DECEMBER 9, 2012
“It’s a disappointing game to lose. We had too many opportunities to put more points on the board, make stops, and we had too many dropped balls. We didn’t do well enough defensively on third down and we left them (Dallas) on the field too often. Offensively we came out and really played for three quarters. We didn’t score touchdowns, but we moved the ball effectively. The one interception hurt us because they got points after that, but it’s disappointing to lose a game that you have in hand, and then lose in the last two drives.”
Do you get the sense that the guys relaxed?
“No I don’t think we relaxed. We just have to make plays at critical moments. Offensively we came off the ball and did things we thought we needed to do in order to win. We have to maintain that. The dropped balls put us out of sequence a little bit.”
That last timeout you had to use due to an injury?
“We had to use timeouts due to injury today, I don’t know particulars, but I would like to still have timeouts left at the end of the game.”
What is your view on the defenseless receiver call that was on
“It doesn’t matter. My comments aren’t going to change the call. I thought Reggie did a good job and that’s all you can do. Most likely it’ll be something on their teaching reel. Reggie was on their teaching reel last year of how to do it, and I thought that was picture perfect.”
He’s been on the teaching reel, but still gets call for fifteen yard penalties:
“I know. That’s where we are with those kinds of plays. Those things happen all the time and you’ve got to overcome them as a football team, and we are good enough to. We were good enough to win this football game today and we didn’t. We don’t have time to sit here and dwell on it; we’ve just got to move forward.”
You had good success running the ball. Do you think Dallas adjusted to what you were doing?
“They started stacking, but it’s easier to critique down the line.”
Can you talk about the performance of
“Josh did a good job in the ball game. Every kick he had were ones we needed. The ones they brought out of the end zone had great hang time and height. He’s a guy that had a winning effort today.”
For a team that’s been playing smart since the bye week, how frustrating is this loss today?
“We didn’t have a bad call or play. We’ve just got to catch the ball and play with our feet. Everybody has got to get coordinated the same way. Dallas has good players and they executed. We’ve got to execute better because we can, and we will.”
It looked like on the sidelines, you were trying to tell your guys to breathe:
“Just relax. Guys get all upset when they get a penalty called. At some point the whistle’s got to blow.”
Does this remind you a lot of the Houston game last year?
“Yeah, unfortunately I thought about that. We’ve got to move forward. We learned how to fix it then, and we’ll fix it here too. It’s a quick turnaround.”
This was the second straight game you’ve started with a touchdown and then kind of struggled after that to get the momentum going:
“Yeah, we had opportunities this game. We got down in the red zone several times and just had to kick field goals. If we make one more play, score one more touchdown, it’s a whole different game. Coming out of a game like this, there is a lot of ‘What could we have done better?’ Red zone is definitely an area where we could have done better.”
“No, you just try to get those guys the ball and get their mind off of stuff. We could have played better as a receiver group, but I could have played better. We could have played better up front; we could have played better with the running back crew. In a game like this, it’s all what could you have done better. It’s just how these close games are. We are going to go back and find the areas we have to get better; we can’t let things like that happen again.”
On the interception in the first half, can you take us through that play?
“I had A.J. on a deep out and I felt like the corner was off and on his outside, so I tried to put it on the inside. I thought if he was going to make a play on the ball, he was going to have to go through A.J. He just made a good play on the ball. I took a chance early and it’s another one of those plays where you think about if you could have that one back, you wouldn’t have taken a chance there and the game would be different.”
It didn’t look like Dallas was doing anything different in the red zone. Was it just an issue of execution?
“It comes down to execution. We had one that could have been a touchdown when Marvin (Jones) stepped out of bounds and A.J. dropped one; a couple of plays change the whole game.”
How important was it that on the first few drives you scored, but they weren’t touchdowns? Do you just have to emphasize execution?
“Yes, we have to. We’ve done a really good job of that the last couple of weeks, scoring touchdowns when we get down there. Today we didn’t do it, and it came back to hurt us. It just comes down to executing, that’s all it is. We had our chances, we just didn’t execute.”
In a game like this, was it tough to come down the stretch without any timeouts?
