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Wade Phillips Press Conference: 12/22/08

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Summary of Wade Phillips' press conference today.

We're excited to be where we are, we had a Christmas party last night and the players are excited, that's why you play all16 games, to have an opportunity for the playoffs. When we were 5-4 I talked to Tony Romo about the Tampa Bay win and thought that was a big one, we had to go 6-1 or 7-0, or go 5-2 and beat the teams in our division, Washington was a must win, the Giants were a must win and this Philly game is a must win. It's a tough task, they're a good team with a good defense. I thought we came on against Baltimore on offense at the end and started moving the ball, but Philly is third in defense. We need one more to get there.

It's the same on injuries, we'll know more tomorrow, we'll practice tomorrow, we get an extra-day, we'll see. Some concern with Jason Witten, he's a trooper, made some fantastic plays in the game, it's more his ankle this time, he's hobbled but I think he'll be ready for the game. Marion Barber couldn't really go all out, we put him in and could've used him if Tashard Choice got tired but Choice had another good game. He's had 4 runs over 20 yards against these defenses, I looked it up and Brian Westbrook has only 3 runs that long all season. But we're hoping Marion will be healthy.

Much more Wade after the jump.

(Has Choice exceeded expectations?) Anytime you're drafted later on, you're a rookie and look like the third back, you don't have high expectations, but he's played well against good teams. He's gotten close to 100 yards against those team while not carrying the ball that much. We'll see where Marion is, he's been getting better and better but he's not 100%. We thought we would rest him in the game with Choice going well and hopefully be better this week.

(Did you think you might be out of the playoffs?) I thought all along some teams will get beat, it's usually 10 wins gets you in, in the NFC it's tough and our division is tough, but 10 or 11 wins was the mark when we were 5-4.

(What happened on the fake FG?)  - It was a tough play for us, we had enough people over there to make the play. On the previous kick we didn't cause we we're bunched in the middle and maybe they saw that and tried it, but we had the guys over there but didn't make the play.

(Are you concerned about your job if you don't make the playoffs?) I don't think about that, furthest thing from my mind (obviously irritated with the question). I'm not going to think about it. This is a gig game for us, team will try to play its best I think we can win.

(Why is the team inconsistent?) We've lost two games in this last stretch against good teams that will be in playoffs and had a chance to win and we won the others. We're not up and down, and we had a tough stretch when Tony didn't play.

(Why is the passing offense inconsistent?) We've played good teams that will make you inconsistent. In the fourth quarter we scored 17 point and made strides. Tony was sore in the game, but he loosened up as it went along, I think he'll be better physically this week.

(Were the picks thrown by Tony Romo reckless?) I think so, he would admit that.

(Problems getting Roy Williams involved?) Roy is open some but we're not going to him, or the read isn't there. We have to get comfortable throwing to him against a 5'9" CB, it might look like he's covered but we can throw it up to him. We need to get that feel. We try to utilize him, we certainly saw the best of him in the Tampa Bay game on the TD before halftime, he can make plays, just utilize him.

(What's your confidence level with Jason Garrett?) I have complete confidence in him (irritated with the question), he does a wonderful job of implementing things, good job on in-game adjustments, he's open to whatever. We talk about things in the week, I look at the other team's defense and say this or that. He's an outstanding coach and is doing a good job.

(Do you need to get the team up for the game after the loss?) I think the team's excited, I talked to a lot of them last night and they are excited, they're already there. This is what we work for, it's a long hard season and now it's a one game season now.

(Are you surprised going form the #1 seed last year to fighting for the #6 seed this year?) Green Bay was 13-3 last year, there are no guarantees in this league even with the same team. Seattle too, they've been going to the playoffs the last 4 or 5 years and they've won nothing this year, there are no guarantees in this league.

(Worried about carry-over from the game?) We didn't play well enough early on offense and not well enough defensively on the last two plays. I don't worry about carry-over. They barley averaged 3 yards a carry until the end. I've never seen anything like those two plays before and I hope to never see it again. (What happened on those two plays?) The second one we had a mental mistake and we missed tackles on both, one missed tackle at a five-yard gain and one in the backfield on the other. It was an all-out defense but we've played that defense well throughout the season, we probably haven't let up more than 2 yards average with it. It was amazing that it happened. Most of it was missed tackles. One mental mistake when a guy followed a guy in motion or he would have been in the hole. But we had two guys who had a shot in the backfield on the second one.

(Ken Hamlin took a lot of the blame himself for the loss?) He played well except for the last two plays, he just didn't make the tackles but it was not a lack of effort.

We'll work on specific things tomorrow that we think will make a difference in this game, then practice regular the rest of the week. We'll hone in on special things against Philly tomorrow.

(How has the team changed since the first meeting with Philly?) We're a lot better defensively than in that second game, and obviously the RB situation has changed. But I think it's the defense that has mainly changed.

(How did Pacman play in the game?) He did a good job, he played well in sub-packages, on one kickoff return he showed what he could do and on the one punt return. I still think on punts he will do something for us, also maybe on kickoffs. (Why did you stick with Miles Austin on kickoffs?) Miles has been consistent the last two games, getting the ball out over the 30-yard line. The last kick we thought they might squib it so we put Pac up closer and he got it and showed what he could do.

(Offensive struggles?) It's more the teams we're playing, really good defensive teams. I think the last quarter we got the feel for how to play against them and I hope it carries over. They're just tough teams, good defensively. The Redskins are fourth on defense and the other two are first and second, the Giants are up there, too. Philly, the Giants and us are the only teams in the top 10 on offense and defense.

Montrae Holland is not much healthier, a little better, but I don't know if he'll be ready this week.