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Quotable: Head Coach Mike Smith


Opening Statement:
"We did some very uncharacteristic things yesterday. In most games, if you turn the ball over three times, have the quarterback sacked four times, give up two explosive touchdowns on offense, and have a punt return, you're not going to have a positive result. We started fast yesterday in all three phases. We took the opening drive and went 80 yards in 16 plays, and went up 7-0. We kicked the ball off, had a tackle inside the 20, had two three-and-outs on the defensive side of the ball and after the first quarter we were not able to sustain that. We really struggled after the first quarter. We've got to be able to sustain the level of play to be successful in this League. Again, it's my responsibility as the head coach to make sure we do. We did not get that done yesterday. To start that fast in all three phases, and then have the level of play go down, I take full responsibility for that."

Q. Have you watched the film enough to be able to point to a few reasons why that was the case?A. "We didn't play very well on the offensive side of the ball. We moved it down the field 80 yards to start it and from that point on we weren't able to move it again until the first drive of the second half. We didn't tackle well on defense. We need to tackle better and we need to put our guys in better positions. We had a plan to execute certain things, and we didn't execute them or work the plan like we needed to."

Q. When the team wasn't able to put pressure on Tony Romo, how big of a role did that play?
A. "Anytime you give up passing yards in a quarterback rating of 141 that Tony had, the first thing everyone is going to do is plunk your secondary. I've said it many times, but it is team defense. We were not able to generate any pass rush with our four-man pressures, and when you don't do that, the quarterback can sit back there on the spot and have time to throw the ball, they're going to complete throws. That did occur yesterday. It's going to very important moving forward that we get pressure on the quarterback. We went into this game in our game plan to make sure they did not run the football on us. They have been running the ball at a clip of 161 yards per game, and we felt like that was going to be the way that they were going to attack us. I felt that, barring the quarterback scrambles, that we did a nice job stopping the run. We gave up way too many passing yards. Again, that's not necessarily on one group; that is a team unit that has to go out there and perform. We did not do that. I think we didn't help them either."

Q. Would you contemplate any lineup changes?
A. "Yes we will evaluate week to week and we're always contemplating changes if we feel like they will help us. We're going to take a good, hard look the rest of the day and before we get into New Orleans. We have an extra day this week; it's an eight-day week this week. It's a great opportunity as a staff to make some personnel evaluations. If we feel they're warranted we will make changes, but that's no different than any other week."

Q. You never make excuses for injuries, but how are the injuries to Jerious Norwood and Ovie Mughelli impacting what you guys would like to do for the running game?A. "We have a motto: no excuses. We're going to put healthy players that we have available to us, and they're going to have to step up and make plays. Anytime you don't have your front players, it is a concern. You have to go in and be prepared that the guys that are in there are going to make plays. Jason Snelling ran the ball very effectively yesterday with a clip of over seven yards per carry. Again, we would always like to have the guys we have at the start of the season, but that's not possible in the NFL. There are going to be injuries and the dynamics of a roster are going to change from week to week."

Q. Do you think that Jason Snelling's role could be expanded?
A. "Well if he continues to run the ball the like that, yes. He ran the ball very effectively, and we talked about Jason Snelling over the last three weeks. He's a guy that's come in and played fullback and the tailback position as well. Every time Jason has gotten an opportunity, he has played very efficiently and he could warrant more touches."

Q. Does the extra day before New Orleans help?
A. "Well, yes it does. That was a very physical game that we played against the Cowboys. We played two very physical games prior to that against the 49ers and Bears, so the eighth day in the week will be very beneficial. It will also be very beneficial for us in regard to our game planning both offensively and defensively. We know what they're doing offensively. They're running up the scoreboard, they're doing a great job with their quarterback throwing the ball, and they also have a very strong running game. Defensively they are a pressure defense. They will put pressure on the quarterback. It comes at the right time for us in terms of preparation because of the two reasons."

Q. Do you have any injury updates?
A. "We came out of that game with some guys banged up. We'll just wait until Thursday, which will be the day that we will be able to give an injury report because of the Monday night game."

Q. You mentioned you need to work more on tackling. At this level, how do you do that?
A. "It's hard to go out there and tackle one another at practice because these are big, strong guys and they can't be running into each other. You have to break the technique of tackling down and you have to work on it against sleds or work on it in a half speed mode. A lot of the technique is really vision and speed. You have to sight your target and you have to run your feet through the tackle. I think that's something we need to stress for our football team. You're tackling someone that's most of the time moving forward and moving towards you. You have to be able to move your feet and sight your target because the good backs and the good receivers are going to take their body away if they see you coming."

Q. There were some tensions with Keith Brooking. Did he approach you after the game?
A. "No, I did not see Keith after the game. I spoke with Coach (Wade) Phillips and Dave Campo who worked with me in Jacksonville as my Defensive Backs Coach. Those were the only two guys. Usually after the game, win or lose, I try to get off that field as quick as possible."

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