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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM

Dallas Cowboys Postgame Quotes 10/1

New York Jets head coach Mike McCarthy and select players comment on their game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, October 1, 2023.

DALLAS COWBOYS HEAD COACH MIKE MCCARTHY

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 1, 2023

On how the team played tonight...

"I'll just start with complimentary football, it's a tremendously long year. This was a distinct challenge, it was a great challenge that was right on time for us, especially after our experience last week. It's the definition of complimentary football, the defense with the takeaways and the point generation. I thought special teams played well. We had the one big play there. Offensively, I thought we moved the ball very well. Time of possession, keep the defense fresh, obviously you always want to score every time you have the ball. I think this makes us a strong strong football team."

On the fake extra point...

"Got to give John (Fassel) a ton of credit. It's something he brought to me on Tuesday night, something he saw on film. So, we repped it all week, we had the check on it. We got the look, and it was just like anything in this game, the players did a great job preparing and it was very well executed. We just felt it was something we may have the chance to take advantage of."

On the attempted 66-yard field goal...

"I've seen him kick it (Brandon Aubrey) deep in the high 60s. I'd love to give him that opportunity right before the half."

On DaRon Bland...

"You can see it right away. Just an extremely disciplined young man. He was given his first opportunity, his ability to play inside, outside. Excellent ball skills, which the whole back end [has] as a group, I don't know if I've seen so many guys that can hawk the ball. It's just great to see your young players have that success, especially when you know how much they put into it. I thought he played phenomenal today."

On the defensive touchdowns...

"We wanted to get started on offense, but the defense really set the table with the takeaways and the field position. Weeks 1 and 2, the performance was very similar. I thought our defense really got back on track this week."

On the redzone offense this week...

"Just got to keep working. This is a good place to be when you're winning by a significant margin of victory, and you still feel like you have lot of work to do. I like where we are."

On Jake Ferguson...

"I think Jake has really been given the opportunity to be a complete tight end. The run protection and the passing game. He's always had a knack for yards after catch. I just think that you're seeing a guy that's paid the price, he got his weight up from year one to year two. He needs to maintain that. The tight end position, they do a lot of heavy lifting. They're asked to get in there and compete in the C gap and the D gap area, and also we're asking more of those guys in protection as far as assignments there. In the passing game, he has a real good feel for man versus zone. Very, very bright football [player], very, very instinctive football player."

On if this week's performance helps going into next week against San Francisco...

"I don't look at it that way. It was important for us to win the game today. That's really when you start the week's work. I mean we've talked about this in the press conferences; they came in and they cleaned it up on Monday. It'll be no different tomorrow. You know just because we won the game, the correction process is exactly the same. There is some things that happened this game that we can definitely learn from. I know especially on offense with all the empty pressure that we saw. It's important for us to take this experience and grow with it and apply it. We clearly understand who's next. Tomorrow is self-scout and clean up and make sure that we got our house clean."

On Dak's (Prescott) efficiency today...

"I think he's in total command of the offense. I thought he did a really good job taking what they gave him. He got a lot of different looks there. They were extremely high in disguise and that held true today. I loved his patience today. We had a couple situations, had the one protection situation, he did a good job just protecting the ball. Sometimes when there's a mistake, just don't make two. I thought he did a great job managing the game today."

On Ezekiel Elliott's return today...

"I thought it was awesome. Frankly that's the way it should be. Why can we not respect people before us? What he meant to the organization; I thought the tribute was outstanding. It was great to see him afterwards. But everyone understands when the ball is kicked off, it's a football game. I'm sure it was no different for him. It's about respect, because at the end of the day that's all we all really want. This is a hard business, it's difficult to be successful. I was very proud of the organization because he deserves to be recognized. I thought that part of it was a homerun."

On this team being 9-1 the last three years after a loss...

"I just think you have to point to the locker room first. We have a lot of leadership here. I've been impressed with that, especially the last two years. I think we're all on the same page of the process of how we operate. The pandemic was an odd year. This is three years of the program. There are things that we're always going to have experience with, it's just that every game's different because of the the ebb and the flow of it. I think our guys do a really good job of not getting too high and not getting too low. I think that serves you very well over a 17-game season. At the end of the day this is a player's game. I think our players came to work. We had a good week of preparation. It's nice to see it rewarded with a good victory. Like I said earlier, we'll get in there and clean it up tomorrow. We paid for it, and we're excited about the next one."

