Bengals-Cowboys Postgame Quotes

Posted Aug 24, 2013


AUGUST 24, 2013


Opening statement:
“I thought when we started the game we did some good things. We had a good stop defensively, three and out. We had a good drive offensively, but laid the ball on the ground. You can’t win football games turning the ball over ... you can’t have that. We had two with our first offensive group in there. We had another one there with Cobi and one at the end of the game. You have a difficult time beating anybody. Defensively, winning on third down ended up being the essence of the first down. We couldn’t control the ball because they converted third downs. Now, we can quit having all that smoke puffed up our butts and we can get to work. There were some bright spots during the game. We did some things well. But not enough, long enough.”

On the punt return:
“Brandon’s been here with us. We expect Brandon to make plays like, which is good…He’s done a good job. He took another step and that’s what we need. We have a lot of guys who can be pretty good at returning the ball. But we have to win on third down to get more opportunities. ”

On Andy Dalton’s interception:
“He’s counting on everybody to work right and match up better. We didn’t get there to make a play on the ball and they did. But I thought Andy did a good job. I thought he handled things pretty well. He didn’t have enough snaps in the first half so we brought him out for some more snaps in the third quarter and he was pretty efficient with it.” “We’ve got to get to work and get our guys wind going to get ready for the opener. I thought it was a positive for the defense as they had to stay out there for a couple of long drives…Hopefully, those are good opportunities for our defensive plays to blows their pipes out pretty good.”

On defensive backups getting to play:
“It’s what we needed to have. I think Dre (Kirkpatrikc), Sean (Porter), those guys need to play like that. They got to put in battle still. Brandon Thompson, Margus (Hunt), that group of backup players need to be pushed into the action like that. That was good. I thought we started running it pretty well. We’ve got to keep going. It’ll be interesting to see the tape. We just turned the ball over. When you turn the ball over, you’re not going to win. It’s easy. When you’ve got the ball inside the five yard line, let’s possess the football. Don’t turn the ball over. Don’t force the ball and get where we belong on the interception. Convert the third downs. We’ve got to convert the third downs. That’s the key to winning football.”

On the first loss:
“It doesn’t matter if we needed it or not. We got it. We’ve got to build from it. We’ll learn from it and move forward.”


On the game:
“There were some good things and there we some things we didn’t do very well. I thought we came out on offense with the first drive, we moved the ball right down the field and had the turnover. I think turnovers hurt us tonight. That’s something we obviously we need to get fixed. We can’t turn the ball over. When you lose the turnover battle, you’re more than likely going to lose the game. There were some good things wedged in there. But the bad outweighed the good tonight. The fact we hurt ourselves is the biggest thing. In the first half, we never really had the ball. ... We’ve got to find ways to convert on third down. We have to find ways to pick up those extra yards. It will be a good tape to learn from.”

On his interception:
“They were in a two man look. We tried to get a shot down the middle. The guy made a good play on it. I could have been a little bit late, I need to watch it again on tape. But the guy made a good play. We moved the ball right down the field. We got all the looks that we wanted. We came so close. We picked up a big third down and ended up fumbling. We can’t do that if we’re going to win games. You can look at all the bad, but there are still some good stuff mixed in there. We did move the ball well, but didn’t get any points to show from it. That’s what we have to figure out. We have to find ways to get points and score touchdowns. We got close down there, but didn’t get it done.”

On A.J. Green’s strong performance:
“It’s what I expect.”

On similarities between Dallas and Chicago:
“It’s good for guys to start seeing some of these looks that we’ll be playing in Week 1. We can go from there. I think there’s a lot to learn from this tape. We were put in a lot of situations. There’s some good things that happened for us. This tape is going to be really good for us to look at.”


On the pressure on the Dallas quarterbacks:
“The first half was difficult because of the way the tackle played. He was really physical and I wasn’t able to compete with that. It took me a while to get into the groove. Eventually in the second half I was able to take what we have practiced all week and put it into the game. I was able to put some pressure and punch away. I was close to another one [a second sack].”

On the time the defense spent on the field:
“Another game is behind us. On Monday we will watch the film as a group, learn from that and get ready for Indianapolis.”

On returning to Dallas, where he played at SMU:
“It is good to be back here. It is hot as usual. It was definitely a good experience when we were landing. It is a great feeling to be back here, and playing at this stadium.”


On preparing for the regular season during the preseason games:
“I think I saw a big progression from the first preseason game to this preseason game. Just listening to what the coaches are teaching me and just trying to implement that in practice, so when it comes to game time it is just natural to me.”

