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FS Brian Dawkins

On how it would affect the team if they find out before the game that they are eliminated: "It shouldn't affect us either way. Last time I checked, we still have a game to play, regardless of what happens. If you take away all that other stuff, we have a Dallas game. Last time I checked, Dallas is not a team that this city likes. This is not a 'what if' situation; this is a game that needs to be played. My focus is to go out and play the game and not worry about anything but winning this football game."

On whether he thinks the rest of the team matched his intensity on Sunday:"I don't know. I go out and play a certain way. Sometimes my emotions even go higher than usual. To be honest with you, I don't know if everybody could handle that. I can barely contain it sometimes. I'm just being real with you the way that I feel. That will be the same thing you'll see this Sunday—the same exact energy. With everything that needs to happen in this game, everything that is in my power, I will do what I can."

On whether the contract situations of himself and other players will affect anything on Sunday: "No. That stuff will be handled when the season is over with. It is my job to go out and do my job. My job this Sunday is against the Dallas Cowboys. As much as all those other things will be important at some point, the most important thing for me right now is the Dallas Cowboys. I really can't state that any other way. I'm dead serious about it. It's the Dallas Cowboys. All the other stuff will take care of itself. We will find out what we find out after the game. My focus is squarely on beating this team."

On whether human nature makes it hard to just focus on the game:"I've been playing this game long enough that thoughts that will tend to creep, they don't stay. I am able to direct myself on the task at hand. That's preparing for a very desperate team. I love playing in these games, so that's going to be even added to it. I love playing in these games like this."

On how Cowboys QB Tony Romo has looked on film over the last couple of weeks:"He still is making some of the throws he needs to make—pumping one way and going the other with the ball and making throws. Obviously, he has missed some passes and thrown some errant passes down the middle. Those are some of the things that he does. He just takes chances that way. I don't think it's because of his back, I think that's just him. He is just one of those, as they call it, gunslinger mentalities. He is going to take chances. From everything that I see, he still is able to put the ball where it needs to be."

On whether it is frustrating to know that a couple yards here or there in certain games is the difference between making the playoffs and not: "That wouldn't help anything, so I don't even need to think about that. You go ahead and play ball. We'll have time to reflect on all that stuff when the season is over with. I'm not saying it's going to be over this Sunday. When it's all over with, we can have these discussions."

On whether he thinks Romo is affected by outside criticism by the media: "I couldn't care less. Either way, I couldn't care less."

On how teams react when he drops down into the box: "It depends on the team. Some teams are going to run the ball regardless. They'll make the adjustments, once you show what side you're coming down to, and then they'll make the adjustment to their blocking scheme and they'll run the ball. Other teams will get out of it and throw the ball. It depends on your philosophy, as a team."

On whether teams still come right at him even though he's playing in the box: "They'll still run the ball. Like I said, it depends on the mindset of that team. At the beginning of the season, or training camp, you know what the mindset of your team is. Some say 'We're going to go outside to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.' Others teams are going to say 'You know what? We're going to come right at you and punch you in the mouth.' It depends on your mindset."

On how the defense is playing right now: "I think we've been doing some good things. I think that, obviously, you want to play the perfect game, but I don't think there will ever be a perfect game. You're going to always make mistakes and the other team is getting paid and they have stars and they're going to always make plays. We understand that, but I think, what we've been able to do is, the things we were doing earlier in the season, we were making too many mental mistakes, too many mental mistakes and it was giving teams big plays.

"We haven't been doing that. We've been playing very aggressive and those guys up front have been flat out getting after them and it's making our jobs in the secondary a lot easier. We come up and help every once in a while, but, for the most part, those guys have been shutting it down. It makes our job that much more easy. We know who we are, as a defense. Everybody knows their role and we've been just trying to go out to keep the points off the board. That's what we set out to do anyway, but I think we've been able to do that, like you said, just these last couple of games here."

On whether it would be tough for this defense to not make the playoffs:"It's tough to swallow regardless, not being in the playoffs. My thoughts are positive on moving forward and beating the Dallas Cowboys. That's what I'm thinking about and, like I said, whatever happens after that, happens."

On whether the loss at Washington blindsided him:"A lot of mistakes were made in that game that, obviously, were unforeseen. Going into the game, I felt very confident that we were going to go out and do what we were supposed to do and win that game. We didn't. A lot of mistakes were made and those guys that looked at the film, I'm pretty sure, understood that mistakes were made; defensively also. We'll go into this game and see what we're made of against a veteran team, like I said earlier. There's going to be some big hits, some big hits, big plays and it's going to be a lot of fun."

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