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Wade Phillips press conference 9/24/08

Summary of Wade Phillips' press conference today.

Sam Hurd and Anthony Spencer practiced today.

This is a big game in the NFC East, I feel it's the strongest division right now so it is an important game for us.

Pat Watkins did well in the game, he didn't play a lot because they didn't run a lot of two-back offense, we had him playing on those. He didn't play on the sub-packages, just the regular defense, but he played well. Roy Williams wouldn't have been in on those same situations either. Pat was limited in the number of plays because of personnel. He played all of the special teams and played well. He had his packages and did his job. Right now, Courtney Brown played on the sub-packages. Some of it is just matchups. We'll move them around to fit the matchups.

Santana Moss is a top receiver, he had good games against us last year, and previous years. He's a top receiver, you have to be aware where he is and double him when we can. It is a West Coast offense now. Jason Campell's thrown no INT's and he's done a good job of melding in, it's more of the Bill Walsh-type offense, similar to up in Seattle. A short passing game with a good running attack. Clinton Portis is an excellent back, they still have that threat. They have a controlled passing game that's been efficient. It's not all short passes, the scheme is a five-step drop, but he can hitch a step and throw it long. Jerry Rice and John Taylor scored a lot of long TD's in this offense, too.

We don't want to give up big plays, that's part of playing defense. We have given up a few, I'm disappointed in that but we'll work on it. Passing yards per game is the worst stat there is to correlate to wins. There's no correlation how many yards you give up in the passing game to wins. Average per attempt, INT's, sacks, those are good correlations. The teams that don't throw a lot can win because they can run on you. But teams that are winning in a game will get more passes thrown against them because the other team is trying to catch up.

Washington's only been sacked 5 times this year, they have quick outlets, they'll release everybody in the pattern and the QB throws quickly. It's like a running play, catch the ball and make run yards after the catch. But they can run it, too. They have a good RB and a big-time WR and TE, they have a lot of weapons.

They lead in turnover margin because they don't turn it over on offense. Protecting the football is important, we need to get better in some areas of that. It's one game at a time. We turned it over 6 times against Buffalo and won but you can't get away with that often. The first three games we've got away with turnover margin, but there is a correlation between turnovers and winning.

Defenses have to be aware other players can make big plays on our team. Not only the stars but others are making plays. The more variation you get the harder to defend. If they try to double-cover the WR and TE, then the run game will get you, or one of the other receivers can get you deep.

In the last two games, those guys (Ware and Ellis) get worn down. Playing hard on every play like DeMarcus does can wear you down. You can't rush all the time, especially 19 times in a row. It will help them to get subbed by Anthony Spencer. Now, Ware has had two sacks at the end of games, which shows heart and determination, to get those sacks when he's gassed.

Good teams have a good left tackle and are able to throw because of the protection. Washington knows that they can because of Chris Samuels.

Sam Hurd can be used in different packages or we can put more wide receivers in the game on some plays. Terrell cramped up after the game. You can't ask them to run that hard every play, even the best physically conditioned guys, they need a break.

We blitzed Anthony Henry off the slot, the same as we did with Nate Jones last year. Henry is bigger, a more physical corner. Nate was a tough blitzer, but Henry is bigger and stronger. Depending on the protection is when you use it, if they're picking it up with a tackle, the you don't do that and you blitz in the middle. It depends on the protection. Sometimes we want to make them throw it hot and if the QB doesn't see it, you get a sack.

Part of using the different packages is knowing your players and part of it is having new players this year to use. It's a chess game to some extent, you have the rook and bishop doing different things. We'll utilize those. Part of it is resting guys and part of it is fitting guys in, and if they're good enough to play we need to come up with something to utilize their talents. It's a simple system, it fits in with the regular defense, we just have different people doing it. You can say it's a different package because of players or say its one whole concept just using different players. Last year it was different people but the same concept. We move around people in the same concept. Part of it is teaching it and getting players to execute it.

Jay Ratliff plays on sub packages too, that helps him get QB pressures, pressure from 4-man fronts and other things. But it's unique for a nose guard because they are not usually great pass rushers. He gets as much of a pass rush from the nose guard as any player I've had. He can beat a double-team for a sack, he's relentless. They put the center on him one-on-one and he got a sack, they fanned the protection out and left the center on him and he beat him easily. Teams have to worry about that.

Running backs can usually come in to the league and play quicker, WR's sometimes have trouble as rookies, some offensive linemen have trouble. But running backs can run or can't. It does take a while to learn protections, blocking the blitzes, but Felix Jones has done that well and he catches the ball well out of the backfield. We'll see him in the passing game fairly soon. When Julius was gone we lost a good RB, so we put a lot of stock in Felix to help us and he has.

Every team in this division seems to be a rival of the Cowboys. Maybe they're all rivals to each other. In this division any team that plays each other thinks it's a rivalry game. Usually it's only one team that's a rival, but it seems like all the teams are in this division.


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