On having the opportunity to participate in so many plays during the game:
“It is crucial to try to get three-and-out, just to preserve yourself throughout the game. As young guys we are expected to play all these plays, because if one of the vets goes down during the season and we are needed this season, we have to be able to just hop in there and keep the momentum going.”


On the extended time the defense spent on the field:
“I don’t know if it was a lack of focus for us. We had some good plays, but on third down, we just couldn’t get them off the field.”

On the competition in today’s game:
“This is just football for me. They are going to play just how we play. They are top of the line just as us. That is a great team out there and hopefully we will see them down the road.”

On the defensive performance:
“We came out pretty good on defense. We just couldn’t hold it off throughout the game. … This is a good learning tool. I wouldn’t say everybody is big-headed on the team. This is a good game to get our ego down. We won the first two games, everybody thought this game was just going to be handled to us. This is a good tape to learn off of and learn what our mistakes are.”


On the game:
I felt good out there. Like I said, good to get back. Get my wind back. It was good we had that long drive so I could get my wind back.

On the missed out-of-bounds touchdown:
Did you think you had your feet in? I thought I did but it was toe-heel. [It] All can’t be in one motion. They don’t count that. I need to work on just getting the toe down and just falling out of bounds.

Did you feel right back in step?
Yeah besides (being) a little tired out there at the beginning. Once the second half came, I got my second wind and I felt good out there again.

What do you think the passing game is right now?
We've still got work. It’s going to be a work in progress every week throughout the whole season. That’s the key to being a great team – getting better each week. That’s what we need to do.


How did the homecoming feel?
Yeah, it was cool to come home, especially in Cowboys Stadium. I grew up watching the Cowboys so to come out and play against them was definitely very cool but it would have been better if we would have gotten the W.

How’s everything going for you in general?
I’m learning a lot every day. Learning from mistakes and trying to move forward from those mistakes. You don’t want to make them repetitive. I’m just learning from the older guys, taking how they approach the game daily and putting in my arsenal is something I’m picking up on.


On how the 4-0 turnover count made it hard to win:
Yeah, it’s hard, you know. You can win the game by turnovers. You know, we’ve just got to learn by our mistakes and come out the next game and just not give up any and just get them.

One preseason game left. How do you feel about your bid to be on the final 53?
You know, honestly, it’s not really up to me. It’s just how the coaches feel (about) my performance and where I can contribute as a player to this team and, as of right now, I just feel like I’m making those steps to show that I can be a factor.


A couple of nice long drives, Jason:
Yeah. I thought we did a good job controlling the football. Bill did a good job, just kind of sticking with the run. We had some positive runs, we had some negative runs, and we had some okay runs and did a good job staying persistent with that. I felt that that was good for our football team. We were stronger up front then we have been in the past and I think that it showed as the game wore on.

How come Demarco was the only skilled position starter out there in the second half?
We took Demarco out in the first half because he put the ball down. So, we gave Phillip Tanner the chance to play with the ones in the first half. Talked to Demarco at halftime and gave him a chance to play in the second half. I thought he did a good job bouncing back.

Is that because you put such a big emphasis on turnovers last week?
Well, we always put a big emphasis on turnovers .The story of this game was the turnover ratio. Right, we took it away from them four times and we didn’t give it up to them, it’s the flipside of what happened last week in Arizona. There’s a recipe for winning and there’s a recipe for losing and it starts with taking care of the football.

What did you think of Murray’s response?
I thought he did a good job, he’s a pro, and he’s a damn good football player. You can’t let not taking care of the football when you’re a running back diminish you as a player. And he’s just not going to do that, he’s not going to put the ball on the ground. I thought he responded well to it.

Tonight and the entire preseason, can you talk about how your defense has played, especially as you’re adapting to a new defense:
They have a done a really nice job. I thought that we probably played our most complete game on defense. In previous games we have given up big plays and done a nice job keeping them out of the end zone. The game is about scoring points and taking the ball away, that’s what it’s about. I thought our defense tonight did an outstanding job taking the ball away giving us opportunities on offense and really not giving them a lot of great plays. I thought that we ran to the ball well and really prevented them from sustaining drives throughout the game. The offense possessing the ball certainly contributed to that, but the defense making the stops was a big part of that as well.