“Yeah, it was. Again, you think about all the different things that go on. Maybe, if we would have had a couple of more timeouts, things would be different, but we didn’t. That’s how things work, sometimes you have them, and sometimes you don’t. We just have to do a better job of pushing through that, converting one more third down and keeping the drive alive. I could have gotten to a better play on that third down where I ended up getting sacked. A lot of what ifs.”
Did today remind you at all about the Houston game last year?
“It was similar. For us offensively, we felt like we could have played better and put the defense in a better position. We can’t score 19 points and expect to win, we have to come out and score more than that. It’s kind of a similar thing where it came down to the last play.”
Did it feel like you guys got out of control of the game?
“We weren’t out of control, we were winning the game. It just comes down to little things, that’s what it comes down to; converting on third down, especially on that last drive. When we have to have it, we have to find a way to convert and we didn’t do that today.”
Talk about the day that Josh Brown had and the way he stepped up:
“He did a good job. That’s how it has to be; a guy goes down and another one has to step in and play well. He did a good job today.”
Can you talk about having
“He came in and played well. Last week was his first significant action out there, so this week it was good to get him in the flow. We handed him the ball off, a couple catches he made; I am comfortable with him out there. He has done a good job and he needs to keep getting better.”
Do you guys look at this as a missed opportunity, with Pittsburgh also losing?
“There are so many things that go on. Obviously, we would have loved to win today with them losing, and it would have given us a better chance. Everything is still in front of us, we can’t worry about that, we have to win these last three.”
Is it better to play on Thursday night instead of having to wait until Sunday after this loss?
“I am sure there are plusses and minuses with it. I think it’s good to have the quick turnaround, but I’ve never done the Sunday to Thursday turnaround, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I think it will be good if we can come out and play our best game on Thursday to get this taste out of our mouth.”
Can you talk about the touchdown pass to
“Yeah, that’s what it was. We kind of quick snapped it and had him in motion. That’s the thing with Hawk, he is so good with the ball in space. Once he got the ball in his hands, he made a couple of nice moves and got into the end zone. We did a good job up front and it’s what we thought we were going to get.”
Have you ever seen A.J. struggle like that in a game or practice?
“No. I am not worried about A.J. He has done so much for this team and is capable of doing a lot. I don’t think his confidence will be shot; he will be ready to go. You can’t worry about all the stuff that happens you have to move forward and I think that is what he will do.”
The Steelers lost today, so you’re still tied for that last wildcard spot:
“Yeah. We’re still in it. At the same time, our focus is one game at a time.”
A deflating ending to today’s game:
“We have to capitalize on opportunities, especially in the fourth quarter. We didn’t do it, and it cost us a win.”
Did you step out of bounds on the touchdown that was called back?
“Yeah. When I saw Andy (Dalton) scramble, I tried to run back across and the guy pushed me. That’s what they’re taught to do when the quarterback scrambles. It was unfortunate.”
How much does this loss hurt?
“It definitely hurts — but any loss hurts. We had success early in the game and weren’t able to capitalize down the stretch. We’ve been in this position before, and we’re very resilient. We’ll be able to step it up.”
The red-zone offense was an issue for you today:
“Yeah we’ve got to have touchdowns instead of field goals in those situations. It just never fails — it seems like those situations can come back and haunt you a little bit. There’s always more we can do. Everyone of us has got something more we can do to help us win. We’ve just got to convert some of those red-zone situations and convert a couple third-downs, and we would’ve had a chance to put the game away.”
Cowboys QB Tony Romo made plays today despite being under heavy pressure:
“Man, he does. He is special back there, and you can tell he’s a hard guy to get to the ground. Hats off to them. They came here in an emotional situation, and you knew they were going to fight all the way. That game meant a lot for them. Hats off to them. They played great. We didn’t make enough plays there to win it. That’s NFL football. In big situations, you’ve got to make big plays and we just didn’t make enough in the end.”
No ground was lost today in the playoff race with Pittsburgh and Baltimore losing:
“It’s this time of year. You’ve got teams that are out of it and fight their tails off. You’ve got teams that are trying to get in it that are fighting for the playoffs. It’s why December football is so special. We’ve got an opportunity to go to Philly on a quick week and get this out of our system. We’re going to have to make big plays and win that game.”
