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TRANSCRIPT: Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay, DC Wade Phillips, RB Todd Gurley Discuss Prep For Dallas Cowboys

Here’s what the trio said to the media today.

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

(Opening Remarks)

“As far as injuries, the only guys that missed today was (S) Lamarcus Joyner with his hamstring – did not participate, he’s day-to-day. We’re monitoring him, but he’s making good progress, so that’s encouraging. But, everybody else was back on the field and good to go.”

(On if WR Sammy Watkins and WR Tavon Austin will play on Sunday)

“Yes. They’re good to go. They were full participants today and good shape for them.”

(On C John Sullivan’s status)

“John, you know what? Actually I take that back. John could have practiced today, but because of where he’s at, we would have given him a veteran day yesterday. With him having the groin, we left him off the field today. He took part in a little bit of the individuals, so he was a limited participant and then tomorrow we will get a good gauge to see where he’s at with his hip. Yeah, with John, absolutely.”

(On if he looks at some weeks being tougher than others)

“Well, I think you look at it as it’s the game that we have this week and it’s against a team that won their division, was 13-3, 7-1 (at home). They’re 2-1 coming off of a great road win against an excellent Arizona Cardinals football team. So, I think when you look at what they’ve been able to do the last couple years, you look at this team – I mentioned it yesterday, no weaknesses, great coaching staff, so I think what you look at it is it’s a great opportunity to go compete against a great team and can’t wait to see how we do.”

(On how he thinks T Rob Havenstein has played this season)

“I think he’s done a nice job. I think when we had him playing at the guard position mostly throughout the offseason program, a very conscientious, smart player. I think it almost helped him where things happen a little bit faster inside and then as he moved out to the edge I think he’s got a great understanding of angles, leverage, good posture in his pass sets, I think he’s getting more and more comfortable in the run game. (Offensive Line) Coach (Aaron) Kromer has done an excellent job and he’s been very receptive to that. I also think (T) Andrew Whitworth’s presence here, just having another guy playing that tackle position, being able to give him the ins-and-outs of his mindset in between the snaps – what’s his approach based on the rushers and different things like that. So, I’ve been very pleased with Rob and I think he’s only going to continue to improve as he gets more experience.”

(On how important it is that he will have Watkins and Austin available on Sunday)

“It’s very important. Those guys are extremely important to our offense. We’ve got a lot of playmakers on our offense that we feel good about, but those two especially. I think you look at what Sammy did last week and then the influence that Tavon has on the game in a variety of different ways. That’s a big boost to us and feel very fortunate to have those guys ready to go.”

(On if RB Todd Gurley II winning NFC Offensive Player of the Week was a surprise to him)

“I think there’s a lot of other really great players in this league and a lot of guys that did an excellent job in the NFC offensively, but anytime you get an award like that, we’re very happy for Todd. I think it’s a reflection of the offensive unit as a whole. He’s certainly has done a lot of great individual things, but a lot of that stuff doesn’t occur without great blocking up front, good job by (QB) Jared (Goff) distributing the ball in the pass game, making sure we’re not running into some of those bad looks. Todd will be the first to tell you, he’s got high expectations for himself and what you feel good about with that award is that is a reflection of the unit as a whole and I think those guys have done a nice job. But, it’s three games and we’ve got a lot of football left to be played and we know that in this business it’s a very humbling game where it’s, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ And we’ve got a great challenge against a very good defensive opponent for the offense and for Todd and those guys are doing a good job this week of getting ready for that.”

(On how he thought Gurley would perform this season based on his performance last year)

“I think when you look at Todd, what you want to make sure is that instead of just looking at the numbers, you watch the tape and really see what’s the reason for why you think maybe things didn’t go the way that you wanted last year. What you see when you watch the two years that he’s been in the league, before you get with him is you see an excellent talent and you see a guy that has got great natural run instincts, fearless competitor. So, to say that you’re surprised by this, the way that he’s worked day-in and day-out, you’re not surprised because those are the expectations that you have for a great player like Todd. To answer your question though, you didn’t have any worry that he wasn’t the guy that he was his rookie year just based on the numbers and the production – still had a whole lot of confidence in him and that’s been merited by what he’s done so far.”