On the home field advantage the Cowboys have...

"I mean you have to win at home. As long as I've been in this league, and you go back to the early 90's and Arrowhead and its no different here at AT&T. You have to win your home games. You got to take advantage of this phenomenal crowd, this incredible atmosphere, it's the same way on the road too. We're very very blessed to have a tremendous fanbase. But you got to win your home games, you look at all the playoff teams, the numbers tell a story. It's about protecting your own house."

On if he remembers going into Week 5 of a season with a cornerback being tied with his starting running back for the most touchdowns...

"That's a good thing isn't it? Great defense. We've led the league the last two years in takeaways, it's no surprise for us as far as how our guys play. I think it's great to compete against those guys, they make the offense better. Like I said we still have work to do."

QUARTERBACK DAK PRESCOTT

Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 1, 2023

On how efficient the offense was and how it felt to finally get a red zone score in at the end...

"Yeah, [we were] pretty efficient but still not to our standard, honestly. To have as many opportunities as we had in the red zone and [just] have some field goals. I guess on that one fourth down over in the fringe, [we] didn't convert on that. I had the one, just barely outside of that, to CeeDee [Lamb]. [It was] good to get a receiver a touchdown. A lot of good comes from it and a lot of great comes from it when you win a game 38 to 3. So, it's a lot easier to get better with a win like this and a score like that."

On the NFL's red zone having to be inside the 20 and not just on the 20...

"Yeah, if it's not inside of 20, it's not the red zone. But, honestly, going into this game, [Brian] Schottenheimer actually told us that. For you to score, it's going to have to be outside of the 20. It's just really a credit to their defense, their scheme, and them trying to take away the best players once you get inside the red zone. So, he answered."

On what it is about a game after a loss that brings out the best in this Cowboys team in the last few seasons...

"We want to stay out of those situations. [We would] much rather just be coming off a win and going to get another win. But, it just allows us to refocus. A lot of those in the last three seasons, from the top of my head, are humbling losses or games that we shouldn't have lost. [They were] the games that we let get away from us at the end. Yeah, it's a reset thing. It's everybody coming in with a sharp focus. It's what you expect when you have the leadership that we have, the coaches that we have with the experience that they've had, and just for us to lock in and really pay attention to who we are and what's the purpose of our mission. I don't want to say it's easy. It's never easy winning in this league. But, when all of the guys are locked in and focused on what they have to do, you get games like that."

On TE Jake Ferguson's second year jump and how their chemistry has been coming on this year...

"It's no surprise to me as [he is] a guy that loves the game of football. Not many people in that locker room love the game more than Ferg does. He shows it each and every day with his preparation, with the way that he approaches practice, and the extra time he spends on the film working with Coach [Lunda] Wells. It's no surprise and it's only going to get better. He's a guy that has confidence through the roof. Obviously, you could throw into tight windows and he's going to come down with the catch. He may take a hit, but he's going to get up and let the guy know that it wasn't anything. You know what I mean? [He's a] very physical player and plays with a lot of energy. He's really just scratching the surface to a long successful career for him."

On if the red zone struggles can be attributed to the Texas Coast Offense...

"Someone's got to get better at it. We won 38 to 3 so I'm not going to sit here and harp on that. But, that definitely gives us something to work on. Obviously, coming into this game, I talked about it about two weeks ago, before we won that game, the last game here against New York ,that we could have been better in the red zone. So, it's an area that we are going to continue to focus on and we're going to try to get better at it and when we do, it's going to be dangerous."

On WR CeeDee Lamb's touchdown after New England's CB Christian Gonzalez went out...

"We went into the timeout break because New England's Gonzalez got hurt. Coming out of that, we had a great play design. We expected them to go into a shell look or play it soft. I was surprised, to say the least, when they went man-to-man and allowed CeeDee to be one-on-one."