Lack of execution was a big deal:
“We’re inches away from that game being a totally different situation and them not having the opportunity to kick the field goal there. It’s tough, it sucks, it hurts. The bottom line is that we’ve got three games left in the season and we still have a chance to control our destiny — win out and give ourselves an opportunity to be in the playoffs. That’s got to be the key goal. We’ve got to store this in, let it eat at us and make people pay for it.”
Part of the learning process for the young guys is to be able to move on from a tough loss:
“You’ve got to learn from it and move on. You’ve got to get in that mentality of not feeling sorry for yourself, but (instead) making that next team pay. ‘Ok, I made these mistakes with this or that, but the next opportunity I get, somebody’s going to pay for it.’ And that’s got to be the attitude that you have.”
Bengals placekicker Josh Brown had an excellent debut:
“He did a great job. I’m really proud for him for the way he came in and played. He’s a guy who’s been in this situation, he’s been around and I’m just happy for him that he got an opportunity to be such a big part of the game.”
This was a tough loss:
“Yeah we really needed that one, but we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch here to finish the game off. It’s real disappointing, but we’ve got a short week ahead of us. We’ve got to get ready for the Eagles. It would’ve been great to win this one, but we fell short and we’ve just got to get better.”
This will test a team’s character to lose on the last play and have a short week:
“Yeah we’ve got a real quick turnaround with this one; no time to ponder on this loss. We’ve just got to look at the film, get right and get ready for the Eagles man. We control our own destiny. We’ve just go to take it one game at a time. Our backs have been against the wall before. With the character of this team, we’ll be fine. We can get through this and get ready for the Eagles.”
Does this loss hurt more with Pittsburgh and Baltimore both losing today?
“That’s the tough part about it, knowing that Pittsburgh lost. We could’ve (gotten even with) them. But we control our own density from here on out. We’ve got to go out to Philly and get this ‘W.’ ”
You were able to move the ball except for the last 10 minutes:
“You look at that last drive we had, if we could’ve taken control and did what they did, they wouldn’t ever have gotten the ball back. It is what it is, and obviously we’ve got to move on. We’ve got a quick turnaround Thursday. That might be a good thing. This one’s gone, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll just have to come in tomorrow and move forward, because we’re still in control of our own destiny.”
Were you aware of the Pittsburgh score at all during the game?
“I don’t know, sometimes guys look. I don’t know. I’m sure more guys are interested in our own game.”
Is it a missed opportunity with Pittsburgh’s loss?
“We still control our own destiny. It would have been great to win, because we would have been better off. We just have to come back to work and grind. The last few years we’ve won games at the end of the season when we needed to.”
What happened on the pass you dropped inside the five-yard line that looked like it could have been a touchdown?
“I just took my eyes off it. It’s unusual for me, but I guess it happens sometimes. I’m not going to beat myself up about it, but I’ve got to do better. At this time of year, with us fighting for the playoffs, I’ve got to be getting better every week.”
There were a lot of drops. Was the field slippery?
“We have to catch the football. It’s as simple as that. There are no excuses. If we make those plays, it’s a different ballgame.”
Because the Steelers lost today, you don’t lose ground in the wildcard race:
“We’re just disappointed about today’s loss. You want to be in a position to control your own destiny, which we were. We have three games left — we have to come together and do what it takes to get these last three wins.”
For most of the game you were able to stop their offense. What happened in the fourth quarter?
“They did an excellent job executing their plays. They kept our defense on the field and wore us down. They did a good job continuing to move the ball down the field.”
Tony Romo is difficult to stop. How difficult was he in the fourth quarter?
“As you said, Tony Romo is a difficult quarterback in general. One of the great things about him is how he’s able to extend plays. He has a receivers who know that when he’s scrambling, they need to work themselves open and look for the ball.”
How frustrating was the fourth quarter?
“It’s difficult. It’s difficult for the entire team. The whole team is thinking about plays that could have been made or should have been made. It’s hard for everyone.”
How does this loss effect the team moving forward?
“We can’t look back. We’re ready for Philadelphia. We will correct our mistakes and look forward to playing them.” ”
That was deflating, wasn’t it?
“It is. You play well all day and give away some plays in the end. When you give a good kicker a 40-yard field goal, 95 percent of the time, he’s going to make it.”
