What did the Dallas Cowboys coaches and players say after they beat the Washington Commanders 25-10 on Sunday at AT&T Stadium?
Here are all of the quotes from the Cowboys locker room, courtesy of the team public relations department:
Coach Mike McCarthy
On Dallas responding well in the games without Dak Prescott
“I think clearly the football team is keeping things in perspective. Clearly understanding this is a big division game and it’s just like every week, there are certain things you focus on as far as how you want to play, specific situations, and I think our players have just done a really good job of staying true to expectations of their particular role. What we’re trying to do as far as running the ball, our run defense. I thought in the first half they’d obviously had some run production. The message at half time was we better pick up the run defense. I thought our defense did a great job of that. Obviously, we are keeping our point totals down, 10 points. We were able to hit a couple big plays, I think we had three or four penalties for first downs from shot plays and so forth. I thought we did a nice job in the first half on third down, but not as well in the second half. Once again, you got the ebb and flow of the game, but the complimentary focus and the confidence that they have in one another, it’s definitely building each week and this is a very good home win for us.”
On Michael Gallup’s return
“With Michael you better be on your game, particularly vertically. It was good to get him in the flow of the rest of the offense. It was great to have him back and I think it’s obvious what he means to us, particularly our offensive perimeter.”
On Cooper Rush
“Cooper’s presence and the way he handles the in-game adjustments is really a real positive for us. I think clearly the way the game is called defensively; I thought they did a very good job challenging us with their run defense, they gave us a nickel-corner blitz that we haven’t seen much of, twice, but I thought he managed the downs and the distances. Didn’t overreact to it. Didn’t try to force the football and I thought he did a good job trying to stay on time, even when the down and distances were lopsided. At some points in that game, you think about the field position, we really didn’t get it flipped there until the fourth quarter. We had to put some heat on the punter. We had tremendous respect for him coming into the game. Field position, Cooper just staying the course, defense holding them to 10. A lot of good things to build off today.”
On the reaction of the team to Gallup’s touchdown
“I tell you, I know I talk about the locker room, and just the way these men are connected. One of the things last night in the team meeting, you know the highlight tape, just to see other players celebrate the other side of the ball. It’s something that really stood out in our clips last night and I think you obviously felt that again today. Just a reflection of the connection that this locker room has.”
On Trevon Diggs
“You just think of the two big fourth plays. Those are as good as turnovers. I thought Trevon was big tonight, yeah I think he’s kind of picked up where he left off.”
On Cooper Rush spreading the ball around
“I think it really starts back with the plan, he has an excellent understanding of the offense and the scheme, you know direction each week. At the end of the day, ball distribution is key. You have to get the ball to your playmakers, your perimeter players. We always talk about how we got to drive faster than 55, we’re looking for 55 touches whether it’s runs or catches with our perimeter group. Really, it’s either 55 plus or 75 percent of your plays that the ball needs to be distributed. I think he (Cooper) does an excellent job of that.”
On the importance of winning the turnover battle
“It’s definitely important. That formula has worked in the game of football for decades. Most people spend a lot of time on it, emphasize it and we obviously do. We take the extra time during the course of the week, particularly on Thursday practices and do the team fundamentals. At the end of the day, like we remind ourselves over and over again, the game is called football. It’s about the ball. You got to protect it, one guy carries it and the other 10 cover. When they have it, we have nine guys swarming to it and two guys containing. We got to make sure we are getting into position to strip it, obviously the turnover there in the fourth quarter was a huge play in the game.”
On sticking to the run game today
“I thought Kellen Moore did a nice job staying the course. When you’re not winning the down and the distance battle with your run game it definitely takes discipline. Obviously, we got a couple things we have to clean up, some adjustments that were made that we can learn from. We play these guys again down the road, these are things that we definitely need to get ready for next week in LA. I thought he (Kellen) did a really nice job of sticking with the run.”
On Connor McGovern
“I thought he did a nice job. Didn’t watch him a whole lot, I watched him early just to make sure he was good with his ankle and so forth. Yeah, it was great to have him back out there. He looked like he was in rhythm and had a solid game.”