(On what about that talent sticks out to him)

“I think the run game, like we’ve talked about before, takes all 11. A lot of times, just like the offensive line has a tendency to get blamed for sacks, I think that’s a misleading thing just like I think the running back has a tendency for getting blamed for maybe the running back production. Certainly guys sometimes create and make free hitters miss in the hole, but it takes all 11 to run the football consistently and efficiently in this league with how good defenses are. I think what you see is when the ball is in his hands he’s a creative athlete, knows how to work edges on people and when he gets in the open field, for a big back, he’s got great speed where he can create those explosive plays – where you’re thinking he’s a power back and he’s got a lot more speed and wiggle to his game than people give him credit for. I think you’re starting to see the complete back where he’s protecting well, making big plays. I thought one of the biggest plays in the game against the 49ers was the check down that he catches on the third and 10 and creates that for an explosive play because at the time, you’re up eight, San Francisco has a lot of momentum, you’re able to finish that with a touchdown to Sammy, but if you don’t get that, you never know how things play out. He’s doing a lot of different things contributing to our offense and he’s showing that he’s a complete back.”

(On if he has sensed that teams are focusing less on stopping the run because of the success of the passing game thus far)

“I think the biggest thing for us is you want to try to stay efficient on those early downs, so you at least have run-pass balance and you have both options up. Certain teams, whatever their core philosophy is in terms of how they want to play things on those normal down and distances when you’re in your first downs and second and eight and less – a lot of times some teams will say, ‘We’re going to stop the run first, play single-high structures and then be ready to play some split safety or some pressures for the pass game in those known passing situations.’ So, I think it’s a week-to-week basis, but the big thing that we try to emphasize is in order to have your run-pass balance options up, your whole offense at your disposal, you want to stay manageable and efficient on those early downs whether you’re running it or you’re throwing it. I think at times we’ve been able to do that and there is some other times where we’ve got ourselves in trouble.”

(On Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence)

“Well, I think when you just flip on the tape, he’s a scary player. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Demarcus – he’s had some different things over the last couple years, but when ‘90’ has been available for them you certainly feel him and notice him as an offensive coach. He can wreck a game if you’re not careful. Excellent effort, he’s got a variety of ways that he can get to the quarterback, they move him around, I think he plays the run very well as well. He’s a great player, he’s leading the league in sacks right now and when you flip the tape on, you certainly feel him and a lot of that he’s done a great job just creating by winning his one-on-ones. That’s what the great players in this league do and he’s certainly playing like that right now.”

(On if Lawrence is a speed guy or a power guy)

“He’s both. He’s got the ability to work edges. He does a great job with his hands, he’s got counters, but he can go through you or go around you, he can go up and under. You can see, (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Rod) Marinelli and those guys do an excellent job coaching it. He’s got a variety of moves in his repertoire and you can see the one thing that those natural pass rushers do is it’s a legitimate counter based on the way that a tackle sets him, it’s not a predetermined move. But, he’s also mindful of playing within the scheme. You can see, they do a great job of keeping their gap integrity, but when you’re in those known passing situations where I think you see Arizona in the two-minute the other night, they can really tee off on the snap count, get off the known passing situations. He did a great job and we’ve got to be ready for him.”

(On RB Lance Dunbar’s status)

“Yeah. Once that window where the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) becomes available then we’ll have those couple weeks to be able to evaluate him, see how he’s doing and then you decide whether you want to activate him or not. It’s funny that you mention that – we were talking about it today with (Director of Sports Medicine/Performance) Reggie (Scott) and he was just saying – because he’s in the meetings, has got a great look in his eye, staying up to speed on everything that is going on and I know this has been a challenging time for him, but when you set out those steps and those hurdles that you want to accomplish to try to put yourself in positon to be on track to come back, I think he’s doing all those things right now. Once we get past Week 6, then hopefully we’ll be saying that we’re going to activate Lance Dunbar.”

(On if he taps into Dunbar’s knowledge because of his time with Dallas)

“Yeah, you do. You always want to make sure that you’re using those resources at your disposal. But, I think like a lot of things, you want to be careful especially with his intricate knowledge of their offense of not overloading the information with some of the defensive guys. You want to give them a couple things that they can go on. It’s very similar to kind of when we’ve played some teams in the last few weeks that we’re familiar with, it’s a give and take and then you’ve got to know when they’re doing it and how they operate. But, you can maybe give a couple little tells on some things, but ultimately it’s going to be about our guys executing and it’s going to be fun.”