You look like you haven’t missed a step:
“I feel good and have worked hard. It has been an awkward past couple of months. My goal was to be ready and as sharp as ever when my opportunity came. We were fortunate to score first and get the PAT out of the way — so that knocked off some nerves.”
You looked like you could have hit longer than 52 yards:
“Yeah. They have a good operation here. They’ve made it very easy on me. Good snapper, good holder and good offensive line. The guys in front of me have joked all week about protecting me. There is a good group of guys here, and it’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to pull this one out.”
What were your emotions like today?
“These guys really made me feel comfortable this week. We’ve worked hard and got in a groove quickly. It has been a pretty easy transition.” ”
“I told our team that this is uncharted territory. We have obviously been in a very difficult situation in the last couple of days. We lost Jerry Brown, a practice player for us that we picked up earlier in the year. It has been very emotional for everybody. As the head coach of the team, I have to talk to them about it and inform them about the situation. I had to offer some perspective on the situation, and the main thing I talked about was the value of a teammate.
“I have had the pleasure of being on many different teams and the word ‘teammate’ is very special. Jerry is one of our teammates. He is a really interesting guy. I spend a lot of time going around the halls, meeting rooms, and practice fields asking people how they are and how they are doing. I talk to everyone — coaches, players, equipment guys, everyone. Jerry would always beat me to the punch. Jerry would always ask me how I was before I could get anything out. That’s just the kind of guy he was.
“If you every watched Jerry practice, you know that he loved football. He practiced so hard and we knew after one day he was going to be the scout team player of the week. He gave Tyron Smith, Doug Free, and Jermey Parnell everything they could handle. He loved being part of our team and he showed it every day.
“I remember him as this big strapping guy with bright eyes and a bounce in his step, everywhere he went. Now, at 25 years of age, he is no longer with us. It is hard for everyone to handle, especially how we found out about it on the plane ride to Cincinnati. We talked about it last night in our meetings as well. I talked about how football is very different than life. I made it clear that this is a life situation, and we lost a 25-year old young man who had his whole life in front of him. He was a teammate and a friend.
“All we asked our team last night was to understand what happened and to somehow channel their emotions into honoring Jerry today. It was a hard thing to do. Football is a game of emotion, and somehow we had to process it all and do our job today. I did say that you can learn a lot from playing this game. I told them that it is hard and challenging. Every time you break that huddle in the NFL, you are challenged like none other, and if you aren’t ready, you will struggle. I also told them that it takes everybody — offense, defense, and special teams. It takes everyone coming together to have success in football. I also told them the bonds of teammates are rare and special. They grow stronger and stronger over time and through adversity.
“I wasn’t trying to make a football-to-life comparison. I simply asked them to apply what they had learned through football to the situation. It was really, really challenging. Somehow, we had to come together today and strengthen our bond. It was very hard today but we remained strong for Jerry Brown. Everyone was very heartbroken, and will continue to be heartbroken with the situation. This was a young man that had everything in front of him and now isn’t with us. We are going to do everything we can to support his family. I spoke to his mom after the game and told her that we gave her son the game ball. We are going to have a memorial service on Tuesday and continue to honor him, and the young man that he was.
“It isn’t an easy time for anyone, but I was very proud of my football team today. There was a feeling of numbness on the field, but they focused and found a way to win today. It is a day that I am never going to forget. However, it is a tragic day for all of us. We will never forget about Jerry Brown.”
Can you also talk about Josh Brent and the situation that he is in at this point in time?
“What we talked about last night was understanding the situation that Josh Brent is in. He too is a teammate who is well respected in our locker room. He is now in a challenging situation as well. Josh and Jerry were very close. They were close when they were in college at Illinois, and here as well. There was no one more excited in our organization than Josh when we signed Jerry. They lived together down here, and they spent an immense amount of time together. They were roommates in college, they were roommates here, and they spent an immense amount of time together. He is going through as difficult a time as anyone. We simply have to be there for him — every player, coach — everyone has to be there for Josh. He simply needs to know that we are there for him to help him through this. He will never forget this, none of us will.”
