COWBOYS HEAD COACH JASON GARRETT
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Q: How much did the inability of you to get going today offensively, how much was New England's defense and did the weather have an impact in what you were able to do out there?
JG: Yeah, obviously no excuses, but you know the weather had an impact on offense, it was really hard to handle the ball throughout the game. The throwing and catching, there were obviously a lot of balls on the ground. Balls going off receiver's hands on both sides. Just the nature of it, and the biggest thing you have to do is just keep banging away. And I do think we made some plays in the passing game. I thought Dak [Prescott] really hung in there well. I thought our guys handled the ball better and better, as the game wore on. But that certainly was a factor. Obviously New England plays great defense, one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. They are going to make it hard on you, they are going to make you earn it. And again, it was going to be a challenging game for us, we knew that. Moving the football, weather certainly played a factor in it. Ultimately, we didn't make enough plays at the critical moments and score enough points.
Q: Why kick the field goal with six minutes to play?
JG: Yeah, just to give us a chance coming back the other way, fourth-and-7. You know, make it a four-point game. They go ahead and kick a field goal coming back, you still have a chance to be in the game. We would get it back with just under three, with a chance to go win it. So just felt good about that decision, at that time.
Q: Considering how difficult it was offensively and how to get down there, you did the 59-yard play by Randall Cobb. Did you consider it at all to go for it there, maybe even pin them down?
JG: You consider all options, obviously in that situation. When it went to fourth-and-7, became a little bit more of a not quite as manageable as you would like it to be in that situation to go for it.
Q: Hypothetical, but if you had gotten 3 or 4 yards on third down there, would you have been more likely to go for it at that point?
JG: Yeah, obviously, if the fourth down is more manageable, you are more likely to go for it in that situation.
Q: Did you have an idea in mind of what it was, what a manageable fourth was there…
JG: Just a more manageable one, you know. Fourth-and-short…
Q: Third-and-1 turned into third-and-11, was there any talk there to run to get the first down? Why not run the ball there?
JG: Yeah, we had a run pass check in at that point, because of what they played. We threw it and converted the first down. And unfortunately, we had a tripping penalty that put us back.
Q: Do you still think that was the right decision, to kick the field goal?
JG: Obviously it didn't work out for us, unfortunately. So, I played it out and we had a great opportunity to go win the ballgame at the end. You know, in that situation, if they bleed the clock to end the game you don't get it back again. You know, that's one scenario. But when you get a chance to get the ball back, to go win the ballgame, you just want to give yourself that opportunity.
Q: The two tripping penalties, can you talk about those?
JG: I can't, I didn't really see them.
Q: What kind of affect did you think the conditions had on the performances of the offenses?
JG: Yeah, obviously it was a challenging day. It was windy, it was wet, the whole day. It was hard to handle the football, for the quarterbacks, for the receivers, the runners, on both sides. Both were playing in the same conditions. And so, you just had to battle through it and keep scratching and clawing. I do think as the game went on, we did a better job handling the ball. But you can't be quite as precise in your passing game, when the conditions are like this. You just have to develop a mudder's mentality, and somehow someway, get the job done. And I thought, for the most part, we were banging away and trying to do that.
Q: What happened on the blocked punt?
JG: I don't want to really comment until we see it on the tape.
Q: What about the delay on the punt before their last drive for the field goal?
JG: Yeah, the delay had something to do with the protection, what they were doing. Not having a returner. So we just wanted to make sure we were squared away against their rush. And then the one after that, we brought the outside guy in, the flyer in. And we snapped the ball quickly to combat it. So obviously want to handle those situations better.
Q: Falling behind early again, especially on the road in these conditions, did that make it even more difficult for you guys to overcome?
JG: Yeah, obviously you want to play well in the first half and you'd like to get ahead in the ballgame. That didn't happen today. I thought our guys did a good job battling back. With the blocked punt and the interception in the minus territory were big plays early on in the game that gave them their scoring opportunities. I thought our defense did a good job of making them drive the football throughout the game. Did a really good job of just slowing that offense down. Obviously, the quarterback is the best that ever was and they got a lot of really good players on that side of the ball. So, I thought the defense stepped up, really throughout the game. And unfortunately, we didn't do enough to score points to win it on our end.
