How important is to keep the team even keeled coming off a tough loss but then bouncing back with a very solid win?
“I think that is one of the challenges each week is to allow that 24 hour period, make corrections. You can lose a game once and win a game once and that is it and very quickly get going on the next week’s opponent. We try and do that. We talk often times about eliminating the noise that often times goes on outside with the amount of coverage we get.”
Did we see a different
“No I think you saw a player that ran hard and had holes. He did a lot of the things that I’m sure he felt he could do. He received the right opportunity and the right number of touches. I thought he played exceptionally well.”
Is that a position where confidence can just breathe and maybe can carry that forward until the next game?
“I think it is the opportunities. I think there is a lot that goes into it. I think there is good competition there. And I think that I was really proud of how he handled the time leading up to that game with a lot of the, there is a lot of pressure that goes into playing and I guess a little bit more for a player that was selected in the first round. I thought he handled that well. I thought he played well last night and he was important to our team.”
Do you credit his (Mark Ingram) and Pierre’s (Thomas) night to the offensive line?
“It all works together. It all kind of goes hand in hand.”
The way you guys use
“We did, but we had a certain plan going in and a lot of it was just predicated on the work week.”
Is it you trying to be precautionary?
“No, it was just predicated in the game plan on the work week”
How pleased were you with the defensive adjustments at half?
“I thought that was, when that game became one-dimensional, I think it really favored us early on. They had some big runs. I thought on the defensive side of the ball we contested the passing game well. We got off pressure and I thought it was a good team win. But I thought defensively against a pretty good offense, we did a good job of contesting throws and getting through that early portion of the game where they had two big runs. I thought that was important.”
Just how impressive is it holding a team to zero third down conversions?
“It’s happened a few times. We thought in the game the turnover and third down statistic would be very telling and the third down statistic was. That is one of those things that doesn’t come up very often. I said last night, you don’t play many games like that. Every once in a while you find yourself on the good end and sometimes you find yourself every once in a while on the bad end but you hope when your career is done you have more experiences on the good end. That is a little unusual.”
Do you think Garrett (Hartley) just has to kick himself through this funk right now?
“Yes, like anything else, it is just the consistency. He has the leg strength. He started off the season very well. Last week he hit a big one for us in New York so it is just consistency.”
“Pretty well. Kenny (Vaccaro) was very active last night and Rafael (Bush) (was) the same way. I thought they handled yesterday real well and we were back and forth with Malcolm (Jenkins) as to whether to play him or not. I thought overall they handled it (well in) the various packages. And Isa (Abdul-Quddus) received snaps later in the game so there were a lot of guys playing.”
On that screen pass at the end of the first half, you said something last night that you had talked about that a few plays earlier.
“There was a conversation that went on with regards to a couple of plays. There was one stoppage in play where that play had kind of come up in regards to possibly, out of a different formation. We felt we were receiving a lot of zone (coverage). We knew we wanted to get to as a changeup some screens, but that was Drew (Brees) and that was his anticipation. He had that call and you get in one of those two minute drills and he is really good about kind of taking the drill, handling the clock and then I’ll peep in periodically when the clock stops or third down or reminders or maybe, but the timing was perfect because you can do that if you have a timeout left and you can’t if you don’t. Darren (Sproles) made a great run at it after the catch. It was well-blocked. It was well-executed.”
“I don’t think we were thinking field goal. I certainly was thinking protect the ball because we were in field goal range, but I don’t think that. We were thinking we had a time out. I know Drew (Brees) was thinking lets score. I know we were thinking the same thing.”
You have been excellent at the screen pass for years. I think people look at Pierre (Thomas) and how well he runs and Darren (Sproles). How much is that the offensive line and how athletic they are up front?
“A lot of it times up with the first level, how do you block these linebackers in the first level? The ones that are more difficult are the man-to-man, teams where the linebacker kind of runs with the back and beats the first guy out, beats the guard or beats the center. I think our players though, back to your point, the runner and the lineman, our players have a good feel for the timing of it. I think because we are somewhat effective throwing the football, we are rushed a certain way and it is a good element much like a draw to slow people down. There is a lot that goes into having a good screen pass. Sometimes it is just getting the right defensive look, but the timing, the linemen, the backs are important, and the quarterback.”
Drew (Brees) always talks about if we can get that first, first down it will get them into that rhythm. Are you ever surprised when you look back and think he is hitting 19 in a row and when was the last time we had an incompletion?
“No, not really until you just said that. I didn’t know if you were references the first, first down in a two minute drive or the first, first down in a game.”
“Just to get started? I thought we had a good start early and it ended up having to punt the football. Fortunately we didn’t have to put much after that. I thought he played with real good rhythm. I thought his decision-making was outstanding. And I think last night was a great example of his preparation and getting into a game against a zone defense and knowing right where he wanted to go. We got some pressure from them in the first half and a lot of it came on first down. I thought we handled that pretty well and got the ball out. Check downs, the underneath throws, all of it, he was really on.”
Were there a lot of times where Dez Bryant was double covered or did
“No, I would say back and forth it was a little bit of a cat and mouse game. There was safety help over Dez (Bryant). I don’t know if you’d give it a certain percentage and then yet there were times when the safety came out and involved himself in the running game. But I thought Keenan (Lewis), who drew the matchup regardless of where Dez went, did a really good job.”