(On if he’s been able to get into a rhythm as a head coach in terms of his day-to-day and weekly schedule)

“I think in terms of finding your weekly rhythm at work, I think you’re starting to get comfortable. As far as the balance in life, there’s no balance in life (laughs). No, but it’s been fun and I continue to go back to it, what’s been great about it is that you have a lot of great resources at your disposal on our coaching staff that you can use as a reference point for how to handle things, different circumstances that come up. But, I think now the Thursday is always a different week, but now that you’ve had really you look at the Indianapolis and the Washington week and now getting into really the true, third week of the normal in- season rhythm you’re starting to get a little bit more comfortable. I think really it goes not just for myself, but for our coaching staff and our players for what a Wednesday through Friday, those main days of work, how we operate. So, you are getting comfortable with that. I think there’s always things that inevitably come up just based on being in that role and that’s where, when you’ve got great assistants like we do on all phases, you feel like if you’ve got to take care of some of the things that do come up, the team’s in good hands or some of the things that you might have to push aside because those things from a head coaching standpoint become a priority. So, I think you are getting more comfortable with it, but there are certainly things that come up every day, as you know, that you can’t prepare for and that’s the types of things that people have always told us.”

(On how long the process of mapping out the next offensive sequence takes and how much of the game he’s able to watch when his defense is on the field)

“(Rams Senior Director of Communications) Artis (Twyman) told me about that after the game. I thought man, ‘I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.’ It really is dependent upon how many plays we had in the drive before that, because what you’re looking at is trying to get a feel for, ‘Alright, is this kind of what we anticipated?’ We’re we getting the looks. Maybe if they hit you with the pressure that you weren’t ready for, are the offensive lineman, the running backs, quarterback – are we all on the same page? And then what you try to do is, you preview the upcoming series. So if it’s a four-play drive, that only takes a couple minutes. If it’s a 14-play drive, then it’s going to take a little bit longer. I think you want to do a good job of putting the position coaches…giving them a chance to preview some of the things that you anticipate going into for the next drive to preview, ‘Alright, here’s what we’re thinking so be ready for that. And then that’s when, really, you rely on (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) to do a great job like he’s done throughout the course of his career. Because I think when you look at what’s going to be best for our team, in terms of how you manage the game, we’ve got a lot of great coaches. And for me just to feel like I’m going to immediately click over, listen in on the defensive headset – it’s not like you’re going override anything that Wade’s going to call. You want to make sure that you’re there if there’s a reference point or if you want to have a discussion. But I’m not going to sit there and dictate some of the calls that Wade’s made when he’s done such a good job calling the game throughout the course of his career. So I think you don’t want to take away from trying to do the best job you can of calling plays, but then being mindful of there’s still the management of the game element that ‘Bones’ (Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel) is in tune with, that I’m in tune with once you get through that. That’s kind of the process that we’ve mapped out as a staff that we’ve felt more comfortable with and I think we’ve done that for, really in the preseason a little bit, too. We probably just had a couple more cameras where they spotted me sitting on the water cooler.”

(On whether Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden called plays in a similar manner to him)

“Jay has a great way…Jay’s, very, naturally just had a great vision. Kind of knowing what he wanted to do. I think each person operates differently. The reason that I like to do that is because you can kind of sit down, get in an area where you can kind of block everything out. Whereas when you’re standing and just looking at the pictures and you might want to make a couple notes. You don’t feel like – just for me, it doesn’t mean that’s the right way to do it, but I think that’s the best way to get a good focus and concentration in spite of all the noise going around you. So that’s the only reason that I do that, but I think everybody operates differently and that’s just kind of what I’ve found works for me.”

(On whether DE Ethan Westbrooks is on track to play on Sunday)

“Yeah, he’s still on track to play – still in the same position as we were yesterday.”