Q: Was it strictly Stephon Gilmore on Amari Cooper today? Did they do anything different to take him out? It was the first time he didn't have a catch for you guys in a game?
JG: Yeah, I think they mixed that up. Certainly [Stephon] Gilmore was on him a lot. You know, they played different coverages throughout the game, so it probably wasn't on every play.
Q: On the kicking game, they seemed to do a lot of shorter kicks and kind of varied the length. What were they doing there and how were you responding to that?
JG: Yeah, again, the conditions were a factor. They were kicking it shorter and they were hard balls to catch. And in each of those situations, when they did kick it short, one time we fumbled it and one time we just didn't handle it. So, the wind and the weather was a factor. Again, we didn't handle the ball quite well enough in those situations and didn't put ourselves in favorable enough field position.
Q: How tough is it to drive on that defense in this weather?
JG: Yeah, certainly a challenge. It was a challenge for both offenses today. And again, I thought the defenses played well. It was that kind of a game, cold, rainy, tough conditions to handle the football. So, you just have to keep banging away and try to give yourself an opportunity to win the ballgame at the end.
Q: The two tripping penalties, was there any more emphasis on that?
JG: I've never seen that before.
Q: Does the stat that you have no wins against a team with a winning record, does it matter? Does it matter to be able to beat teams that have winning records, playoff bound teams?
JG: It really doesn't matter to us. Obviously this is a really good football team. I think they have won 20 games in a row in this building. And their history of success is well documented. So we knew it was going to be a great challenge today, and unfortunately we came up short.
QUARTERBACK DAK PRESCOTT
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Q: Can you talk about how difficult it was offensively tonight with the strength of New England's defense and the weather conditions?
DP: Yeah, it was tough. It was tough. It's a great defense, and as you said, the conditions. But none of that stuff matters. They made fewer mistakes than we did and they made a little bit more plays than we did, and that was the difference in the game.
Q: Did you think Amari Cooper caught that pass at the end of the game?
DP: Yeah, of course. Of course I thought he brought it in. I've got all of the confidence in him making those catches. I went and talked to him; he said he wasn't sure. Obviously, when you watch it, it was close, but it hit the ground.
Q: Did the weather compromise some of the passes you were able to make when you were going a certain direction? Were some passes taken out of the game plan because of the conditions?
DP: No, not really. I think I just struggled. I struggled early in those first few series before I put the gloves on. I couldn't get a real grip on the ball, I wasn't driving the ball and that's all me. That hurt the team. I missed some throws, obviously some wide open throws to convert third downs so that we could continue to move. I can't do that. I've got to put the gloves on earlier, figure something out. So, it wasn't anything like that. I eventually got it going.
Q: Why did you make the decision to not put the gloves on before the game?
DP: I just have never worn them; I've only worn them in practice before. It was cold when I wore them in practice. It wasn't raining and didn't feel like they did anything better than the bare hands, but I found out tonight with the rain, they're pretty helpful.
Q: Was it the missed throw to Randall Cobb that made you decide to put the gloves on?
DP: For sure. Yeah, for sure.
Q: Did that ball slip out of your hands on that play?
DP: Yeah, I just didn't have any confidence in driving it. It just got away from me and wasn't anywhere near him. At that point, it was, "Hey, I've got to do something. Give me those gloves." I put the gloves on, threw a couple of passes on the sideline and I was normal.
Q: The interception didn't seem to have anything to do with the weather. Was it just a late throw or why did that happen?
DP: I think it was a late throw and I didn't drive it. We can say whatever the reason is, I just didn't drive it. I didn't step into the throw, I sat on my back heel, threw it and he [Stephon Gilmore] made a great play undercutting it and it was a great catch. Great catch by him.
Q: One of the things New England does really well is take players away. Did they take Amari Cooper away today?
DP: I wouldn't say that. As I said earlier, they made a little bit more plays and fewer mistakes than we did. And we didn't make many, we didn't make many. It was just one of those games, just take what they give you on both sides of the ball, fighting the conditions on both sides of the ball, and they came out on top.
Q: What was your take on the decision to kick the field goal on fourth-and-7?
DP: Nothing, I'm not going against my coach right there.
Q: Can you talk about the play before that on third-and-7 and was that a situation where if you got a few yards on that play, maybe you would have gone for it there?
DP: The one to [Blake] Jarwin?
