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Wade Phillips press conference 12/10/07

Ed. note – Wade was talking real fast today, which is normally not the case. As it was, my feeble typing skills were unable to keep up so this recap is missing some of the facts and figures he rattled off.

Wade: Excited about being NFC East champs. A lot of opportunities for this team by winning the division, proud of the 12-1 record, surpassing best record in Cowboys history, the 11-1 team and the 10-1 team. Our next goal is to win the next game and have a bye. Looking at the season as a whole, we’ve done a lot of great things, looking at the last game, defensively, we started out really poorly, that was my fault. They were predominately a 3-wide team that would throw it, they haven’t had the FB active and didn’t use 2 TE sets and use the FB. I thought we adjusted well after that. It looked like they ran over us but they didn’t (he gave some stats about after the first drive). But the defense is 12-1. I’m proud of our special teams. We gained 75 yards in field position retuning kicks and our kick coverage. That 75 yards equals a TD. Looking forward to Philly now, looked at the tape today.

Character of the team?
That’s the key thing. We’ve been behind before, 9 times, and come back and won. It shows character, the heart, the belief in each other. Different guys do it every week. We have a main set of guys that come through, the quote star players, but a lot of guys make plays that make a difference.

Does playing and winning these late, close situations, help the team confidence?
Anytime you do that, as long as you keep believing and rely on each other, it helps your confidence. Attitude and confidence are important. Doing it 7 weeks in a row is important.

Did they run a different passing game that gave you trouble?
They did do things different. They didn’t do 3-wide as much. We didn’t do well on 3rd down, but they only got 6.4 yards per attempt, we’re not giving up big plays. The two plays that they did get big yards on were busts on our part, we need to clean that up. They ran a controlled passing game and that kept drives going.

Run game surprise you?
Surprised us a bit. Again, they haven’t had the FB active and haven’t run much 2-TE’s. Both those things I thought they might do, but I didn’t work our D enough on it. The Lions were ready to play and ran the ball well. We had guys free, one guy free on those plays but we overran it, a lot of things came in to play. It was my fault for not getting them ready. (Are you concerned?) I’m not concerned, they won’t be either when they look at tape. We had guys free, we ran to the blocker and didn’t get the tackle. It wasn’t like they were running over us. On the first drive we got a guy free and we couldn’t get them. Our guys will see it on tape, and we adjusted as they game went on.

Anthony Henry?
Well, we were rusty on both sides. Newman went back to the left-side and Henry back on his side. They ran double moves and then comebacks off those. They usually run those moves and go deep. They went max protect, and also completed the shorter passes. Look at the bulk of what we do,(lots of stats about the Dallas D this year) but in this game we didn’t have a lot of sacks, and no interceptions. Things we normally do we didn’t do well in the game.

Does anybody enjoy the 2-min drill more than Tony Romo?
I don’t know if he was enjoying it, but he enjoyed the results of both of them. He enjoys playing the game, he’s had a lot of success, it’s fun when you score TD's. Like I said, you define yourself in those situations.

Does your team make good adjustments on the fly?
We made good adjustments, but I don’t want to start that way. I’d rather have them prepared, we’ve seen those run plays run against us by other teams. Defense is recognition and we didn’t so that well.

Was max protect the reason the pass rush was not good?
Some. They did a good job, because of the run game, we had to commit 8-men to the front, that limited pass coverage. This team beat Denver 44-7 at home, they’re not a bad team, they are a playoff-caliber team, they scored 26 against GB at home. They have good players, but we won the game which is what’s important.

Crayton and Newman. Both played the game but we’re checking on them.

Who makes the decision on going for it on 4th down, you, Jason or both?
I make those decisions. We talk, its hard for the o-coordinator because he has to get ready for next play, I’m the guy thinking ahead in the big picture. In some cases I’ll say you have two downs, we’re going for it. When we got there at the one-yard, I told him. We have 4th down plays ready and he was ready. When we got to the one-yard line I thought it was worth it.

How much does Jason communicate to Tony on the 2-min drill?
You got until 15 seconds until they turn it off, so some of it is Jason and some is Tony. Some we rehearse in practice. Tony did an outstanding job, they were playing the Tampa-2 on that last drive so you got to go to the TE and RB. They were giving that up and you have to keep taking it. If you throw in the hole to the TE, then they have to come in and cover that and that leaves the back. We were just going back and forth.

Has playing the Tampa-2 before helped Romo?
He told me after the game the Buffalo experience was the best. That helped him the most, he tried to make the big play in that game and he learned from that. He executed real well.

How did you think Marc Colombo played on the ankle?
I thought overall our protection was good, we didn’t run the ball as much as I’d like. I think he was slowed some, but not ineffective. He did fine.

The Kyle Kosier recovery?
It’s not just Terrell, or Tony, the star players, it’s the other guys making plays. That was a heads up play, we got on him for not running for the first down. (laughter) That’s just fundamental football, just recovering the ball. Some guys try to pick it up, like their guy did, instead of securing the ball. It’s fundamental work to recover a fumble, on offense and defense, it’s part of coaching. Especially those big guys, if they just jump on it, it can squirt out. You teach them to jump to the side and cradle it.  Paul Pasqualoni does a drill when you put the ball under dummies so they can’t see it and they jump in and pull it out.

Was the 2-min drill like you practice every Friday?
We scored every Friday. We try to give them the look we’ll see in the game, some of it was similar to Friday because we played the Tampa-2 a lot. Tony threw to the same areas. We also learn to get out of bounds.

Tank Johnson?
I thought he played well, but Jay Ratliff played outstanding. He had three tackles for loss, harassed the QB, and was double-teamed a lot. Tank did well, the middle guys did well.

Do you expect to see more max protect?
That’s what we’ve seen in the past. When you have seven guys back and they only send out three, we got to cover them. We do need to match up better, we play zone but it needs to be a matchup zone. We’ll do better.

Did you get Anthony Spencer more time?
Didn’t get him in as much as I would have liked. He did well when he was in there; he beat the TE pretty clean once. But Ware and Ellis are good players. I’m glad we had him the first 5 games. He’s good enough to play, we just got to get him in there.

Were you glad they started to pooch kick?
I’m glad they did, I guess. But if Miles Austin can get by the kicker, he really would be something. I told him after the game they were going to put in all kickers on kickoff coverage in the future. (laughter) They had a big one against them last week and we almost got one this week. It helped us field position-wise. We got it at the 35, the 40 and the 45.

(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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