On whether the players’ tackling habits can be fixed: "I don’t think it’s bad tackling. There are players that are going to miss tackles that are good tacklers and then there are some players that aren’t just good tacklers and you can fix that with fundamentals. You can fix that with attitude. Attitude is the main thing."
On whether the tackling issues can be fixed this late in the season: "Your attitude should be the same all the time. I mean, you can have the right drive and mindset (and) miss a tackle, but you’ve got to have body control. You’ve got have fundamentals and you’ve got to be able to tackle."
On the play of Cowboys QB Tony Romo this season: "Romo, even back when I was there, he was always a heck of a player. He throws for a bunch of yards, he can get hot at anytime and I don’t see him struggling as much as everybody else sees it. I don’t see what (everyone sees) when I’m in front of him and, just looking at him on film, I think he’s doing a good job."
On how much insight he has on Romo’s tendencies from his time in Dallas: "Not much. Everybody has their system and their offense. There are things he likes to do and we’ve grown. It’s been five years-plus, so he’s grown as a quarterback and I’ve grown as a coach, so not many tendencies to take from that."
On whether he sees a different attitude from the team after halftime: "I just think we have to come out early and make more plays. In the second half, it kind of calms down and everybody’s where they need to be. I think everybody’s pressing too hard. Everybody just needs to do their job and we need to just make our plays when they present themselves to our positions."
On why the defense is pressing: "Just trying to make a play and sometimes when you’re trying to make a play, you’re trying to do too much instead of doing your own job. You’re trying to help somebody else and then that jeopardizes your own position."
On the play of S
On whether the team has to guard against the attitude of not being able to finish tackles: "No, you don’t have to guard against attitude. Tackling is attitude. Our guys have the right attitude; that’s not the (issue). It’s just a matter of body positioning and getting in the right position to make the play."
On struggling to have multiple players around the ball carrier in the running game: "Well, against Atlanta, we actually had more gang tackles than we had all year. As a group last week, we didn’t have as many getting to the ball or getting off blocks. We’ve got to get off blocks. We can’t be satisfied and standing in our gaps. Once we get in our gaps, we’ve got to use our hands, we’ve got to play sound football and we’ve got to get off on blocks."
On how difficult it is to devise a plan to contain Cowboys TE Jason Witten: "Many have tried; many have failed. He is a future hall of famer and another tough tight end this week. We faced (Atlanta TE Tony) Gonzalez, we’ve got Witten. We’ve got a bunch of guys coming up that can play football, so he’s tough. You’ve just got to try to slow him down. You’ve got to try to hope he has a bad day and things fall your way."
On why he believes offenses are trying to use quick passes more against the defense: "Well, we have fast corners, number one, and we have a fast rushing front four. It’s not a matter of them throwing in the flats; it’s a matter of us making the tackle once the ball gets in the flat. We know where it’s going. We have to make the play."
On whether he has noticed an increase in short throws in the flat against this defense: "I don’t think it was specifically. I thought there were plays where there were check downs. When guys weren’t open, the ball was checked down, but I didn’t think it was devised overall. Not enough to say that they were doing that against us."
On how close DE
On how disappointing the last several weeks have been: "Well, for us, it’s disappointing because we lost, number one. And number two, we’re playing hard and making plays and then have plays in each game that we’re not finishing either in the first quarter or we’re not finishing in the fourth quarter. We can’t have the same mistakes creep up every week and we’ve got to rectify that. So, from that part, it’s a little disappointing, but we’ve got the guys in this room that can turn it around."
On whether the defensive struggles over the past several weeks is indicative of an adjustment period with a new defensive coordinator: "No, I don’t think so. They’re going to tackle, no matter what. They’ve got on the pads and they’ve got on the uniform. I’m the coach and I’ve been the coach before with the change and the adjustment. We just have to play. We don’t have any excuses. We have to play."
On whether he is seeing any signs of the struggles on game day during practice leading up to the games: "I thought we practiced very well. It just has to carry over to the game."
On whether it is an unfair perception that the defense has gotten worse as the season progresses: "I don’t know whether it’s perception or non-perception. I just know I have a job to do (to) get the guys better and we all have a job to do on defense. The players themselves and the coaches themselves, we all have to get better."