"Moving on to this game, this is certainly a top defense in this league. They are playing a heck of a lot better than they were last year. They’ve got some different personnel and they have another year in the scheme. They are playing just a little bit differently as well. One of the top fronts in this league, a lot of young linebackers who are playing very well, and some of the top cover men back in the secondary. We’re going to fight and scratch and claw for everything that we get now and we’re going to have to earn it. That’s our players’ mentality."
On how the Cowboys are playing different defensively this year: "I’m not going to get into too many specifics here. However, they have certainly made some personnel adjustments there and they are trusting those guys. They are playing very, very well. It’s enabling them to do some different things on defense."
On how it is possible for an offense to have one out of 19 red zone plays go for positive yardage: "I will tell you there were some problems. We had problems in the field, too, but we were able to overcome them. If you’re not playing with a great precision down in the red zone, then you get into those types of situations. All 11 players have to play fast and precise down in the red zone. Things are happening quickly. They have the 12th man and I’m talking about the end-line, so things are happening quick. I will tell you that the players are working very, very hard to get that thing straightened out."
On what QB
On why they have had limited success using an empty backfield: "Well, it’s been different situations in each of those. We do some empty stuff, and we’ve been pretty good at it in the past. I have felt it was one of our strengths up until the last ballgame. We knew several people and the players have to do the right thing with precision."
On whether Mornhinweg thinks they have done well with an empty backfield previously this season: "Yeah, we’ve had some very, very good plays. Now, sometimes we line them up and sometimes we motion a guy or shift a guy."
On whether he has to alter a game plan to fit around Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware: "That’s right. DeMarcus Ware can absolutely wreck a game if you allow him to. He is one of those special players – one of the best that has ever played. Then, I talked about their front. It’s certainly one of the great fronts in this league at this time. He’s a big reason for that. They have some other players that are playing lights out as well."
On Mornhinweg’s concern for the offensive line: "We have lost four men up front. However, the four men who have replaced them are working diligently. They’re talented. We acquired them and they were here because we think that they can help us. The situations, some of them have a little experience. Playing, some of them a little experience – playing together. They’re getting better every day, both as a group and as a unit every day, and good things tend to happen."
On whether Mornhinweg is looking to change anything with confusion up front: "We had a couple of those. Some of that is simple communication and experience playing together. You’re right, I’ve looked at that very, very closely and our staff has looked at exactly how we should proceed forward schematically to playing to our players’ strengths and staying away from some of the weaknesses. Some of the weaknesses right now are simply a lack of experience of playing together."
On whether there are ways for the offense to work around a lack of experience on the offensive line: "There are. We tried to utilize it with some moderate success. We did move the ball up and down the field. It just wasn’t consistent enough with all of the different things we are doing in that ballgame. I don’t want to get into too many specifics in what exactly we were doing and what we’re trying to do. Certainly, I don’t want to get into too many specifics but you’re exactly right. We do have to play just a little bit differently that way."
On whether G
On how Menkin has progressed: "Very good."
On whether he is ready to play: "He could go, absolutely. He could go in and play. I have great confidence in him."
On whether he was ready to play a few weeks ago: "That would have been a little bit of a stretch, but he’s getting better every day and becoming more comfortable with the terminology and the system."
On whether there is enough time for the offensive line to jell given the team’s record: "Look, we’re going to fight, scratch, and claw like I said earlier. We’re going to try to put our players in the best situation possible against this defense. This is a fine, fine defense. None of our focus is on the past, which is important to learn from, or the future, which is important to plan for. All of our focus is on the Dallas Cowboys. It’s just that simple. Whatever we need to do to get this thing done with Dallas coming in here."
On whether the offensive line is more effective at run blocking or pass blocking: "We’ve been quite up and down as a whole football team running and passing. It’s just that simple. We ran the ball very well but then situationally, we didn’t. We’ve thrown the ball very well, but our consistency has gone up and down as well. As far as pass blocking and run blocking, each one of the five have different strengths there."
On whether OL
On the Cowboys linebacker situation after they lost MLB Sean Lee: "He is a fine, fine player. I’m sure that they will miss him. However, they have some excellent young players who are playing lights out as well. You put the linebackers behind the front that they have and it allows them to move and groove a little bit. I’m sure that they have some pretty good confidence in their defensive structure there."
On whether they would have been more effective in the red zone had they run the ball more: "Yeah, and looking back on it, probably. The one after the turnover on the special teams route, we had just gotten back into it by scoring and we wanted to go after them. We wanted to be aggressive that whole game. They covered that play pretty well. Mike ran for some yards there, but that first play wasn’t very good. I certainly could’ve run the ball. After the turnover, I just wanted to be aggressive and certainly could have run the ball there."
On how he evaluates Vick’s play against New Orleans: "A gutty performance, I’d tell you. Everybody on our sideline thought we were going to climb right in that thing and have a chance to win it. We just didn’t get it done. Our players understand the reasons, and are working diligently to get that back. I’m not going to grade Mike or tell you what the specifics are, but he is a tough, tough guy both mentally and physically. I will tell you this: you have to get the whole offense jelling - the run game, the pass game, protection, and all that - for a quarterback to have great success on a consistent basis. All of that is my responsibility and I take that responsibility very seriously. We are going to do whatever we have to do to play into our players’ strengths to put him in a little bit better spot to have some success."