|Cowboys Player Quotes|
DeMarco Murray will probably find himself atop the running backs leaderboard after Week 2, but Murray downplayed his performance:
"We had a good day running the ball, but we definitely left some yards out there," Murray said. "We’ve got to get better on a few things, we’ll watch film and review it. It was a good victory for us, but we’ve got to clean it up a little bit."
The Cowboys rushed for 220 yards on Sunday, of which 167 (on 29 carries) belonged to Murray, the third-highest total of his career. Numbers that leave Murray unimpressed.
"Like I said before, I’m not worried about those stats, I’m just worried about wins and losses," he said.
Murray may not be willing to engage in any hyperbole about himself, but that's what his teammates are for.
"DeMarco is turning straight beast mode, man, straight beast mode. I know he’s going to keep doing that," Dez Bryant said. "When he runs the ball like that, all the running backs, it just makes our jobs that much easier."
And it also makes the role of the defense much easier, as Rolando McClain explains
"220 yards rushing for our offense, you can’t ask for a better game. For our defense, we got time to sit on the sideline and go over checks and just stay fresh and be prepared to go back on the field. I mean that played a tremendous part in us just staying fresh and being able to make plays. You have to give a hats off to our offensive line and DeMarco (Murray) for the way they ran the ball."
Rolando McClain has now been the Cowboys' best defensive player for two weeks running, and may be the difference-maker this defense needed.
"A heck of a difference," Barry Church said. "I tried to tell people in the offseason that. This guy’s balling right now. He’s able to just control that whole middle, take a lot of the tackles off of me and J.J. (Wilcox) back there, and we’re able to just play the ball. We’re able to just play coverage like safeties should. Him out there is just immense in helping us and making our job a lot easier."
Even the guys on offense are taking notice of McClain.
"Man, he brought that passion, that excitement," Dez Bryant said. "He wants to execute. He wants to dominate. That's exactly what we need. As long as he keeps bringing that, them guys are going to fall in behind him. You're going to continue to keep seeing that kind of performance from that defense."
And it all started when Jerry Jones made an off-season phone call to McClain, prompting McClain to come out of retirement.
"I’m thrilled he did give me a call," McClain said Sunday. "There weren’t many teams that I would have left the couch for, and this is one of them, and I’m glad that he did."
"I didn’t deserve to play football, so to say," McClain said of retirement. "I wasn’t all the way there in the game. So you ain’t going to be the best if you ain’t focused on the job, so I needed to take time to do what was important, get myself right, and I got that right and now I’m in a great organization, got some great teammates and just happy to play football again."
Tony Romo was happy to take the backseat for the afternoon.
"Honestly, 53 complementary players is ideal,’’ Romo said. "That’s what you want on your football team. You want to be able to rely on each other and consistently as situations come up be able to lean on each other.
"There will be games where I’ve got to play at a high level for us to win and there will be games where we’ll have the opportunity to do what we did and run the ball and do things. You’ve got a back like DeMarco Murray and a line that can pound in the running game, it gives you a chance.
"I like the way our team is heading.’’
But Romo isn't just excited about the win.
"Listen, I’m telling you guys, the reason I’m excited is because of the way I’m throwing the football," Romo said. "Physically just like piercing it when I want to. I can throw it better than I ever have. The rest of it is part of the game and footwork and your hips. Did you find the guy at the right time? Or are you working here and throwing it over there so it’s like you don’t get anything on it?"
This may run counter to what you think you saw during the game, and even Jerry Jones initially thought some of Romo's throws " looked like they needed a little more energy," but after the game, Romo walked the media through each of his bad throws and explained on each one what happened and why. Todd Archer has three of those examples in the linked article, and they are worth a read.
"I think I’m going to make it," Romo said. "I’m getting stronger every week. It’s a positive. It’s been good this last month."
Jason Witten sounds positively exuberant about the way in which the Cowboys got the win.