What were your thoughts on the passing game, especially Miles and Dez?
I thought that those guys played well. And we’re running the ball well; we ran the ball a lot. And that’s a good thing; it creates positive match ups in the passing game for those guys. I thought they responded well, I thought Tony was sharp, I thought Kyle Orton was sharp coming back from last weeks ball game .I thought that they saw the field well and made some plays throwing it.

Can you talk about what happened on the special teams, the punt return?
Yeah. Obviously, the ball hit the screen and we had to punt it over again and that’s always something you have to be weary of because your guys now have to run down there one more time. We didn’t get in our lanes and didn’t make plays when we were there. We will look at it critically tomorrow when we look at the tape and get everything cleaned up. But those were the big plays in the ball game. They made a couple of big plays in the kicking game, that return for a touchdown was a kick off return late. We didn’t convert one of our field goal opportunities. So, we have to make sure that line one in the kicking game , really throughout our football team has no bad plays. We got to keep working hard at cleaning that stuff up.

The second team looks very well offensively also:
Yeah again, I thought Kyle did a good job he saw the field well, he made some throws. Demarco did a really good job running the football and running with the football after he caught it. He had a determined look on his face and that’s a good thing. We did give our offensive of line who started the game a chance to end the first series and come out in the second half. I thought they responded well to it also.

How do you think Free handled the move?
Hard to tell. Looked like it was pretty good continuity out there. But there were some negative things too that happened. There were a couple sacks, some negative runs. So, we will take a look at it and individually look at how each of those guys played and how they played as a group.

Seemed like Romo took a couple of sacks:
Yeah, I thought he did a good job taking a sack. In one instance. I thought he did a good job deciding to throw it away in another instance. But he’s got to get the ball farther; he’s got to throw it out of bounds more. That happened right on our sideline. And then the one played that he and I talked about right after it happened, where on the 34th yard line he took a sack in field goal range that we had to punt on it. He’s at the point as a quarterback where he has to get that ball out of his hands. If there’s no options for him or there’s pressure there. He said it to me as he was coming off that he can’t take that sack. He recognized what happened on that play and keeping that standard high for his performance, but with how he’s producing, but also how he handles the situation of football is important for us.

Can you talk about Murray bouncing back?
Absolutely. B Dubb made a really big play in the ball game, the interception down the middle. When you’re taking the ball away from them and you’re limiting their opportunities and then you’re getting the ball. Wherever you are in the field, we have a red zone takeaway, they get inside the 10 yard line and we take the ball away. And we are coming back the other way and he intercepts the pass on third down in the middle of the field gives us great opportunity of offense to have a positive field position and go down and do something. I thought that he has responded well to really the game in Oakland to be honest with you that was the game where he didn’t play his best. He fumbled a punt and some other things happened, but he responded well in practice and he’s played well the last couple of weeks.

Jeff Heath making a name for himself:
Absolutely. He’s done a really nice job since he’s gotten here, both in practice and preseason games, showed up on special teams, making some plays on defense, made a hit, again creating another turnover for us.

Same thing with Orton?
Yeah, with Kyle, I think he just played with really good poise and good understanding and that’s how he’s always played for us. Made a couple bad decisions last week and I know how it is, it eats at you. It ate at him in practice and all week long I think he was dying to get out there and play again. I think he had one drive 14-15 plays, he was 4 for 4, 5 for 5, made some good decisions and good throws.

Have you seen what a healthy Miles Austin looks like again going through all of camp?
I think you and I have talked before, you know Miles last year, I thought had a relatively productive year for where he was physically. He wasn’t very healthy throughout most of last year, I probably saw him looking like himself maybe a couple of occasions throughout the whole season last year. This year he’s come in and he’s in great shape, we’ve tried to monitor him throughout camp, he’s monitored himself to make sure that he doesn’t drive himself into the ground. So he looks fresher, he looks quicker to me and he’s a hard match up player for people because he’s big. He can play outside, but he also has quickness to play inside. Sometimes you are playing against a smaller nickel guy and he’s bigger than that guy and maybe equally quick. Sometimes he’s hard to cover on that inside stuff and he certainly was tonight.

Did last season kind of drive home to him that its not just about working harder it’s working smarter:
Yeah, you’re exactly right. And that’s exactly it. Some of your greatest strengths can be your greatest weakness. Miles’ greatest strength is that he sees himself as a free agent for Monmouth University and that’s how he works every single day. It’s really important to him and that’s the mindset and perspective that he has when he goes to work. Sometimes you’ve got to protect those guys from themselves. We have tried to do that really formally; over the last few years we have tried to do it in a lot of different ways. You know you give him a day off of practice and he is running sprints behind you underneath the goal post. And it’s like Miles we are trying to dial you back a little bit to keep you fresh and ready to go and I think he’s understanding that more and more. He’s lighter, he’s quicker, he’s had a good training camp, and he had a good game tonight.