On the importance of being 3-1 going into Los Angeles
“September football is a different type of football, I think that’s been evident here probably the last 10 or 11 years in my opinion. So, there are things you have to try to focus on more this time of year than others. Most importantly is you got to find ways to win. I think the fact that we’ve recognized and committed to it. The players are doing an excellent job, once again it’s all about expectations and just staying persistent. Not trying to do much. Defense keeping the point totals down has given us some great opportunity to try to go the long way on offense, not feeling like we have to be wide open and explosive. Obviously, that’s where we were last year, we’ll build back towards that. This is the way we need to play right now, and it’s been very effective for us through the month of September.”
On what’s been done in practice that’s helped the discipline of the team
“It’s why you do the fundamental drills, that’s why you spend so much time on the technique, we’re fortunate where all these drills are videotaped, you can just keep coaching if you’ve got extra time. This was a difficult week, we were on a short week. Just staying after our process, the way we train and the way we work. We’ve had some penalties, we have young players that the numbers are a little high, particularly in the discipline and the pre-snap areas. It’s part of our evaluation, every day we’ve just to got to keep working at it.”
On DaRon Bland
“I think you’re just seeing what we see every day from DaRon. What a fine young player. You could just see it in training camp. He’s picked up the system seamlessly, beyond his years. Maturity wise, he’s done an excellent job on special teams. It was great to see him step up today with his opportunities. I was very proud of him today.”
On four games to start the season allowing 19 points or less
“It’s very difficult. We all talk about 17 or less as a goal, but we all know how the rules have changed in the last 10 to 12 years. Particularly with more space and so forth. I think it’s a real credit to our coaches and our players. You can see this really building in the second half of the season last year. As we stated throughout the OTAs and the training camp, this is a group that has a complete understanding of how we want to play. We’ve got a lot of depth, love their competitive spirit, just like anything we made some corrections at halftime. They came out and did a great job particularly with our run defense in the second half. That tells us something about the group. They have a lot of pride and once again, they want to be coached. It’s just like anything, rushing the passer is a privilege. That’s why run defense is so important and our guys really get that.
Quarterback Cooper Rush
On third downs today
“A couple of key third downs there. MG (Michael Gallup) catches the 3rd and 8 ball that gets us going where we found some rhythm. That penalty kept us alive; those are huge. Once we get momentum we just have to stay ahead of the chains. We can feel it as an offense. We have players everywhere that can run the ball and that’s a big draw.”
On Michael Gallup’s impact in first game back
“It’s exactly what you would expect from him. He looked like Mike Gallup. He had a big time play run in the back of the endzone and got open. A big time third down, like I said earlier. During the holding call, he beats the guy off the line right away and he’s gone. Big time player and I’m really happy for him. It was big for him to go back out there and say I’m still Michael Gallup by making plays and that’s really going to help us.”
On defense’s ability to keep them in the game
“They’re the reason we are winning. It’s just plain and simple, 10 points in the NFL is pretty impressive. They had really good field position all day and our defense just kept them out of the endzone. As an offense, knowing that they have your back like that is huge. That’s one of their messages, “we have everyone’s back”.
On Michaels Gallup’s touch down
“We always do the scramble drill, it’s a staple. He’s caught a lot of touchdowns like that over the years like when Daks hit him on the back line on a scramble. I just came out and saw CeeDee (Lamb) there and kind of behind him, 13 was hauling. He just finds the window. He did a great job running and left himself some room back there to get his feet down. Just a classic MG (Michael Gallup) play.”
On attempts today
“You know they are going to stop our run game and we were able to get some big play action passes down the field today. They have a really good front; that front is as good as it gets. We knew it was going to be a tough challenge running, but we stuck with it, and it opened up some of the deeper shot plays, like Noah down the middle. Everything is based off the run game, and we got to keep running.”
