t block him one-on-one. Kind of like the receivers on offense, if T.O. is doubled we throw to Witten. They’re (Ware, Ellis) both good outside rushers and sometimes they doubled both.

MB3 vs. JJ as the starter?

Barber is 6-1, too. Julius made some plays in the passing game. Let’s don’t take away from what Barber did either, he outrushed the leading rusher in the league. We’re doing fine the way we are. You got to look at the overall picture, it helps us doing what we’re doing. We stick to a game plan (for how many touches each gets). It’s partly feel, partly it’s our plan of what we are trying to do with formations, with different plays, they run different plays. Julius has rushed for more than Barber some. Both pickup blitzes well, and both are good pass receivers, but certain routes, like screens, are for Julius.

Was the blocked FG all Canty or did Carpenter give him help?

Bobby gave Canty a shove, that’s legal. Canty has a knack for turning his body and getting through the line. He had been close in other games and earlier in that game. Colombo and Flo knocked their guys back and gave Canty a seam then he ran over the center. All of those guys get credit but it was mainly Canty’s effort. He’s a disruptive player. He’s missed a couple of sacks. He’s a good technique player.

Does Hatcher have a knack for big plays?
He’s at the right place at right time. He retuned the Ellis sack fumble last week and forced a fumble this week. We think he’s a good player. (Is he pushing Spears for playing time?) We got a good combination there. You don’t always see everything that happens.

What does it take for you to actually change starters?

I try to look at the big picture. Some of it is chemistry within the team, it’s a lot of different things. If you’re winning it’s hard to change, when you lose there is always blame to pass around. If we’re not losing then maybe the guys are doing a good enough job.

JJ mentioned a problem getting his rhythm with fewer carries. Have you talked to him about that?

Not really. I think if it was a problem they can always come to me to talk. It goes through the position coach, the coordinator then to the head coach. I don’t see a problem. We try to get the ball to our best players and JJ is one of them. We also said that about Terrell, Witten, and Marion, too.

Deon Anderson?

Scrappy player, plays on special teams, played well this week. He gets after his guy, he made a key block on a bug run and has made receptions out of the backfield. We weren’t sure a young player could do that. (Can you take both him and Hoyte to games?) We’ll get both of them on the active roster even though it’s tough with just 45 on game day. But Hoyte plays special teams also.

(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. Occasionally, what I post loses the context of something Wade said and may appear counter-intuitive. If you have questions about something from the press conference, feel free to ask in the comments.)

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