"I think that’s why we all have a smile on our face," tight end Jason Witten said. "Not just because we got a win. We needed a win. But the way we did it."
"You talk about being physical in the way you play, but to go and do it is another thing. Our team did that, both offensively and defensively."
Witten also reflected on Tony Romo's (relative) lack of involvement in the offense, the upside of which is that the Cowboys now have options where in previous years they didn't.
"He would love to have bounced back and have a huge game in the passing game to shut everyone up," Witten said. "But I think honestly, he’s been at it long enough, we’ve been at it long enough, you understand what it takes to win games and you just do it.
"I think that’s a compliment to your football team when your star quarterback can be a secondary option."
Sterling Moore recorded five tackles (one for a loss), a forced fumble and two pass breakups, numbers that are usually associated with a safety more than a corner. Interestingly, while Moore is the nominal replacement for Orlando Scandrick as the nickel corner, he also played some snaps outside in place of Morris Claiborne on running downs.
"They kind of joke with me that I’m our biggest corner as far as in the weight room and all that stuff, so I kind of have to live up to that when I get on the field," Moore said. "I definitely pride myself in being the most physical corner that we have."
Claiborne's tackling has been an issue on occasion, and may have been the reason for Delanie Walker's long TD, so having Moore in for Claiborne on "tackling" downs is not a vote of confidence for Claiborne from the coaches.
The D-line did not put up big numbers on the stat sheet, but got a lot of pressure on Jake Locker, especially in the first half.
"Our D-line stepped up," Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox said. "They did a great job of keeping Locker from getting his composure. He had to run around in the pocket. No quarterback wants to do that."
Does this remind you of Goldilocks and The Three Bears?
"We were able to impose our will," safety Barry Church proclaimed.
"We didn’t budge," defensive end Jeremy Mincey said.
"We came out with a sense of purpose," cornerback Morris Claiborne declared.
|Cowboys Coaches & Executives|
Scott Linehan, the Cowboys' passing game coordinator (with a keen eye for the ground game), is focused on the confidence-building aspect of being able to run the ball seemingly at will.
"We needed a game like that," said Linehan. "We needed to show ourselves No. 1 that we could do it — we knew we could — but to see them rattle off runs like that regardless of what the defensive look was, that was a huge plus for us.’’
Linehan also had some words of encouragement for Dez Bryant, who found himself double-teamed early and often in the game.
"Obviously when a guy gets double bites on the first play of the game and his last third down, I told him that’s the ultimate respect," Linehan said. "I’ve seen two receivers get that look. I’ve seen Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant, so that means people know he’s the guy that’s going to be the primary target."
The always verbose Jerry Jones was particularly impressed with Rolando McClain, who led the Cowboys with seven tackles and added a sack, tackle for loss, quarterback hit and pass breakup.
"He just wants to come in and be a part of the team, but I'm going to tell you something: He's a natural-born football player," Jones said. "He's mean. He's interested in a good way on the football field, and he's really making a difference out there on our defense."
Jones also partly echoed a popular sentiment about Romo's arm strength, but was quick to discount the notion that anything is still wrong with Romo.
"We all saw a couple of passes that looked like they needed a little more energy," Jones said. "But then I saw him throw on a key third-down situation, I saw him zip that ball out there to Cole Beasley. If you can see that, by the way, in the fourth quarter after a lot of snaps, you can count on it being there."
Jason Garrett used some unusually colorful adjectives to decribe Murray's afternoon.
"I thought he played a fantastic football game -- downhill the whole game," Garrett said of Murray. "When you're on the sidelines and plays come to you and you see the collisions and him delivering those blows on those guys. It was physical, it was strong and he was really purposeful on how he ran."
"I think we're stronger than we've been in the offensive line," Garrett continued, "and that's very intentional that we've done that and it allows you to play like this -- go on the road against a good football team and do the things you need to do throughout the ballgame."