(On what challenges the Cowboys defense poses)

“I think the one thing when you look at them in the early downs, they do a good job mixing up their coverages and when they play some of the split safety looks – a lot of variety of movement upfront, peeling your combinations. You’ve really got to be on the screws, because they do a great job knowing what your priority runs are and then they attack it. And then they’ve got a…stuff that fits within the framework of their system. But you can see, based on who their playing, they’ve got some designer things that really do a great job of stressing some of your core runs or the point of attack – where teams typically try to run the football or attack people in the run game based on the fronts and things like that. I think they’ve got really good linebackers that can run really well. I think (Cowboys LB) Sean Lee’s one of the better players in this league. I’ve got a whole lot of respect for him from going against him for a handful of years in the division. I think when you look at their safeties, they can run. They’ve got a lot of young ‘DBs.’ There’s a lot of new players in their secondary. They’re doing a good job of playing a variety on coverages in the back end. They pose a lot of problems, but I think when you look at a (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator) Rod Marinelli-coached defense – great effort, great fundamentals and technique. That’s a sign of great coaching and then the players buying into what they’re doing. And that’s why I think, I want to say they lead the league is rush defense last year, and they’re doing an excellent job again this year, so great challenge ahead.”

(On how the Cowboys defense affects how he opens, expands, closes, or limits his playbook)

“I think when you try to attack people, you always have some specific things that you want to do each week that fit within the framework of your offense. But like we mentioned earlier, I think the big thing is trying to stay efficient on those early downs, because once they get you in the second-and-10s, the third-and-longs – they’re totally in that attacking mode and mindset and they can really dictate the flow of the game. Whereas if you’re able to stay efficient, now you’re in the second-and-shorts, you’re in manageable third downs. You got a better chance of having your run-pass options open, like we talked about earlier, and that’s going to be a key for us. But going on the road, great atmosphere, having to deal with the noise, the elements that come with that. Really great challenge for our offense and we’ve tried to do a good job this week of trying to create those pressure-type of situations, which you know you can’t really mimic and emulate until you get to the game. I think the guys have responded the right way and we know that Sunday will be an excellent challenge.”

DC Wade Phillips

(On going back to Dallas)

“Going back to Dallas – it’s part of my past. I coached there and enjoyed my time there, obviously. The good thing about Texas is there’s no taxes. But, they still charge you that California tax when you go to Texas, so I don’t understand that deal. That’s another story. Yeah, we spent some good years there. I enjoyed being there, worked hard for three and a half years there and it was a big part of my life at the time. It still is, I have fond memories.”

(On if he has coached in Dallas since he left there)

“No, I haven’t coached in Dallas. I went to (Redskins tight ends coach) Wes’ (Phillips) game, the Redskins played them and if you check out my Twitter, I’ve got a picture of where I was sitting up at the top of the stadium. I saw the Redskins play the Cowboys the year I was out. Really, it’s the only time the team I’ve been on has played against them.”

(On what it’s like going back to a place where he get let go)

“Like most of the teams in the league, it didn’t end well with me (laughs). So, if I had a vendetta against a lot of teams – I mean any team that has fired me, I have a quarter of the league, seven of them. No, I enjoy coaching football. Those things happen. Part of coaching is getting fired. Those aren’t great memories, obviously. But, the good times I had there, the players, a few of them are still there, (Cowboys TE) Jason Witten, (Cowboys CB Orlando) Scandrick, those guys are still there, so (Cowboys WR) Dez (Bryant), we drafted Dez. In fact, in preseason he gave me a hug and he was all sweaty, ‘Thanks Dez.’ (laughs). And,(Cowboys Owner) Jerry (Jones) was good to me. He’s a great family guy. I don’t know if you read my book, you should have, but if you didn’t it’s still available. There’s only a few copies left, but Jerry was great to me and my family. Wes stayed there and coached afterwards. I told the story, I’ll always be grateful that he sent my family down when my dad passed away. He took a private plane and sent Wes and his family down there. So, I’ll always be indebted to him for that.”

(On how confident he is that the defense will get on the right track)

“We’re going to be alright. We’re getting better. It’s good to have (CB) Kayvon (Webster) back this week, he’s been out almost the whole season. And we’ve made some plays in the run game and the pass game. I don’t know if I’ve been with a team that’s intercepted almost three passes for touchdowns in three games and we’ve had some turnovers, so that’s the first part of it. You got to work to get turnovers, you got to play solid defense. Last week it was a very unusual game in that, really five times they had the ball that they wouldn’t normally have the ball. It was fourth-and-two and we were offside, we fumble a punt, we fumble a kickoff. Things that you go back on the field. So we had a lot of – but I thought that we got better in the running game. They only averaged three something a rush and they rushed the week before against Seattle pretty darn good. And we knew they could throw the football, they made some great catches in that game. We were on them and they made some big plays, but we just need to play smarter when we get ahead. We’ve done that twice. We did that against Indianapolis, we gave up a 40-yard pass, ahead two touchdowns. Then, this last game we gave up two 40-yard passes twice when we were two touchdowns ahead in a deep zone defense. But, we’ve learned from that. I think we’ll get better. Hopefully we’re ahead like that, you know, 14 points in games and them to play that way. But, I feel good about our defense. I think we’re going to be fine. I think (DT) Aaron’s (Donald) settling in and we’ve moved (DT Michael) Brockers around, so we think that’s going to help us. We’ve got a good group that works hard and I’m glad I’m coaching here.”