Well knowing that the starters will play very little on Thursday and there’s a short turn around and this was a dress rehearsal, do you feel like you are where you want to be Jason? You’re never where you want to be, it’s always a work in progress for individual players and for our football team and all phases of our team. So, we got to go back to work. The players will be off tomorrow and we will have two really good days of practice on Monday and Tuesday and then before you know we will be on this field again playing Houston on Thursday night. Got a lot of work in front of us and I’m really proud of how our guys have worked through training camp, come to work everyday. Really with a minor’s hat on, really with that kind of mentality and we have to continue to do that. These first two days of practice in the upcoming week are critical for our football team.

Seen Holloman make a lot of flash plays, but he also tonight seemed to make a regular play, how encouraging is this?
Yeah, it’s hard for me to tell right now, but that was my impression as well. He seemed to be around the ball on a consistent basis making tackles, even though he didn’t return anything for a touchdown. He just seems to be playing better and better. We just have to watch the tape and see how he actually played.

Terrence Williams made a hold on the block and it looked like the next couple of blocks lead to a couple of big runs as well:
Yeah. He’s a tough guy and he’s a willing guy and that was the scouting report coming out of school and that’s what we’ve seen from him. It’s important to him and he knows what his role is on every play and he tries to get it done. On some of that stuff the receivers block is critical and I thought he did a good job coming back from the penalty and being a factor in the game.

I know you’re day to day building on each of the practices, but the end of preseason with your starters offensively and defensively kind of building towards something , is that an encouraging thing to be able to take with you into the season opener?
Yeah. It’s certainly a positive. This was good night for our football team. I think the biggest thing is what I started with, validating the recipe for winning and the recipe for losing and how the ball is the biggest factor in that. So, I think that our defense did a good job swarming and trying to create takeaways and there difference making plays in the game. And except for the DeMarco Murray fumble in the beginning, they did a good job taking care of the ball. We just got to keep doing that and a lot of other parts of the recipe to win as opposed to the recipe to lose and I thought we did some good things tonight. A lot to learn from, a lot to build on and we got to get back to work on Monday morning.

The running game, your comfort in that area?
I thought that Bill did a really good job just staying with it and being persistent with it. We were running the ball from different personnel groups and we had some positive runs, we had some so-so runs, had a couple of negative runs, but we kind of kept pounding it at them. When you do that you create some opportunities in the passing game and that’s what happened, it will allow us to control the ball a lot in the game. Anytime you run it in the high 30’s that a positive thing for your team and we ran it with the different groups too. I thought that each of the runners ran well, Tanner and DeMarco came in in the early part of the second half and finished with 35. I felt that some positive things happened in the running game that helped our offense and helped our team.

You kept Murray out because of the fumble:
Absolutely. The ball was on the ground. The ball cannot be on the ground and he understood why. We talked to him about and I thought he responded well to it.

Can you talk about Dez’s drive, the touchdown drive and he had five catches there, was that kind of everything that he embodies and what a mismatch he is:
He’s a hard guy to match up with, when you play single high coverage and you give him some opportunities to work against others by himself. He’s typically done a really good job and he’s really worked very hard on his route running, both as an outside receiver and some of the other things that we do. He’s working more in the middle of the field and I think that he’s improved in that area. I think that he and Tony have a great deal of confidence playing together, we saw some of that tonight.


On his thoughts about the first team offense being able to put two scoring drives together:
“I thought it was important, more than anything, just to score points and put us into a position to have a good feeling as we finished the preseason a little bit with the starters. I think we did that tonight and we played well. I think that was something we needed to do just to kind of cap (off) the preseason a little bit because we hadn’t gotten in the endzone yet. We had a little bit of extended time tonight and it was good to see the guys play as well as they did.”

On if he’s 100 percent after his back surgery:
“Yes. We’re good to go. I’m 100 percent.”

On the play of Miles Austin tonight:
“He did great. I said it in training camp, Miles had a great training camp this year. He’s really got some juice to him. He’s been doing that the entire training camp. I’ve been saying this over and over again, but we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing in training camp and it’s carried over to the preseason games. So it’s good to see.”