On the growth of DaRon Bland...

"That's a guy that works his tail off and practices just as hard. He's one of the best guys to have at practice, no matter what he's doing or whatever look he's trying to give. When we're going against him one-on-one, he makes it tough for everybody. He's a hell of a player and it's paying off on Sundays. He had a great rookie year last year. Coming into this year, he hasn't missed a beat and continues to get better."

On the back-to-back scores by Vander Esch and Bland...

"Just to sit back and watch the defense do that, it's awesome. It makes my job a lot easier. Trust me, I love to be able to go out there and throw over and over and be back and forth, but I sit back and cross my legs for five or six minutes to allow me to get on offense. But if they want to score, keep doing it."

On his reflection of Bland during training camp his rookie season...

"When you look at DBs and practice against them, it's the confidence. It's the guys that really take chances, especially when they're younger. They're trusting what they see, trusting their eyes, trusting their coach, and jumping routes. He was doing that during practice and doing that early in his time as a rookie. He got me a couple of times. There was no hesitation in it. That's where you say that's a guy who is always in the right spot and believing what he's being coached and playing off of instincts. I hate to call someone a natural - makes it seem like they don't put in the work - but he's doing everything the right way and he's only going to get better."

On his thoughts of Zeke Elliott's homecoming and the tribute...

"I didn't see him last night. I talked to him after the game. I'm sure that he liked the tribute. I loved the tribute. Thought it was pretty cool. We'll connect, we'll talk. Our relationship is much bigger than the game of football and especially with this game and him coming back. It was pretty cool just to see how Jerry and the Cowboys planned that video for him. Giving him the respect and the honor he deserves. He had a great seven years here. I wouldn't be the player that I am without him. Wouldn't have the success that we had in those seven years without that guy."

On the importance of tonight's win in preparation for San Francisco...

"This is a week-by-week basis, this focus of this team. This week's preparation had nothing to do with San Fran coming up. Now that we got this game out of the way, we're focused. We did what we were supposed to do and what we wanted to do. Capitalized on our game plan and getting back to things that work and allowing our defense to go hunt with the lead. Now it's about turning the page and studying the hell out of these guys [San Francisco]. Understanding who they've been and what this matchup has been the past couple of years. I've played them in the playoffs and we understand it's a team that if we get to where we want to get, we have to play them again, come playoffs. I look forward to the matchup and turning the page tomorrow morning and coming up with a great gameplan."

On the bitter feeling that he had after last year's loss...

"We're so far past that, to be honest. It's obvious."

PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM

RB, Tony Pollard

On importance of bouncing back today…

"That was a big win for us. Especially against a fundamentally sound team like that. The Patriots are going to bring it every year, no matter what the situation is. It was a big game for us, bouncing back, fighting through that adversity."

On where this team is…

"We'll take it one game at a time and steady getting better over time, but we still have a lot of room for improvement."

On if he talked to Ezekiel Elliot…

"Yeah, I talked to him after the game."

On what that was like and his thoughts on the pregame honors…

"He deserved it. Everything he's done for the organization and the way he put his body on the line. But we had to do it to him today."

On biggest takeaway…

"Just playing complimentary football like we've been doing. Just keep building off of that and executing better in the red zone."

On the progress of red zone execution…

"It's slow progress but slow progress is good progress at the end of the day. We're moving in the right direction. It's early in the year so I feel like we're right where we need to be."

On the offense playing later in the game today…

"Just trying to get something going. Just trying to execute a little better and see if we can get something done before taking the guys out."

On the defense's performance…

"I mean they make our jobs so much easier when they're scoring the points for us. What did they have two touchdowns today? They make it that much easier on the offense. All we do is just do a good job of playing complimentary football and getting a dub."

On facing San Francisco next week…

"We're always ready. It doesn't matter who we have coming up next week. Anybody they put up against us, we'll be ready."

On if there's more motivation from recent matchups against the 49ers…

"We definitely have a bad taste in our mouth from the two times we played them. But it's a new year, we'll start from scratch and we're ready to go."

On if it will be a litmus test…

"That's every week for us. Every week that's how we look at it."