(On what kind of challenges the Cowboys offense presents)

“Premiere challenge. You know, when you’re playing a really good offensive team, that’s when you have to step up and be a really good defensive team. Like I said, I think we’ll get better in some of the areas that we need to, but we’ll find out. That’s why we play the game, to see what happens, but I like our group. They work hard, they’re working to get better and we have some athletes.”

(On what challenges the Cowboys offensive line presents)

“Well, when you have a really good offensive line, you can do more things. That obviously helps your running game and then having a great back, and it helps your passing game because you protect the quarterback longer, those kind of things. We look at it as a big challenge. I think we’ll see a lot about our team this week as far as where we are to matchup with that kind of premiere offense.”

(On LBs Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree adjusting to the 3-4 defense)

“Yeah, I think Mark and Alec have gotten better and better as we’ve – you know, playing a 3-4 is a little bit different as far as finding where you fit in certain plays that were different than a 4-3. I think both of them have a bunch of tackles in the last few games, so they’re getting more comfortable that way and both of them can cover. That gives you a chance to do more things on defense when your, especially your inside backers can cover.”

(On if it would take a couple of games to get going full speed)

“I’ve had it work both ways. One year we started 0-3 at Buffalo and got in the playoffs, so I mean we didn’t start good. But, then other teams, I think Denver our first game we gave up 170 yards or something. So, it’s all about how you play and who you’re playing, too, is important. We’re looking forward to this one.”

(On what he retained from his father that he still uses today)

“Well, he influenced – like I said, read the book and I think you’ll get the whole gist of it. He influenced everything I do in football. He was my high school coach, my college coach, I coached for him for 11 years and he’s my hero, so everything I’ve learned in football, I learned from him. Some other coaches, too, but how to coach, how to be a teacher, I think that’s the part I learned.”

(On if calling a defense is different today)

“I’ve been doing it for 40 years now. I’m in football a lot longer than my dad was, so I don’t know how many games that is, but I’ve coached a lot of games. I think just experience helps you in that situation. I’ve seen a lot of different situations and pressure situations and two-point plays to win. We won two at Denver when we won the Super Bowl. We had two, two-point plays at the end of the game just like we did the other night, the Super Bowl year. So just seeing the things and say, ‘Hey, I think they’re going to do this or I think they’re going to do that.’ I don’t know if I could do as good as Tony Romo does on TV, predict the plays, but no, I just think it’s experience if you’ve done it so many times and you get a feel for – you have to get a feel for what your team can do also. That’s part of this process, really, is see who really plays well and does certain things well and keep them doing that.”

(On his impressions of Cowboys QB Dak Prescott)

“Dak, he’s a – I mean he’s going into the (Steelers QB Ben) Roethlisberger plane of a quarterback that comes in and really plays well early. I think Ben won the Super Bowl his first year, but this guy, he won 13 games last year. It wasn’t just him, obviously, but everybody knows the quarterback’s a big, big part of it. Maybe the biggest in most situations and now they’re 2-1 this year and he’s really playing well. He doesn’t throw interceptions, he makes big plays running the ball or scrambling and throwing it, so I don’t see any flaws in him. You pressure him, they have a good line and that helps too, but you pressure him and he throws to the right people. That’s what I see and then he’s got Jason Witten, who gets open all the time it seems like.”

RB Todd Gurley

(On if it meant anything being named NFC Offensive Player of the Month)

“Yeah, I mean obviously it’s a great accomplishment. A team award, though, I’ve got to give it to the offense – to the receivers for opening things up, the O-line blocking, (QB) Jared (Goff) for being able to give me the check-downs out the backfield. So, it was an overall team effort.”

