IRVING, Texas – Cowboys coach Jason Garrett spoke extensively Monday evening following his team's season-opening win on Sunday night.
Garrett answered questions for roughly a half hour, both about the Cowboys' performance against the Giants and the upcoming trip to play the Chiefs.
The storyline of six defensive takeaways has dominated much of the discussion of the young season since the Cowboys cemented their 36-31 victory against the Giants. Garrett said it was refreshing to see such a large point of emphasis come to fruition in live action.
"What you preach and what you practice and what you drill is not your team – it's what shows up on Sunday," he said. Having acknowledged that, Garrett admitted there was plenty to work on, as the defense allowed 450 passing yards and four touchdowns to Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his receivers.
"They did make some big plays – they had six pass plays of 20 yards or more – so we have to get better in that area," he said. "We'll continue to work with our guys individually on that and also from a scheme standpoint – making sure our guys are standing where we want them to."
Garrett said the Cowboys secondary needs to work on defending tighter in passing situations.
Here are a few more notes from Garrett's Monday press conference:
- Garrett was asked about the availability of several players who missed the Giants game for Week 2 against the Chiefs. He said he had "no idea" about what to expect from defensive end Anthony Spencer, though he hopes to see Spencer practice this week.
- He also reiterated that guard Brian Waters has a strong week of work in his first days with the team, and the coaching staff will evaluate his availability going forward.
- Much was made of the Giants' apparent practice of faking injuries in order to slow down Dallas' no-huddle offense on Sunday. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones addressed it following the game, but Garrett deftly side-stepped the issue. "Our officials do such a great job with handling all those situations, and that's a challenge for the league," he said. "What you have to do as an offense is just go play."
- Garrett was asked about the Cowboys' use of the pistol formation, which puts a running back behind the quarterback in a slight tweak of the shotgun formation. Garrett said the formation gives defenses less of an idea of what the offense plans to do with its running back. "We probably started running it about five years ago, but we've never used it as extensively as we did last night."
- With eight tackles and a fumble return for a touchdown, safety Barry Church earned the Cowboys' weekly boxing glove award, given to the game's outstanding player.
"No idea – hopefully he's making some progress and we can get him out there practicing a little bit."
"He got a lot of attention from their defense, and he has to understand that's the world he's going to live in for the rest of his career.