On his perfect, 4-0, starting record as an NFL quarterback
“It’s been fun, I try to enjoy it. The NFL doesn’t let you enjoy much. You got to go in week in and week out and play. You guys saw today with the defense, and all the breaks we catch, it’s just kind of lucky. QB win stats, they are what they are. It’s a team game. You know, it’s nice to have the defense have our back like that. We had some special teams plays, Bret making kicks and we did just enough offense.”
On luckiness of interceptions being called back
“We knew that was holding right away, the one on TP (Tony Pollard), we knew that. Had to get rid of that one too because we were in the endzone. We like the matchup, it was a good call by Kellen (Moore), we had. The other one, yeah, they caught us on third down and that was a bad decision by me, but it was lucky.”
On what the team did best today
“I think our downfield accuracy was good. We were able to get Noah (Brown) down the middle and hit CeeDee (Lamb) on intermediate routes a couple of times. We were able to just get chunk plays out of the play action game and the passing game to get us going and get into field goal range a few times. We did a good job not getting out of field goal range, no holding penalties, and no negative plays. We have a lot to improve on, myself, definitely, I missed a lot of throws.”
On toughness of going back to being the backup
“You just enjoy playing ball. Like you said, you don’t get to start every week as the backup. That’s why you’re there, you just want to do your job. You really enjoy it and its fun being with those guys. We have a heck of a team and great locker room, so you cherish it all. When your number is called, you keep playing.”
On the team defining their identity this season
“Yeah, it’s a close group and a great locker room like I said. On offense, we know what we have over there on defense, you known we’ve seen it, everyone seen it. Just do your job, just keep getting points on the board with every drive, whether it be a field goal or touch down just keep making plays. You know we are going to be all right because that defense is playing really well.”
On his opportunity to start so far
“It’s been huge, that’s why you play the game. Since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to start in the NFL. Being able to do that for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoons is pretty awesome. We are back to work this week. We have a really good opponent in LA. You can cherish it for a second but it’s the NFL, its right back at it.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott
On the resilience that he team has shown in the last three games…
I think it shows the grit and the mentality of this team. We’ve had to grind it out and none of it has been pretty, but we scratch and claw and find a way to get a win.
On what the team has learned about themselves.
We’ve shown the past three weeks, we started off the season little slow. We didn’t play well the first game but since then we’ve played some really good complimentary football.
On the chances of getting Dak Prescott back next week…
We would definitely love to have (No.) 4 (Dak Prescott) back. I don’t know if he’ll be available or not, but we’ll be ready regardless.
On Cooper Rush’s play and Dak Prescott returning…
“I think we’re blessed. We’ve got a backup who doesn’t necessarily have to feel the pressure. We would love to have Dak back; we would love him to be back on the field, but we want to bring him back safely. We don’t want to risk him going out there and getting hurt again and losing him for the whole season. Coop has been balling out, he’s been leading us. Until Dak is really ready, there’s no pressure.
On the dynamic between the running game and passing game the last three games…
When you run the football and open up the play-action, our receivers are good enough to get open in those one-on-one situations. You saw that today; you saw the play-action. We got three PI’s, a couple of deep balls. We’ve got to make sure that we continue to commit to the run just so that play-action will work.
On interacting with little kids and fans on the sideline…
I think Coach (Urban) Meyer taught me at Ohio State, he used to say, “always be someone’s shining light.” Basically, all that means is that you never know the impact of taking 30 seconds or two minutes out of your day, how that’s going to impact the next individual.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb
On getting Michael Gallup back today…
Crucial. He’s a crucial piece to this offense. We’re just trying to build this puzzle and he’s a very importance piece. We’ve got a couple more to go.
On a difference of how he’s guarded with Gallup back playing…
A little bit. He helped out a lot. I got a lot more one-on-one matchups. They kind of played it more honest. As you can see, Noah (Brown) and him both were explosive today. It was a great offensive day.”
On how much Michael Gallup means to the team…
I said it earlier in the week, if you don’t account for him, he’s going to have a day. Obviously, he didn’t have 100 yards, but he did get a touchdown. I’m happy for my man and can’t wait for the celebration.