On how good it is to have both Dez Bryant and Miles Austin healthy and playing as well as they have:
“In a lot of respects, it allows us to do a lot of different things, offensively. I don’t want to get too in detail of what we’re trying to do, but there’s a lot of different things that this allows us to do, and a lot of different situational football that we may or may not have been able to do before. I think their growth and Dez’s ability to play multiple spots and know different things and their experience in gaining that has been huge. And then Miles has been playing every position his entire career, so it’s really invaluable. Obviously having those guys, and then a guy like Jason Witten, who’s always going to be dependable, just gives you a lot of stuff to do.”

On his thoughts of being sacked on the first play of the game:
“I knew it was more of an error in that respect, so it wasn’t as if someone had gotten beat, per se. It’s something that we’re obviously going to address and get it right. But I think when you have a sack on there, you’re obviously fighting an uphill battle and we weren’t going to get out on that one. But after that, the offense did a really good job.”

On if it was strange to see Doug Free at guard instead of tackle:
“We won’t know until we look at the tape, but he’s been doing a really good job there and he’s a really smart player. Not everybody can make an adjustment like that, especially not in really one week. I think it’s a testament to Doug’s ability to play both those positions. Not unlike what I said about the wide receivers, the flexibility that gives us sometimes is really, really a big deal to have a guy who can do multiple positions. I think he did a real good job. He battled. That’s a good front we just played against tonight. Those guys to do what they did, I thought was pretty darn good.”

On the way offensive coordinator Bill Callahan called the plays from runs to pass on the scoring drives:
“I think you’re always going to run the ball if you’re running the ball successfully. More than anything, this game is about getting in the endzone. We all want it to be 10 runs and six passes – that’s ideal for everything – but that’s not always realistic. It depends on the team you’re going against, how you run the ball that day and in a lot of ways how the game is going. So I thought Bill called a great game, but more than anything I think the guys went out there and executed and did their job tonight.”

On having such a clean pocket on the touchdown pass to Austin and the last time he remembers having that:
“It’s been a little bit. When you’re able to have that kind of time, you can do a lot of things as a quarterback – move a lot of different people a lot of different ways. That’s a testament to the guys up front giving me that kind of time. That play doesn’t happen over time in the past, per se, I guess you could say. That was a situation where I think the guys with how well they’re playing and what they’re doing – that touchdown doesn’t happen unless they’re playing at a high level up front. To me, there’s a lot of stuff that I can do to help this football team and to afford that opportunity, they’ve been doing that, and I think that’s going to pay dividends as the season goes on.”

On how they can build off a strong performance – offensively and defensively – going into the regular season:
“You’re always building. I think more than anything, you’re always trying to improve and get better. I do know from past experience that if you struggle in the preseason, not just a series or a game – that’s just too short of time. But if you struggle the entire preseason, I’ve found that your offense is going to be fighting an uphill battle throughout the year. If you’re able to move the ball consistently throughout camp and throughout the preseason games, usually you’re able to do similar things as the regular season approaches. Football is still football. You still have to block, you still need time, you’ve still got to catch and run. That’s not going to change. You might change up your scheme a little, but you can’t out scheme everyone every week. I think over time you’ve got to be able to play and guys got to be able to do their job at a pretty high level. It’s been really good to see some of those things that you said – the time that we’re having, the stuff that guys are doing down the field. It’s giving us a real chance to do some things.”

On his thoughts on Phillip Tanner working with the first group and how it came about:
“I don’t know. You have to talk to coach. It’s just the way the game flowed and we went from there.”

On how he thought Tanner did with the first group:
“He did good. I thought he did a good job. He runs hard, he’s a smart player. We put him in – I know (Lance) Dunbar (injury) is out, so it’s (Joseph) Randle and Tanner. I know when Tanner’s in there with me, he knows who he’s blocking and he knows the protection stuff. We’re still getting Randle in, but he’s got to go through it a little bit to get him an understanding and when we saw Randle he ran hard too. It was just good to see Tanner do the things that he’s come and shown us over the years that he’s able to do. It’s not easy just to step in and go like that with the first unit with different looks. Cincinnati threw out a lot of different looks and it was good that he did really well.”

On if he could have a play back would it be the sack that he took in the second quarter that took them out of field goal range:
“Yes that’s exactly right. I’m usually very heady on that sort of thing. For me, I think you’re always going to look at a play or two when the game’s over, and that’s mine for sure. I’ve got to keep my team in field goal range there. As soon as I can’t decide, I get sacked. A loss like that is either the 34 (yard line) or the 38 (yard line), but it’s a huge difference. I’m glad it came during the preseason. I’m going to work on that and it’s another thing that’s a part of your thought process during games and game situations.”

