The Washington Redskins (2-5) on Monday travel to Arlington, Texas, where they'll take on the Dallas Cowboys (6-1) in Week 8 action at AT&T Stadium.
On Thursday, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo spoke to the Washington, D.C., media via conference call about the upcoming matchup with the Redskins.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett:
On his thoughts on Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy:
"Well, obviously we think he is a good player. We evaluated him very closely coming out in the draft. He has had a couple different stops and certainly when he got his opportunity last week for the Redskins he played very, very well for them. So I have a lot of respect for him and we have to prepare for their entire offense, obviously, and he is a big part of it."
On if he is preparing for McCoy or Robert Griffin III:
"Well, I think you prepare for the whole offense and then what you try to do is you go back and watch their team play with each of them playing quarterback and see if there is a discernible difference between how they are calling the game or what schemes they are running and then you try to be ready for both. So, we will try to keep an eye on what they are doing throughout the week but we certainly have to be ready for both of them and just get ready to play our best football."
A look back at some of the top images in games between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys.
On how running back DeMarco Murray's productivity has helped quarterback Tony Romo:
"Oh, I think it's probably helped him immensely. Anytime you're able to run the football, that's the quarterback's best friend. So when you run it effectively, teams typically have to try to defend the run and put a lot of guys down around the line of scrimmage and the opportunity to work some favorable matchups outside, they're so much greater and you can really try to take advantage of that. We believe in trying to be a balanced offense – balanced between run and pass – and getting different people involved. Anytime you're able to do those kinds of things, I think it's easier on everybody, particularly the quarterback."
On if he is concerned about Murray getting worn out:
"Well, obviously he's a bell-cow runner for us, and we've had some games where we've been in what we call four-minute type situations where he's gotten a lot of carries right at the end of the ballgame. That's part of his job. We believe in the guys that we have behind him. Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar both are good players who have played well for us when they've been given opportunities. So we'll continue to try to cycle those guys through there. But DeMarco understands the workload necessary and he's certainly capable of handling it. At the same time, we want to make sure that we get the other guys a chance as well."
On defensive end Jason Hatcher:
"Looks like he's playing well. I think he's a good fit up there. Been productive, been active both in the run game and affecting the quarterback."
On the importance of neutralizing Hatcher's pass rush ability on Monday:
"It's important, obviously. They have good pass rushers there – individual guys. They have a good pass rush scheme. So that's certainly critical every week. When you watch the tape, they have some guys that can get home, so a big challenge for our guys up front, certainly."
On the difference in the defense this season despite key losses this offseason:
"Well, the guys you're referring to, those are big losses when you're talking about DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, and we lost Sean Lee to injury during OTAs. Those are important parts of our team and have been for a long time. But the 'next man up' philosophy is alive and well here in Dallas and when you lose guys like that, it gives other guys' opportunities. I thought we did a good job going out into free agency and signing some guys maybe a little bit under the radar who have come in and contributed. We had some young guys in our program who we drafted who we felt good about giving them a chance and they've stepped up and done some good things. I think we're playing good team defense. I know we have a long way to go though, and we're very much of a work in progress. So guys are working hard every day to put their best effort out in preparation, certainly in game time, but we certainly have a long way to go. We feel good about some of the things we've done, but we've got to get better in a lot of different areas."
On why his team has been successful at converting third downs:
"I think it starts with our success on first and second down and getting to some favorable third down situations. I think any time you do that, you're obviously giving yourself the best chance to convert those. I think our offensive line has protected well in some of those challenging third down situations where protection is always at a premium. And I think we have a lot of different guys we can throw the ball to – Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley and Gavin Escobar and James Hanna, Lance Dunbar, all these guys have contributed on third down when we're throwing the ball and been able to convert third downs for us. So certainly a big part of the game, we feel good about where we are right now, but it's very much a collective effort and has a lot to do with what we're doing prior to third down. We've just got to keep that going because it's a big part of the game."
On having Head Coach Jay Gruden's brother, Jon, as part of the broadcast crew on Monday:
"I've known Coach [Jon] Gruden and Jay for a long time and they're certainly professional. They've demonstrated that throughout their careers. It's something that is kind of part of this game and it's something that I know we're going to handle the right way and I'm sure they're going to handle it the right way as well."
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo:
On owner Jerry Jones saying he is playing as well as he's ever played:
"Well, I just think you are always just trying to improve and get better and there are a lot of reasons that go into when you are playing good football, but ultimately it's just the ultimate team game. And when you have multiple people who are playing well at their position, I think it is a trickle-down effect for everybody. And our football team is just a team. We all help each other out in different avenues and, you know, I think we just spread the wealth around."
On the culture change in Dallas:
"I think we follow the lead of our head coach. I think Coach [Jason] Garrett has a certain approach to the way he coaches and it has really rubbed off on the football team and they kind of take his same mental approach that he brings every day. And it kind of just seeped into the rest of the team and you can just see the guys and the way that they work and the effort they give and just the commitment to getting better every day. It has been a great thing to see."
A look back at some of the top sacks in games between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys.
On if the offensive line has shaped the way the team has developed:
"Yeah, we are running the ball well. I think that obviously has a lot to do with the guys upfront – DeMarco [Murray]… There two things – and I have said this before – a couple things really that travel in the NFL are defense and running the football. I think that goes back to having a great D-line or a great offensive line and that gives you a chance to win every week you play. This is a man's game. It's tough, and its physical and you've got to bring it over and over and over again. I think our team has some guys like that who are willing to go out there and grind it out and have some ability and it has been great to see."
On what has led to team's success on third down:
"Yeah, I think we are doing some things that create some trouble for defenses in that area. I think we have some good players that can create some matchup trouble, and then you just have guys that do their jobs well and they understand on third down how to get the job done and then you have to go out there and execute it. So, all of it goes hand-in-hand together. I don't know that there is one specific reason why any more than anything. We are just executing and I'm just going through the reads and getting the ball out. You've got to deliver the ball on time and you've got to deliver it accurately and that is what I am trying to do."
On what it will be like not having to face cornerback DeAngelo Hall:
"Well, I will tell you after the game. I think he has done a good job. He is a good corner. You know, we obviously had to prepare for him over the years and it will be a little different this time, but I think philosophy they are going stay the same to what they have done. They may add a few wrinkles, a few pressures and change it up and do some different things and we will be prepared for that and get ready to go."
On working his way back into game play and 'hopping back in' after dealing with an injury:
"I don't know that you're really just hopping back in, I think you just do everything you can. You film study, you wear that out, you wear out meeting time, you go through walkthroughs. You mentally stay in everything that you are doing. Then when you do go practice, you just have to stay in it mentally and then physically you have got to go perform. I always felt like it was always a joy – a great thing to be able to practice. It's not the grind it is sometimes for other guys because of what you have to put your body through in the National Football League. For me, it was always almost like going to open gym or something where you are able to go compete and try to win each day. I've always loved the way that practice feels."
On how to know when he is too injured to play:
"If you can walk and you're not injured enough to – if it's not broken basically or not to the point where you can't go, I think you play. You may not be at your best but you are able to go and help your football team and that's usually what I have done over the years. If I can stand up and walk and do those things, usually I am going to play."