What were your thoughts on the last drive? You still had some running plays mixed in:
“We had a hard time running the football throughout the game. What we were trying to do at that point was look for ways to move the ball. We spread the field out and turned things in our favor down in the box. We mixed in some run, even in the pass situation. We really wanted to maintain balance. Our line did a good job competing, and Demarco (Murray) did a real nice job running the ball. There were a lot of little plays in that last drive that made a huge impact for us. Our line hung in there, even when we didn’t have great rhythm throughout the game. I want to give our defense a lot of credit too. We had a lot of different guys playing in there, and we had a lot of different combinations. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but they hung in there and made enough plays to put us in position to win. Ultimately, we were able to make a few drives happen to win the game.”
You talk so much about consistency. Is this game a good example of that?
“You just have to keep banging away. There are no excuses. We just have to get the job done. The guys who are used to being out there needed to step up a little bit in different cases in this game. In the end, they did, and they made some huge plays for us. We just kept fighting and battling today. I said earlier there was a feeling of numbness on the field. Somehow, someway, my guys channeled their emotions and kept banging away all day. Guys picked each other up all day, and in the end gave us a chance to win.”
Did you adjust to things differently today or do things you wouldn’t normally do based on the situation you all are in as a team?
“We actually received, which was different, because usually we defer on the road. The conditions weren’t bad, and we thought it was a good opportunity for us to get out early. One of the main things we wanted to do was control the time of possession. We did that in the first half, but as the game wore on, it turned around. They managed to get more out of drives, and we kept going three-and-out. It changed again at the end of the ball game, which worked for us. We wanted to have balance in our offense in order to stay on the field. We felt it was important for us to be out there on offense more, even though we didn’t have the best rhythm on offense. I still felt our guys did a great job of hanging around and making enough plays to win.”
Speaking of defense, they suffered through some injuries today? Also, what happened with Rob Ryan on the flag on that particular drive?
“There were a couple of times when their quarterback moved in the pocket that our guys were getting held, and we just reacted from the sideline. One of their players came over and hollered at our sideline and Rob yelled something back at him. We can’t do that, and we have to keep our emotions in check. We just had to keep battling through things on defense. They did a good job of moving the ball, but when they got to the red zone, we did a good job of slowing them down.”
Was it more what Rob said or simply being on the field?
“I think the bigger issue was he was on the field.”
What was your thought process alternating Doug Free and Jermey Parnell?
“We just wanted to give Jermey a chance. He played a few weeks ago when we had some injuries, and he showed he can play in this league. He responded well with some snaps in practice, so we felt it was justified to play them both.”
Talk about Brandon Carr. He has been involved with the incident in Kansas City last week, and now this. What is he like right now?
“Brandon is a special guy. That is one of the reasons we wanted to sign him in free agency. He is a great person and a great player. He was very close to the situation in Kansas City last week and he had to battle through that all week as well. He went to the funeral yesterday and then came up here late last night. He then had to unite with our team and the situation we are in. It has been a really difficult week and half for him, and he has done an amazing job fighting through it.”
Dan Bailey has been really good all season. Can you talk about the last drive and where you felt comfortable with him in the kicking game?
“We always have where we feel comfortable with him making the kick and where we can let him attempt the kick. In that situation, we wanted to get to the 32-yard line, and we had to make the decision at halftime for later in the game. We opted to take the wind for the fourth quarter and it ended up working out for us. We felt if we got to the 32-yard line, it was a very makeable field goal. If we got inside the 40 and had to kick it, we were going to give him a shot to kick it.”
Was there something you all saw on the last drive that kept working?
“Mike Zimmer does such a good job mixing his coverage up and we wanted Tony (Romo) to attack it based on what we saw. We got into the mode of being in three wide receiver sets to create some space. They did a great job rushing the passer and our guys did a good job of protecting Tony. We had some guys come through and make some big plays in the end, even with a good pass rush on. Spreading the field was a big part of the game.”
Can you talk about how emotional it was out there and what the last 24 hours have been like?
“The last 24 hours have really been something I’ve never experienced. I think a lot of the guys would tell you that. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions. Loss is hard in life in general, especially people that you see every single every day and they’re close with you, and you grind with (them) ... and that you’re trying to accomplish a goal with (them). You go through a lot together. It still is a very difficult thing this football team is dealing with.”
Can you really celebrate a win like this?