(On if the NFC Offensive Player of the Month honor was a sign that last season is truly behind him)

“For sure. Like I said, you have your ups and downs in this game. Every year is not going to be a good year and, obviously, I figured that out last year. All you can do is move forward, just keep working hard, control what you can control and just take it day-by-day preparation, and once the season comes you just let all the anger out that you had and that you worked hard for in the offseason. So, that’s why I felt like I’ve been doing a great job of doing now.”

(On how comfortable he feels in pass protection)

“Pass protection – anybody can do it. It’s just a one-two thing. Obviously (Rams Head) Coach (Sean) McVay does a great job and ‘Sully’ (C John Sullivan) does a great job. It’s easy. The line has the four down and someone else, and you’ve got everybody else or whatever else the protection is. But, at the end of the day…I don’t want to get the quarterback sacked, so I’ve got to take care of ‘1-6’ (QB Jared Goff).”

(On if he’s continuing to do the same things he’s done throughout his career or if he’s doing anything different this season after evaluating last year)

“Yeah as far as, I’ve been doing the same kind of drills that I’ve been doing since I’ve been growing up. The preparation is still there. Obviously, I’ve been doing a lot more third downs, so I’ve been able to work on routes and stuff more this offseason. Obviously the offense is a little different, so they’ve kind of got me all over the place. But other than that, the preparation has been the same – just going out there in practice, finishing runs and just preparing every day.”

(On how the use of WR Tavon Austin in the offense has helped open up lanes for him)

“That definitely helped me a lot. Without Tavon, that’s the extra defender being there or extra two defenders being there, so he definitely helped me out a lot just throughout my whole career. Every yard I got with him on arounds or sweeps, he’s been helping me out since I’ve been here with the Rams, so I appreciate that.”

(On if this year’s offense is type of offense he envisioned coming into the league and if it’s similar to any previous offenses he’s played with)

“That’s a good question. Obviously being a high draft pick, the team’s not doing good if you’re a top-10, 15 pick. So it’s a process at the end of the day. But, I’m just happy. Obviously we didn’t do as well as I thought we would do my first two years here and that’s just a learning process. But just being with Coach McVay and just all of us, it’s just about clicking and timing in this league and for us to be able to do that these last couple games – it’s still early. Teams can come together early and fall apart late. So all we’ve got to do is just, like I said, take it day-by-day and prepare like every game is our last and every practice is our last and just do what the coaches do and not turn the ball over.”

(On where his comfortability of catching the ball stems from and if he’s ever played wide receiver)

“No, but it’s a football. I’ve been doing it for 20 years. If you can’t catch a football, I mean.”

(On getting the ball more in the air this season compared to last year)

“I don’t call the plays, but like I said, I felt like I did a great job of just grinding as far as you know getting into the routes and knowing that I’m going to be on third downs, it makes it a lot different. But it’s football. It’s a ball, catch it. If you don’t, if you drop it – it happens, you just catch the next one.”

(On if there was a sense of relief when got his first 100-yard rushing game of the season last week against the 49ers)

“Well I had three touchdowns at that point, so the 100 yards didn’t matter to be (laughs). I’ll take the touchdowns all day over the yards.”

(On if he believes that challenging opponents, like Dallas, can serve as benchmark games to test where the team is at)

“Most definitely. Last year we started off 3-1 and we went into the Bills week – I don’t know if it was the Bills week or the Panthers week, but either way we lost both of those games – and that’s when it kind of went downhill. Every week you have to come with it. If you can finish…it’s the first quarter of the season. So if you can finish 3-1, 3-1 – you’ll be right where you want to be, you know, in the playoffs. And obviously the goal is to win every game, but going in to Dallas – they’re America’s team. They’re coming off a 13-3 season last year and they have one of the best running backs in the league, lead rusher. They have a great defense. They have the league-leading sack leader right now. It’s an opportunity for us to go up against a great team and see where we are and see how far we came.”

(On Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott’s performance last season)

“Impressive. Everybody tried to say it’s the line. I mean obviously you’re only as good as your O-line, but at the end of the day, he’s out there running the ball. He’s making touchdowns. He’s catching the ball of off screens. You’ve got to give credit the guy, he’s a great player. He wasn’t the number three, four pick for no reason. He’s definitely a great player.”