TE, Jake Ferguson

On the importance of bouncing back today…

"I think it goes back to our team motto of "Seize everything." I think that's something where we just came in this week and hey whatever it may be, whether it's a walk-through, meeting, practice. Anything. Walking around eating lunch with guys, we're taking advantage of that. We're making that connection that much stronger so that when we do get out on the field, it's lights out and we're playing complimentary football."

On what he said to Luke Schoonmaker as a leader…

"You just have to talk him and I know what kind of player Schoon is and that was just a hiccup. I've had something like three drops and it's important to be there for him and just remind him what kind of player he is. He's a great player and nine times out of 10 he makes that play and that's a touchdown. But it's just going to come down to this week, as a whole unit we're going to get on the jugs because I still do have drops this season and we're not changing anything."

On his confidence of being Dak's security blanket…

"I'm just trying to be in the right spot in the right time frame. Get on the same page as him and that starts with that connection like we talked about. Like hey Dak, what are you thinking on this? If we have a play in practice where we just don't quite connect, I'm going up and I'm talking to him and I'm saying do we want this after practice. Are you feeling this? And he's giving me his input and what he's thinking, and I think that goes a long way so when I do get out there it's I'm in the right spot at the right time and we're really on the same page."

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore

On the defense's play against the Patriot offense and Mac Jones…

"I think he can throw it going deep. He's got a good arm. I just think we had a good week of preparation. Guys were flying around, and we were making plays. If we are able to play like that, I like us against anybody."

On turning turnovers into points…

"I mean, one thing about here, we talk about every day, every week, we're scoring on defense. It's fun. It's fun to be able to do that because if we're able to do that with our offense, the sky's the limit."

On DaRon Bland's play….

"On thing about D.B., he's focused every day. He doesn't say much, he comes in and works. He competes, and it's only his second year. He's got a bright future and (I'm) just trying to teach him as much as I can. One day he's going to be one of those guys, for sure."

Defensive Back DaRon Bland

On the pick six…

"He got an early one across the field, so I couldn't let him do that again. Then I saw open field when I got the ball so I said, 'nobody's catching me from here.'"

On your opportunity to play when it presented itself….

"I always try to stay on top of my technique. This time knowing, I had to step up again. I've already done that part before so…"

On the adjustment from playing inside to outside as a defensive back and it being difficult…

"Not too much."

On being able to step up for the defense with Trevon Diggs' injury…

"I have to be another playmaker. We lost one playmaker. So, it can easily be one of our days."

Linebacker/Defensive End Micah Parsons

On coming back after the loss last week…

"Just because it's all about the balance game. Not when things hit you in the face, it's all about adversity. Coming back after it, I think that's what true champions are better at. Anybody can come in and win games, but once you face adversity I think when you look a man in his eyes and say, 'Are we going to get better?, how are we going to overcome this?' Adversity makes true champions."

On seeing your teammates scoring on defense…

"I've definitely got to get into the endzone. I've got to join my man Bland. We always got little prop bets for each other in the locker room. Things like that. Obviously Bland takes the pot this week. So, we've got to catch up to him. You know, it's always fun."

About this defense that creates so many kinds of these opportunities…

"Just the disguise, mannerisms. The things that these guys put in each week. They way [Dan Quinn] helps these guys deal with. The way we rush for these guys. We play for one another, and it just always clicks when we're on."

DE, Demarcus Lawrence

On playing against Ezekiel Elliot…

"At the beginning of the game, it was definitely a surreal moment, but once we took him down a couple of times it was like alright, it's Zeke but you know we still have to do our jobs. Much love to Zeke, glad you came back to visit us and good luck to you for the rest of the season."

On the importance of stopping the run…

"It was very important. If we don't stop the run, we're not going to have a good game, so it was important."

On when the attention turns to San Francisco…

"Is that who we play next week?"

Yes.

"Alright I'll turn to San Francisco on Tuesday. "

On looking forward to next week after the last two season matchups with San Francisco…

"This is just another step in our road that we're going to have to travel. It's still the regular season. It's still early so it's all about just getting that win, bottom line."

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