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Jason Garrett Conference Call Transcript - 10/12/2011
Q: Can you tell me a little about the sort of impact that Rob Ryan has had on your defense this year?
JG: I think Rob and our defensive staff have really done a really good job for us. As you know, we didn't have an off season like we typically do with the OTA's and the mini camps, and they had the challenge of trying to put a defensive system in in a very short period of time. I think our players responded very well to the system and we have a long way to go on defense and throughout our football team, but there have been some really good things that we have done on defense and Rob has obviously been a big part of that.
Q: I think Rob was the last defensive coordinator to hold the Patriots under 30 pts in a game at least in the regular season. Any chance you guys have gone back and looked at that video or that film of that Cleveland Browns game last year?
JG: Yeah, I think when we prepare for an opponent, we use all the resources at our disposal and certainly watch the most recent games and stuff from this year. If you have an experience where you played against a team before, you certainly go back and watch that game to see if there is anything that continues to relate to what that offense or defense is doing. That's certainly part of our preparation. I think we get more focus on what's happening in 2011 as much as anything else though.
Q: In the film that you have seen of Albert Haynesworth, how does he look to you in how the Patriots are using him and what's it like seeing him in this system here?
JG: I think he's done an outstanding job for them. He's a big body, very explosive, he's strong, he's quick, he can be a really disruptive force in the middle of the defense, both in the run game and the passing game. You pair him with [Vince] Wilfork inside and they're really a formable duo. There's no question about that. When he's been out there playing, he's played very well, and he'll be a great challenge for our football team.
Q: One thing Albert Haynesworth said today was that your offensive line has become a little bit smaller, faster, quicker. How has that impacted your offense this year and how is Tony Romo working with that?
JG: Well, we do have some younger players on our offensive line. We have Tyron Smith who was drafted in the first round for us and Bill Nagy who was a seventh round pick. Those rookies are starting and Phil Costa is playing center and he's a second round guy out of Maryland. You put those guys next to [Doug] Free and [Kyle] Kosier who have been playing for us - it's a little bit of a different group that's been playing over the last few years. They are a little smaller then the guys that had been playing, but we like what they've done. They're certainly learning a lot about playing football and the challenges that they're going to face at this level. They're not quite as big as the guys that have played in the past, but we do like they're competitiveness and their tenacity. Like I said, they are learning as they go. They've done a nice job so far, but a lot of challenges ahead.
Q: What has the challenge been for Tony Romo working with that group?
JG: Well, like any challenge when you're working with new guys, I think that's the biggest thing – the comfort level when you have experience and you have experience with somebody else, whether you're playing next to somebody or with somebody on the offense. I think that's just – those are the growing pains that you go through. We're four games into it with a younger offense line. We feel like they're growing every week and getting better every week. It's a tribute to the approach that they take and the coaching that they get from Hudson Houck and we're just hopeful they continue to grow.
Q: Is it true that you had Nate Solder high up on your draft board?
JG: Absolutely. We had him very high on our draft board. We liked him very much.
Q: Was he a guy you were prepared to take at pick nine if Tyron Smith wasn't there?
JG: I think there are a lot of discussions that you have about a lot of different players, so I don't think it's fair to say that we would take this guy or wouldn't have take this guy. You never know what you would do until that situation comes up, but we had him here to Valley Ranch, we spent a lot of time with him and certainly watched a lot of tape of him and he was certainly in that top tackle group that we were considering very strongly.
Q: How has Dez Bryant progressed in year two?
JG: I think he has gotten better, really, in all phases of his game. That's expected with a younger player. Dez played about 10 games for us last year before getting hurt. That time is so valuable to guys. Then he missed some time obviously this off season because of the lockout, so he's still a very young player, but he's somebody who plays with great passion and enthusiasm. I think he has natural instincts for the game. He just needs to continue to play like a lot of young players. You get that game experience, get that experience working against really good players in practice [and] to go about it the right way you're going to get better. We feel that he's grown in all that areas and has to continue to grow to become the player he's capable of being.
Q: When Tony Romo has some of those late game struggles in tough situations like he had at the beginning of the year, how do you handle that with him? How do you take that situation and move forward with it?
JG: I think the biggest thing you have to do is to address the situation head on. We do that with all our players. There's a whole system we have of evaluating what we do, just like every team in the league. We watch tape, we have meetings, we go over what happened, we go over what happened play-by-play, person-by-person, and then we go over what happened in the specific situation [and] if we managed the situations well. A couple of those late game situations this year we handled things really well – in San Francisco and our victory against Washington down here in Dallas. The game against the Jets up there and the game against Detroit a couple weeks ago were situations where we as a team didn't handle it quite as well and we have to learn from those situations to get better. The situations are never identical, but you have to learn from what you did when you played from ahead and what you did when you played from behind and what was good for you and what you have to certainly get better at. We do that with our whole team. We certainly do that with our quarterback.
Q: The base defense of the Patriots has changed this season. I'm just curious how you can compare it to the teams that you are preparing it for from 2004-2006 with the Miami Dolphins.
JG: I think there are a lot of similarities, but there are differences both from a scheme stand point and certainly from a personnel stand point. You still see them playing some of what we would call “Okie” or the 3-4 defense, that's part of what they do. They're certainly playing some more even defense. It's hard for us to know why because we are not there, but you imagine it has something to do with those defensive tackles. They've always been a defense [that's] been able to do a lot of different things and get to different things very quickly, both in their front and also on the back end. It certainly seems like they have an arsenal that they want to get to from a scheme stand point and certainly from a personnel stand point that we have to be ready for.