Q: Yes, the one to Jarwin in the back of the end zone.
DP: I mean, I don't know. I'm just playing the drive out right there. Obviously, we had just had a big play [47-yard pass to Randall Cobb], we're going. Nowhere in that situation did I go over there and discuss anything with the coaches. So, I'm not really sure. Maybe if we do get some yards right there, that happens, but I had confidence in making that throw to Jarwin. He almost got his feet down, and if he does, it's different.
Q: How much does this feel like a missed opportunity to be so close to beating a team this great?
DP: For sure it's a missed opportunity. From the whole team and then from myself, from this offense. We had the ball in our hands and that's all I can ask for – the ball in my hands with the game on the line and just didn't get it done. Simple as that, simple as that.
Q: What does it say about this team that you don't have any wins against teams with winning records? You haven't been able to get over the hump against playoff teams.
DP: Yeah, we've got to get over the hump, simple as that. Fortunately, in some way, we still control our destiny. So, that's the good part about it and we've just got to figure it out and beat some of these good teams to put ourselves in position to make it to that tournament and to be able to beat those teams then.
Q: Do you look at this as a five-game season now?
DP: Of course, of course. No, actually I look at it as a one-game season. We've got a quick turnaround. This thing is behind us, it's already behind me, it's behind this team. We'll be on tomorrow getting ready for the Bills. We've got a quick one coming up on Thursday and we can't have a hangover. We'll be ready and we'll be ready to go.
Q: Have you ever seen two tripping calls before?
DP: I haven't, no.
Q: Did they say anything to you at all –
DP: I mean, obviously, I'm not looking at the guys' feet, I'm not looking at them. My eyes are downfield, I throw the ball, see a flag, I don't know whether it's tripping, hands-to-the-face, holding or what. I'm just playing the play.
Q: Do you feel like all the borderline calls went against you today?
DP: That's been all season long so it's no surprise, it's nothing new. As I've said before and as I'll continue to say, I'm just going to play the play. That's my job, I'll let those guys do their job and that's for y'all to decide what they're doing or not.
Q: Jerry Jones described today as a "significant setback" and said you needed this win more than New England. Do you think it was a significant setback?
DP: No. Nope.
Q: Why not?
DP: Because that was a good team we played. That was a championship team we played right there. As I said, they made fewer mistakes than we did and more plays than we did. Once again, I'm going to bet on myself and my team every chance with the ball in my hands, with the ball in our hands on offense, with a chance to win the game. As I said, this one's behind us. We definitely can't say it's a setback or have a setback when we have a game here in four days. So, not at all is it a setback.
Q: Another slow start factors in, especially with the conditions and their defense. Does that make it harder on yourself than it needs to be?
DP: Yeah, we've got to figure it out. That's been our struggle all year long. The one game that we dominated, we obviously started fast. So, when we do that, we know what we can do and the team we can be. So, we've got to figure that out and just get going.
Q: You were backed up with poor field position all game. How tough is it to go against that defense with bad field position?
DP: Yeah, it's tough. That defense is good, they're well-coached, they don't make mistakes. You add the conditions, it was tough. We once again made mistakes that hurt ourselves on third down. It's always going to be tough to win a game, especially against a team like this on the road, in these conditions, when you're not making plays and executing and being clean.
Q: You mentioned they made fewer mistakes than you guys did. Is that an issue with coaching?
DP: No, not at all. I wouldn't say that interception I had, by any means, was on any coach. So no, sorry.
Q: How about the special teams miscues that you guys made?
DP: I'm on the sideline, looking at the iPad, not locked in necessarily on the special teams, worrying about the next series.
Q: You said that you made mistakes on third down again, but you have been the best third down team in the league. How different did it feel today to struggle so much on third down?
DP: Yeah, it was different. And that was the difference in the game. We didn't get to elongate these drives and continue to push field position or whatever it is. That's the difference. They did; we were backed up all game long. If we do, we back them up. And that's complementary football and we didn't do our job on offense tonight.
Q: Did the Patriots defense show you new looks or did they give you what you were expecting?
DP: For the most part, what we were expecting – nothing that they haven't done on film. It's just a good defense that's very well-coached, very disciplined, don't make many mistakes.
Q: What do you tell your defense after a day like this when they were pretty effective?
