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Wade Phillips press conference 12/17/07

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Wade: Andre Gurode did an MRI today we don’t know the exact results yet, he is walking around which is encouraging. Pat Watkins has a sprained ankle, regular sprain. he hurt it earlier in the year but not as bad as this time, still swelling so it may be a week or so. Terry Glenn looks like he’ll practice this week. He may practice, we’ll see. Chris Canty’s all right, fine. Anthony Fasano got dinged and we are being careful, we’ll see tomorrow, we’ll put him on the bike and see if he feels all right. We’ll be careful with a head injury. Romo’s thumb, I don’t know, but they think he’ll be all right.

As for the game itself, I’m not shocked but surprised, in areas that we’ve been prolific in, scoring, 3rd down, we didn’t so well. We had an opportunity to win, we missed opportunities, on tape we were behind them a lot in the secondary and we didn’t throw to those guys, we had an opportunity for big plays. We were 1-13 on 3rd down and the one we made was a running play and half of the 3rd downs were five yards or less. The same situations as we’re normally in but no excuse, we didn’t do well. In the 4th qtr we had a bad team effort, we got sacked 4 times, usually we wear people down, they were running the same things as the beginning of the game. Defensively in the 4th we quarter gave up a 29 yard pass and two 20 yard runs. Disappointed in the 4th quarter. We did get a bye and we earned that bye at 12-2, we earned the 12 victories. The next game the most important. Our guy took it the right way, we need to keep working, we are not invincible. Coaching-wise we may have not run the ball enough, we didn’t establish a running game. We had games before when things don’t start well and ended well but not this game.

Running game?
We’ve been a prolific passing team and it wasn’t because of the run game. Our 2-min offense had been good but at the end of this half we gave them an INT, they scored. I thought we’d be OK at winning 3-0 at halftime. We gave them a lot of momentum at 7-3.

4th quarter problems with the line?
Across the board. Cory Procter played 19 plays with 17 plusses. He didn’t cost us, on one twist he missed but they didn’t sack us.

Did the team ‘fall in love’ with the passing game?
We fell into ‘these things are open’ but we didn’t make the play. 2nd play of the game we had an 85 yard TD. That could have changed the whole game.

Tony Romo?
Just a little off, a lot of things that happen. One time we had two TE’s down the seams on play that we scored TD’s on and they ran into each other and fell down. It was not one thing. Philly is a good defense. We just weren’t on. Looking back the run game might have helped us. It was one of those games, we didn’t make the play. We didn’t get sacked until the 4th, it wasn’t the blitz that hurt us. It was the same blitzes but we didn’t take advantage.

Does losing Deon Anderson affect the running game?
Deon was in because Hoyte was out. Hoyte is our starter, not a big difference in FB.

Worried about the 3rd down offense?
Worried about it in this game. We had a lot of opportunities and they weren’t 3rd and 15 all the time. Surprising that some of the things we do well we didn’t do as well this ball game.

(Ed. note – I lost the connection briefly, it came back with Wade talking more about Romo.)

Romo?
Didn’t have the sharpest day and we didn’t help him. It’s not always one guy. There were things they ran last time that we didn’t execute against this time. They tipped a couple of balls, we had a chance to make plays. Whatever could go wrong did go wrong.

Do you think this loss is good for you?
I don’t know, I’d rather win. It puts your nose to the grindstone, it shows were not invincible, it takes everything you got to win in this league. We hadn’t lost in two months. We don’t want to lose again. You re-dedicate yourself to practice. You emphasize mistakes when you win, but when you lose sometimes they sink in.

Do you think Roy might get a suspension?
No, the league has warned him on helmet-to-helmet, but he didn’t hurt anybody. He’s got real strong hands, and players go to their strengths. The way it is now they take those jerseys in on the back, you can’t grab them. He needs to layout and wrap them up. He’s used to grabbing and hasn’t broken the habit. (Do you try to coach him on that?) No we don’t coach him at all we let him play the way he wants. (laughter) Yes, we coach him. He told me he's played that way since midget ball. It was not against the rules until a few years ago. If you don’t fall on his legs then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Bit it’s the rule and we need to abide by the rule. He passed it up a couple of times.

Greg Ellis didn’t have a great game?
He got a good hit on the QB in the 4th quarter, he had a couple of good rushes. McNabb got rid of it and he stepped up in the pocket well, he wasn’t sliding to his right like normal. Greg played pretty well.

Did Sheppard’s defense on T.O. cause problems for the offense?
He got beat for an 85-yard TD but we didn’t get it there. He played well, give him credit, but we didn’t make the plays.

Carolina had a great game against the Seahawks, concerned?
Carolina is playing well, playing well at home the last couple of games. Their defense is playing like they thought it would, shutting down Seattle, who has a good passing game is a concern.

Why did the defense play so much better this week?
Just the matchups in games, we just played better. Our punt team played well this week, we’re trying to be consistent. They averaged 4-yards a pass against the pass defense. We’re not giving up big plays in the passing game and we have a good pass rush. We need to make bigger plays on defense than we did, we dropped teo INT’s and caused fumbles but didn’t get them.

What happened on the INT in the endzone?
Romo came back to T.O. over the middle and he just missed him, it was in front of him. He was open, the safety just stood there and the ball came.

Was Romo trying to force balls to T.O.?
T.O. fell down on the last one, the other one just missed. On the 2nd play he just missed him, just didn’t connect.

Will you be cautious with Gurode’s injury and save him for the playoffs?
With any player, it’s important that they are ready for the playoffs, but if they can play we want them helping us. All the starters are important, we’ll see where he is.

What do you say to Romo after a game like this?
Dust yourself off and come back. It’s the whole team, we don’t like to lose and we’ll do what we need to do to win. It’s a downer but I got confidence in our guys. I think you’ll see a team with a lot of character. I think it will show in the last two games.

(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.)