On when his thought process turns to the New York Giants and the season opener on Sept. 8:
“Mine will probably start tonight or tomorrow morning. I think more than anything, I’ve sprinkled in a little bit, but now I’m going to get real tightened up as far as a little more situational than an overview. I think the team will probably wait until the middle of the week, but more than anything myself will start here this weekend.”

On if everything went the way he needed it to go in the preseason and training camp after not having an offseason to work on the field much due to his surgery:
“It was good. I think a lot of it is just through my own technique a lot of the times and is something that I need the offseason for every year. Situational football- you’ve got to practice football. You’ve got to be playing football. But you can always improve yourself technically as well as fundamentally on your own. One thing I take pride in is always doing something like that in the offseason. I was able to do get a little of that before as I was just throwing the football. I hadn’t been able to use it live, so I’m just very anxious to see and when it came together for camp I was just really excited to see how it held up and it held up through the preseason. I’m excited about just something that’s just real big for me that will allow me to take another step fundamentally, technically and do some things at a higher level and may not have been able to do in the past. That’s pretty exciting from having the practices and training camp.


On the first team getting in the end zone a couple of times tonight:
It felt pretty good. You know we’ve got a lot of things we need to work on still. But it felt good to get in the end zone.

How bad did you need it? You go two games without doing it, this is your final one to play:
It felt good. Coach may have a better idea of how bad we needed it. I don’t know if need is the right word but it felt good and we’re going to continue to try and get better.

It’s a pretty good defense you played in the first half out there, what worked well tonight for the offense that hasn’t been working?
I just think we were executing. We were executing ball plays, getting things blocked up the right way. Dez was able to make a whole bunch of great plays like he always does and free up some space on the field.


How about the offensive line’s play? It seemed like they had it rolling tonight?
Oh they did. You know those guys come out every day and work and their tails off. You know it’s true enough we’ve still got room for improvement in different areas, but man, the offensive line is working real well together and those guys are making it easy for us running backs.

Phillip, what message does it say to the rest of the guys when DeMarco can get benched from fumbling the ball like it happened tonight?
First of all, I don’t know why De Mo got benched, you know, but we’re a real close family. So when they said another guy go in, that’s what I was going to do. De Mo is really supportive, you know, he’s my guy. Everything that I was able to do out there tonight I give all credit to him.


On the game:
“Part of why I have been able to get to where I am now is because I take extreme pride in my effort and my play. When I make a mistake, I care about it deeply, and it eats me. Every game is like that for me. The contract, that is just the money part. I can get paid nothing and still care greatly about my performance.”

On if he feels turnovers are contagious:
“It needs to be a habit. If this defense is going to be great, we are going to need to have turnovers every single week like that. I think we are practicing it every single day. If you continue to do that, it shows up in a game. Having that sense of urgency, and having it on the front of your mind that we need to get the ball out, we need to get the ball out in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter, that will be big for us.”


On the turnovers for the defense:
“It’s good enough. It’s a good start. We have been harping on turnovers-takeaways this whole year. We have been practicing each and everyday we go out on the field. Today was a good day for the secondary, a good day for the defense as a whole.”

Did Barry Church do what he was supposed to do on that strip?
“On each of those turnovers, it’s about the guys hustling – max effort, getting to the ball and trying to work the ball out. He did everything we were shown in all of our cutups and everything we have been drilling so far. Guys hustled to the ball, and I was able to pick it up. Heath was able to do the same thing as well. It’s all about getting the population to the ball, every swarming and trying to pick the ball up.”

On Heath’s hit:
“That’s a big hit. The safety coming out of the high hole and delivering a blow like that. It’s one of those pop plays that changes the momentum of the game and gives the ball back to us. We have a great competition within our secondary right now. We have a lot of guys stepping up each and everyday, bringing their “A” game, competing and dominating. We have a lot of good players right now, and it’s interesting to see what is going to happen.”

Do you credit the effort or the system?
“It’s all about effort. It’s the will to want to get the ball out. We have a good system in place. We have been working since OTAs trying to get the small details out and trying to get on the right page to get the chemistry down. At the end of the day, it comes down to the will to want to get the ball out. Do you want to take the ball away? On all of those plays you see guys go out there and taking the initiative and taking the ball away.”

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