DP: Yeah, that's on me. That's on me first and that's on the offense. We've got to be better. They did a good job of giving us opportunities time after time, and we didn't capitalize.
Q: Do you feel like you guys are too talented to be a 6-5 football team?
DP: I'm not going to sit here and dwell on our record. We're a talented team; we've got confidence in ourselves. We're going to get back to it tomorrow and worry about the Bills on Thanksgiving.
Jerry Jones, Owner
(On the loss)
"The bottom line is that was a tough challenge. They know how to play this game, certainly in this weather. Their team was masterful, their coach was masterful. They did it on special teams and that wasn't an accident, that was by design. They knew how to pressure us on special teams. We have a lot of respect for their defense. We knew it was going to be a challenge for us and it was, probably exacerbated by the weather. It was a significant setback for our team. We needed this win, we needed a win against an opponent like this and we haven't had one."
(On the decision to kick the field goal late in the game)
"I don't know. I'm not going to second guess calls at this particular time. At the end of the day, we just got ourselves in this spot of where we need to win a game like this coming into New England at this time, where these New England Patriots are and how well they play here and how acclimated they are to weather. You really dug your hole back when you were playing the Jets. While we are disappointed and would have liked for some of those plays to go our way, that's what you get."
(On what he thought about the two tripping calls against the Cowboys)
"I don't want to go to those calls. We had plenty of opportunities to establish ourselves in all phases of the ball game. They won the special teams and they took it to us. When you come into New England on a day like today against this team and you need to win this to establish what you are about for the season, you have dealt yourself a pretty narrow window to come out of here smiling."
Amari Cooper, WR
(On the factor the weather played in the offense getting going)
"I don't know. Obviously, when it's raining, you can't do some of things you want to do in the passing game. You can't throw the ball as accurately. You saw a lot of drops out there from both teams. You can't catch the ball the way you want."
(On why he thought he only had two targets)
"Because it was raining, I think. We didn't throw the ball downfield how we would have liked."
(On whether he thought he caught the pass that was reversed)
"No, that wasn't a catch. It hit the ground and I knew it hit the ground. I gave it my best effort to catch the ball, I just came up short."
(On how close the team is to winning this type of game)
"We are only a drive away, as you could see."
Ezekiel Elliott, RB
(On the game)
"The defense played really well and we need to find a way to score touchdowns in the red zone. We have to play better."
(On kicking the field goal late in the fourth quarter)
"It was fourth-and-7 and the defensive was playing great all night. I didn't have a problem putting the game in their hands. We still ended up having an opportunity to go down and score after that."
(On the team not being able to finish)
"They [Patriots] are a good team and it was frustrating. We just have to find a way to score."
(On how close the team to beating the good teams)
"We are right there we have to go back to the drawing board, go back and watch film and figure out how to go and win this game on Thanksgiving."
(On the putting together a good passing and running game to together)
"It was terrible weather today. The fact that we threw the balls as well as we could today, I wouldn't say the passing game struggled. Even sometimes when I got the ball on a handoff it was moving around in my arms. We just have to find a way to win that game, that's all."
(On what the team can do better)
"I think we just have to play better. It just comes down to playing better and execute. We can't let ourselves get behind."
Travis Frederick, C
(On the difficulty of moving the ball in the weather)
"It provides a challenge but I think it provides an equal challenge for both sides. It's not like only one team plays in the weather. I think honestly, it is hard to really evaluate. We were able to move the ball some but not as much as we'd hoped. Whether the weather factored in that I'm not sure."
(On the Patriots defense)
"I think obviously they're a really talented defense. They played well. It's hard to evaluate the game as a whole without watching the film. Obviously we didn't do enough to get a win today."
(On the slow starts in all the loses this year)
"In general we've started slow, wins and loses. So obviously that's something we have to continue to improve on. When you play quality teams you have to be able to take advantage of every opportunity that you get the ball."
(On moving on to become better)
"I think it comes down to execution and being able to execute all the time. It's the plays that you don't execute well on that kill you. Football especially at this level is a game is a game of who makes the least mistakes; not necessarily who plays the best and who can capitalize on those mistakes."
Jeff Heath, S
(On playing with an injured shoulder)
"If I'm out there I'm just going to play like I'm not limited at all. I just want to be out there. I feel like I can play and I can make it through the game like I did today. So if I'm healthy enough that's the way it is."