On how the team has bounced back…
It speaks volumes of us. We’re very deep. We play for one another. We’re very resilient. All we can do is keep building this wall, brick by brick, and just keep going.
On the quarterback situation…
I feel like in a situation like this, it’s a hit or miss. If Coop lost all three games, that would give it a whole different narrative. In a situation like this, Dak can’t win, but when he comes back, he’s going to win. I’m proud of Coop. I’m proud of Dak for keeping his composure and everything and understanding that he’s got a great group of guys and brothers that are going to play for him.
On Cooper Rush’s nickname…
Cooper Clutch. I’ve seen that a couple of times, so I like that.
Wide receiver Michael Gallup
On how excited he is to play with Dak again…
Man. I mean whoever is out there throwing the ball, when Dak gets back out there… I love it. I love it. I’m going to make you look good, I’m going to make you right.
On if he had any jitters and what the difference was this week from last week…
I definitely had jitters. You’re supposed to. But I felt way better this week just from a mental aspect.
On a better return by finishing with a touchdown…
Nah. I could’ve had two.
On being out there with CeeDee and what he created for him…
I mean he went for nine receptions and for like 130 (yards), he did good. Somebody is going to get doubled and somebody else is going to catch the ball. It’s just what it is, we know that. I actually owe CeeDee some money because he got more YAC than I did but we won’t talk about that.
On it being nine months from his knee injury and it being a full-circle moment scoring today…
Yeah definitely. I’ve been envisioning it ever since I got hurt, it’s like when I came back, I need to make a statement.
Linebacker Micah Parsons
On defense setting the tone and you as the pinnacle of it…
That just goes into the team effort that we’re putting in and the standard that we set every week on how we’re going to play defense. I’ll repeat it again. I think we’ve really got a chance to be the best defensive team in this league. The way we prepare and the way we calculate; the players we have…everyone’s hungry out here. And I think that’s just been the key. Everyone’s just been relentless, everyone’s been trying to take their chances and their shots.
On grading yourself this season..
I started off good, but right now I’ve got to finish. I let too many plays get away from me today where I could have finished on the quarterback. That type of stuff can’t happen; what a best player would do. I do think that I’ve been able to help my teammates get better. This defense has been getting better every week. That’s the plus side and that’s what it’s about though. I’ve got to finish my plays for this team though.
Do you see this defense getting better every week?
Yes. I mean, look at it. You see the numbers. It went form nineteen, to seventeen…what did we do last week? What was last week?
Sixteen, ten. So next week: seven. You know what I’m saying? That’s the type of standard, and [we’re] hungry. Every week we’ve got to (keep) getting better. Each step we’ve go to keep getting better.
Corner back Trevon Diggs
On what’s happening with this team…
I feel like we’re just clicking. The chemistry is good; we played with each other last year, and you know, offense is doing a good job; new quarterback and stuff. They’re picking it up and clicking. Everything is finally coming together. We’ve just got to keep doing it. Keep doing the team chemistry and keep moving forward.
On having Gallup back today and what it did for the team…
Good. It opened up the offense a lot…got a lot of points on the board. You know, defense just doing our job and getting them ball back and letting them go to work.
Defensive lineman Neville Gallimore
On every player on defense making their presence known…
Absolutely, and it just goes back to, it’s the things we harp on at practice and [in] our day to day. That’s kind of our mentality going into the game. We know that every time we step on the field we have an opportunity to change a game. And that’s just kind of our mindset [when] we go into it. And that’s our mindset across the board.
On the first week and coming together because of that adversity…
Absolutely. And you know, again, it’s a part of the process and we know at the end of the day, every week, we just try to make sure we’re at our best. We want to compete. We want to showcase what our defense has been putting into practice and showing that on the field today. And just like that, we got a good win against a good team. We can take it in a day, but tomorrow it’s back to work.
On the ceiling for this team…
I feel like there is no ceiling. At the end of the day, we know what we’ve got in that room. Again, it’s just an opportunity that we’ve got to use to get that much better. We’re not nearly where we want to be yet, but we’re getting there.