“You know, your mind consistently goes back to those two guys and just thinking about the situation. You’re just constantly thinking about your time together, and Jerry (Brown) being an upbeat, happy guy who had ability and was coming on and doing great in practice. I’d talk to him and I’d tell him, ‘You keep doing what you’re doing and you’re going to be on the field.’ He had a big smile and was a guy that loved to play the game. His spirit … I know you guys didn’t get a chance to see him much, but he embodies what you want in a football player with their attitude and the way that he came (to work) every day. That’s what you think about. You consistently go back to that, even in moments of … the tough moments out there — the adverse situations. At the same time, (thinking about) the positives and the win— the field goal going through and everything. You kind of sit back and think about him, and you think about Josh (Brent) and the tough situation that he’s obviously in now. It’s a hard, hard situation. There’s no playbook for this sort of thing in life.”
This win was so important for your playoff chances and these guys are important to you. When that game-winning field goal went through, were you thinking that you kept yourselves alive in the playoff race, or were you thinking:
“You think everything. In a 10-second span, you think about those guys, you think about all the guys who battled out there on the field to win, you think about their families, you think about the team and keeping our playoff chances alive. Like I said, it’s a roller coaster of emotions. I don’t know what’s right; I don’t know what’s wrong. I don’t know what you’re supposed to do or feel, or whatever. I just know there’s a lot of things that go in and out of your thought process throughout these last 24 hours.”
How tough was it to even play the game today?
“I think, and I’m not trying to be a psychologist here, it consumes your thoughts. It really does, and it’s the same when negative things happen in life in general. Now, there’s varying degrees. Obviously, nothing is more important than someone’s life being taken. But there’s other varying degrees of adverse situations you’re going to go through. Losing a football game, not making a play, doing whatever you care about, and when that doesn’t happen, what happens? Well, you think about it. It’s a part of (being) in the moments alone when you’re by yourself. That’s what overtakes you. If you’re sitting on the bench on the side there, part of what goes through your mind is the football, the whole process. At the time, you think about those guys, you think about their families, and think about everything they’ve done to commit to try and be out there. You think about Jerry’s spirit. There is a lot of stuff that goes through your mind. I think that will take place as we go forward. A lot of guys are going to miss Jerry. Now, obviously, we’re never going to see him again. I think that’s a very hard thing to deal with. In life in general, the older you get, the more you’re going to experience loss. I don’t think it ever gets any easier. It’s something that is very difficult to deal with. People will deal with it in different ways and you just have to try and stay together as a football team, as a family, and as friends and teammates. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Is it a relief to get this win?
“We needed the win. We needed to win last week — we needed to win five weeks in a row. We’re 4-1, I think, in our last five. We’re not a perfect football team. I think we know that. We’re going to be in a battle every week we play. We have to play a really, really sound football game to have a chance. Our team continues to be just mentally tough and keep staying in this thing. I’m proud of our guys — the mental toughness that it took and what it takes to win these games. It’s not easy. We’ve just got to keep going forward and keep getting better.”
Why the success you had on third down?
“I think we started off early with some good ones and we finished late with good ones, obviously. We had some long situations that we couldn’t get into that were very difficult with what they had (lined) up. But you’ve got to stay ahead of the chains, and you can use your whole playbook.”
Can you talk about how different this offense is with DeMarco Murray in it?
“He’s a good player. It’s the same as if you lost Jason (Whitten) or Miles (Austin) or Dez (Bryant). You have a guy who can win one-on-one matchups in different avenues, whether it’s the run game or the pass game. He definitely helped us tonight.”
Talk about today’s game:
“It was a moment I’m never going to forget. Emotional before the game. Emotional during the game.”
Could you imagine running in to
“It’s emotionally draining. Every play. It took everything out of me. I can imagine how the rest of my teammates feel. I can imagine how “Beast Mode” (Dez Bryant) feels right now. I can imagine how Jerry (Jones) feels right now. There’s so much stuff going on, but at the end of the day, I’m proud of how we all came together. I’m proud of how we all fought and stayed in to it until the end. Like I told most of my teammates, if not all of them, it’s a moment you’ll never forget in life. A life-changing moment. Could you imagine crying before every play? It’s emotional. Two young guys trying to do something that you’ve been doing your whole life. Fighting just to get a little shine and having this happen. It’s sad, man.”
What does this win mean?