(On the defense)
"I think we just need to find a way to take the ball. I think that's three games in a row that we haven't taken the ball away. You're playing a good team on the road and we give them the ball in the red zone with the muffed punt. Then they get the interception we have to make those plays that put the balance of the game in our direction. I obviously have to watch the film. I think we played solid, but just not good enough in terms of getting the ball."
(On giving up only one touchdown)
"It was a solid performance. But like I was saying, in a tough game on the road we need to figure out ways to get the ball and tip the balance of the game in our direction. We weren't able to do that, we had some opportunities we just weren't able to capitalize."
Byron Jones, CB
(On defending the Patriots offense with difficult field conditions)
"Sometimes it benefited us. There were a couple of dropped passes out there. But for the most part, it doesn't matter what the conditions are. We are trying to play and have fun. We knew it was going to be cold and it was going to be wet. So we prepared for it."
(On the stats not reflecting the final score)
"It was a hard-fought game. There is a reason that team is 10-1 and this is a tough place to come here and play. We had a good fight in this. The beautiful part about this is we have a quick turnaround and we play again on Thursday."
(On key to managing the week before Thanksgiving)
"It's mental preparation-a lot of meetings, a lot of walk throughs. There isn't much physical taxation. A lot of it is studying the plays and understanding what Buffalo's offense wants to do to us. Really just the mental preparation is a big component. A lot of film study."
(On if the best football is ahead for the Cowboys)
"Yeah, no question. The one thing this team has is fight. We don't give up on any point. We fight game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter but also week-to-week. We are team that is not going to go away. We are going to get our break soon, we just need to keep fighting."
DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
(On the team's defensive effort)
"It is all about the effort and the defense coming out and being strong and just trying to capitalize on different opportunities. We didn't get the job done at the end of the day so it's all about the boys picking their heads up and moving on to the next one."
(On how much you learn from a loss)
"It is all about the communication and a great team effort. We laid it all out on the line tonight and it is really about getting back in there and learning from it and getting better for this Thursday."
(On the weather)
"We can't sit here and blame it on the weather. Rain sleet, snow, and wind storm or if we are in the desert sand storm, it doesn't matter. It is all about going out and executing with your brothers and we did a hell of a job tonight but we didn't get the job done."
Sean Lee, LB
(On if he thought they would win holding New England to 13 points)
"Well, I know this, defensively there were plays that we left out there that we could have got off the field more. You know, obviously it's a tough team and margins are very small. So for us we will look at the defensive tape and be like, hey there were a lot of opportunities we could have made to get the ball, more turnovers, more plays."
(On if there is a re-occurring theme on the Cowboys slow starts)
"That is one of those things that sometimes you can't quite put your finger on. We come out and warm up right, we prepare right. We just have to find a way to make a four-quarter game. The best teams do that and if we want to be the best team we have to do that."
(On the weather and the elements)
"Both teams had to play in it. That is never an excuse."
(On special team issues)
"I just know as a team, everyone has to look at themselves. What can we do better individually to make plays and get over the hump. We play close games but it's time to take that next step and win games like this.
Dalton Schultz, TE
(On punt return miscommunication)
"Those are tough balls even when you are right underneath them. Sometimes they just pop out, you have to have perfect technique to take them down. Sometimes those things get lost in the rain too. As you're looking up you're getting hit in the face, and the ball gets lost. We'll get it straight there were some communication issues in the back end."
Jaylon Smith, LB
(On if he thinks they played well enough defensively to win)
"We didn't' win, so we didn't play well enough. We did a lot of great things in the game. I am very proud of our guys and how we competed. At the end of the day, it's a team game and they made fewer mistakes than we did."
(On how they get to the point where they don't beat themselves)
"I think it's complete concentration there. You know that is something we really dial ourselves in on but we have to live it through the week and then on Sunday, or in this case coming next week, Thursday. You have to really concentrate and dial in and do right. We weren't able to do that."
(On if the lack of complete concentration is on the coaching)
"Coaching? I am not a coach but I am a player. Players are on the field playing. We are the ones that make the mistakes or make the plays. For us, it's about looking in the mirror individually and collectively to see how we can continue to grow and be the team we know we are."
(On how close they are to putting it together)
"We are so close. So close. But talk is cheap and we have to produce and show it on game day."