Any word on LB NaVorro Bowman?
“No, NaVorro’s in, I think he’s still there, he’s getting an MRI right now, so they sent him over this morning. Have not gotten any updates on his status.”
With DL DeForest Buckner, I know it’s the same thing, but do you know what his injury was?
“He has a foot injury.”
No update on his status then?
When you go back and look at what happened yesterday, what kind of stood out to you?
“I thought from a positive standpoint, we got out to a great start offensively. Two straight drives, get down the field, score, get out to 14 points. We got into a couple long situations on the next drive that set us back. The sack actually hurt us. Whenever you get behind the stakes that much, trying to convert ends up being difficult from that standpoint. Came back in the second half, had a really good drive down in the red zone, but came away with three instead of another touchdown there and I think that was disappointing to us. Really it was an interesting game. There was only 10 drives on each side of the ball, which is kind of low. And then, we just didn’t convert when we got a chance after our defense made a great stop in the red zone. Held them to a field goal down there, made it a seven-point game and then got the ball down the field and then just didn’t convert on the, missed on the third-and-six on the throw to [WR Jeremy] Kerley and then on fourth-and-six they played man but dropped a couple extra guys out underneath, did a good job. Good call by them on their part and really didn’t have anywhere to go with the ball. They kind of had everybody doubled on that side.”
You mentioned yesterday that a couple of your receivers on the outside were grabbed. Obviously it wasn’t enough to warrant a penalty at least in the estimation of the officials out there. But, was it good defense?
“It wasn’t enough for the officials to call a penalty.”
LB Aaron Lynch, is he cleared to come back today?
“Yeah, he’ll be practicing today. He goes into, I think he gets a couple, what’s it called?”
It’s an exemption.
“Exemption. So, he’ll be back at training today.”
How has he looked just from the reports you’ve heard from the training staff?
“They said he’s really done a great job working. We’re excited I think to get him back and get a chance to start working with him again as coaches. He’s been available to do everything except be on the field with us. So, he’s been around and we get to see him and according to [director of human performance Mark Uyeyama] Uye and the guys in the strength and conditioning room, he’s done a great job when he’s done, with his workouts with them. So, he’ll be a welcomed addition today.”
Is it reasonable to think that he could play Thursday or would he need a warmup?
“We’ll see. Again, I haven’t seen him, but I think from what they’ve said he’s worked extremely hard. So, we’re hoping we can get him on the field on Thursday.”
Will that be predicated if DeForest is available?
“No, because they play different positions.”
Aren’t they both outside though? They play different sides?
“No, DeFo is a defensive lineman and he’s an outside linebacker.”
What do you need to see from him in these--?
“Just where his conditioning is and how he feels. Kind of figure out if he is ready to play, how many plays can he play? Kind of just see where he is, but he’s in-tune. One thing about him, he’s a really intelligent football player. So, from a mental standpoint I don’t think that’ll be an issue, but obviously the speed of the game and things like that are obviously something that you can’t simulate when you’re out. So, he’s got to catch back up to that.”
What will he bring to the defensive side when he does come back?
“Obviously, he’s a very talented player. I think the ability to set the edge and to rush the passer from the outside and that’s something that I think we’ll need as we continue to move forward here. So, I think those are the two things we’re really looking forward to.”
If NaVorro is out for an extended period, would the dynamic we saw yesterday, LB Michael Wilhoite and LB Nick Bellore be what you go with or could there be other combinations?
“And [LB Gerald Hodges] Hodgey in there and then [LB Shayne] Skov will back up the other MIKE position. If NaVorro is out for this week or an extended period of time it’ll be really those four that you will see in there. Bellore, Wilhoite, Hodge, and Skov. Those are the four we’ve got.”
And Wilhoite can play MIKE and WILL. Hodges plays WILL, Bellore plays MIKE and--?
“And Skov’s got to play them both. Whenever, and it’s just like any position, I know we’ve talked about it before, whenever you’re the backup you have to be able to play multiple positions just because we just can’t say ‘Hey, two guys are down, Shayne can’t play because he doesn’t know how to--,’ real smart kid, Stanford kid. He can play both positions.”
But also, can’t you fit it so that Wilhoite and Hodges play together?
“Yeah, we could.”
Because I thought you had said previously that Wilhoite had been cross training?
“Wilhoite has been cross training. I said we could. That’s a possibility.”
How late will you stay at the facility tonight and how long is a typical work day for you?
“We’re here, I mean, we stayed here last night. I think everybody slept here last night. So, we’ll probably be close to the same tonight. Just, that’s just the nature of what you’ve got to do on a short week. So, I guess they think because we don’t have to do anything on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we can catch up on sleep then.”
In talking to your players last night, they said obviously the first quarter they showed what they can do offensively. They just were unable to finish it. They hurt themselves. When you look at the film, is it lack of concentration, lack of technique or--?