“I can’t put the meaning behind it. It’s more than what you would think in a situation like this. We’re blessed just to wake up this morning. It’s tragic. You want to be happy and sad at the same time. It’s really emotional. At the end of the day, you still have to do a job. You’ve got millions of people watching and at the end of the day, you win. And the fashion in which you win. I’m just blessed. God, thank you. Thank you.”
From the football aspect, the team is 7-6 and in position to contend for the NFC East. How does it feel?
“Everything is in front of us. One game at a time. We just have to go 1-0. Try to go 1-0. Next week, 1-0. This is over, already. 1-0 it is.”
Talk about the loss of Jerry Brown:
“There was something that was up. They have been focused on their concern for Jerry Brown and his family. I personally visited with Ms. Jackson (Jerry Brown’s mother) twice, today. She’s leading them up to having a memorial — we will take the team — on Tuesday. So, we have that in our plans. Today’s game was a respite, if you will for some of these guys who have had their minds on Jerry Brown. All of our team is concerned for Josh (Brent).”
How emotional was this locker room when you entered after the game?
“I think it was really business that had quickly fallen to concern for Jerry Brown and concern for what had happened yesterday. The fact that as a team, that they had done something in some way for Jerry Brown.”
Was it a relief at all, to play today?
“It was a great credit to our staff and coaches and everybody. They were certainly focused on the most important thing. That’s the loss of Jerry Brown. Knowing that they had this time to compete and play and knowing what it certainly meant to Jerry Brown. He gave his professional time to competing on the field. It made a difference to every player in here.”
Were you shocked that Josh Brent made that decision?
“I was just completely taken aback by the entire accident. I am completely focused on the tragedy for two people in two families whose lives that were impacted. Obviously, the nature of Jerry Brown losing his life and the impact it has on his family. It’s mind-boggling to think that two lives could be impacted by the circumstances.”
Do you look back and think that something more could have been done to help Josh Brent with his alcohol problem?
“Certainly. Personally, I have spent a lot of time over the past 24 hours thinking what might have been said and done. I know there are many things that might have been said or done. So, the answer is yes. But, I know that’s the way things happen when you have a tragedy.”
Do you think it was a relief for the team to play today?
“I think it was a respite. I do think it was a positive, if there is such a thing under these circumstances. I think it was good for this team to compete. That’s what these guys do. That’s what I feel Jerry (Brown) would have wanted them to do. It was a plus. I’m glad they were rewarded with success. Going in to the game, we knew we were in for a hard-fought ball game. We have a lot respect for this team and coaches — Cincinnati.”
Do you think they are in the playoff hunt?
“Their coaching staff — one of which spent a lot of years with the Cowboys — we have such respect. We knew this game on the road was going to be a very big challenge for us. We didn’t expect it under these circumstances, but it was very important for us. Knowing we’ve got two games at home and the last one on the road, this was important for us.”
On the Jerry Brown situation:
“The chaplain yesterday told us that the way life is, there is always something next coming up. We can sit and pay our respects to the family. We all are fortunate to win this game with Jerry’s mom watching it. Especially, scrapping late. The strange part about life, hopefully the sun will rise tomorrow. Tuesday, we are going to pay our respects to Jerry Brown. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”
Jerry said it would help you guys to compete. Did it help you cope?
“To a degree. It’s awfully tough to come right out and say ‘Let’s go’. So, it was a combination of the two. While you’re out there, you’re thinking about the passion that both of those guys brought to the game. It gives you a boost and reevaluates what you are playing for and how precious life is. You can look at it one of two ways.”
Talk about today’s game:
“With everything that’s going on, we were able to come together for three hours and put together a solid performance from start to finish. It wasn’t always pretty, but we hung in there. We stayed together, hung in there and just kept believing. We kept believing that we have a lot of things to be playing for and a lot of things to be thankful for. We went out there and took advantage of the situation. We came away with a win. This is a big win for us. Not even as far as record. As far as taking a step in the right direction in our healing process and grieving.”
What have you learned from this?
“I try to get a positive out of everything. I don’t try to question God in his ways and what he does. I just think that for us who are still alive and blessed to be on this earth, God is telling you that you are blessed to have this day. He wants people to make the best of their days. Change a life. Impact a life in the right way. Carpe diem. It’s so true. You never know when your time is up and your name is called to see him. This time on this earth, take advantage of it. Try to do the right thing.”