“No. I don’t think it’s a lack of concentration. I mean, I think we just, again, we had the ball down in the red zone. I thought we had a really good drive to start the second half and got the ball down inside there. We had a mental mistake on a play where we thought we had it, it just wasn’t blocked up the right way that we thought it was supposed to be blocked up. So, there was a mental mistake on a player, but not a concentration issue by any stretch of the imagination and then we’ve got to make a play on the pass. I think we had an illegal procedure penalty that knocked us back and made it a third-and-long. I think we were in third-and-medium, if I can recall, and then we had a five-yard false start. So, we moved back to a third-and-deep there. So, again, sometimes those penalties are the things that kind of hurt you. We only had five on the day, but I think they were very glaring the five that we had.”
And then the disparity, you were seven-of-seven on the first third down conversions and at the end of the game, you weren’t. Was there anything different that Dallas was doing defensively that you weren’t able--?
“No. It was the same thing. It’s just you’ve got to make plays when your number’s called.”
Now that you’ve taken a look at the film, can you take us through that long pass to WR Torrey Smith that ended up being an interception?
“Yeah. Torrey did a nice job on the route. I think [QB] Blaine [Gabbert] said it yesterday. He just, he kind of, he was behind him in the throw and he needs to put the ball out in front of him. So, he just missed on the throw.”
You had also mentioned after the game you thought he played pretty well except for that one play.
Do you still believe that?
“Yeah. I mean, you look at that ball he threw to [TE] Garrett Celek. That’s as good a throw as you’re going to see in this league. I mean, if I was coaching on the defensive side of the ball for Dallas, I don’t know what to tell [Dallas Cowboys LB] Sean Lee. I don’t think he could be any closer in coverage to him and to put the ball where he put it is the only place he could put it. I thought he did a nice job in the decisions. We’ve got to block some things a little bit better on the perimeter in the run game. I don’t think our guys did a good job and helped him out there. I thought he made some good decisions in the run game, but we didn’t block up the guys that were coming who were responsible for the quarterback. We’ve got to do a little bit better job on that but that’s not Blaine’s issue. I thought he put the ball on people. I think he found [WR] Quinton Patton a couple times inside there. I thought there was a couple blitz looks where they brought an unblocked guy off the edge. He threw the hot throw to Kerley. They brought another guy off the edge. He threw the hot throw to Celek. So, I thought he did a good job from that standpoint.”
On some of those keeps where he keeps it and makes it to the corner but isn’t going to get back to the line of scrimmage--?
“Yeah because he’s reading the defensive end.”
Do you ever teach him to just throw it away?
“No, because we have linemen downfield, because it’s a run play. So, you can’t do that.”
The fourth-and-six, did he have another option?
“Not really. Like I said, they did a good job of clamping down on the two guys that were going deep, the backside in. But, he got flushed and got sent over to his right. So, really, Torrey was supposed to come back underneath, come back inside, but when Torrey saw him flushed and go to the right, he stuck his foot in the ground and broke back out with the quarterback like he’s supposed to do but we just did get it deep enough to get to the sticks.”
How come Torrey hasn’t produced more through four games? It took until the fourth quarter to get a target his way.
“Again, a lot of it just depends on how people play us and what they’re doing. We’ve gotten a lot of man coverage out there. Sometimes people are leaning safeties towards his side. So, we’re taking advantage of what’s going on. I think we knew going into the game, we thought the matchups inside were going to be beneficial to us. Obviously, you look at where Kerley was and the job he did on the nickel. [Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando] Scandrick was out, but [Dallas Cowboys CB Morris] Claiborne and [Dallas Cowboys CB Brandon] Carr were still in. So, we thought we’d attack the nickel a lit bit more and that’s what we did and that was kind of our game plan. And if it wasn’t the nickel, then it was the tight end on the safety. So, sometimes it’s just how the matchups go in a game.”
DL Arik Armstead has mentioned he might need surgery after the season. Is that shoulder injury something he just has to play through?
“Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I haven’t really talked to him specifically about that. I know he’s been cleared to practice and cleared to play. So, I haven’t sat down specifically and talked to him about that.”
Can you tell he’s dealing with something just in his performance?
“I just think he’s missed a lot of football. So, that’s what I kind of look at it as. You know, he missed an extended period of time in camp. He was playing really well and then was out. This is a sport you have to practice and you have to train at. It’s very difficult just to take time off and then go out there and expect him to play at an extremely high level that he’s capable of playing because of his athletic ability and what a good football player he is. So, I think he’s just coming back into that right now, to be honest with you.”
Just to clarify, you spent the night here along with your assistant coaches last night?
“Yeah, I think so. Some of them may have gone home, but I didn’t.”