The Washington Redskins on Sunday play the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 action at FedExField.
On Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and running back Alfred Morris spoke to the Washington, D.C., media about their upcoming matchup against the Redskins.
Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett
On players returning to play their former teams and how he approaches it as a coach:
"I think the biggest thing that we try to do is focus on what we need to do to win the game. You try to keep all of that personal stuff out of it. I'm sure there's different emotions for different players depending on what their experience has been. You guys know Alfred [Morris] like I do, he's a great person, first of all, and he's a very even-keeled guy. He's such a professional in how he approaches everything every day, so it's been great to have him on our team. He's going to approach it like a pro and get ready to play and take advantage of his opportunities if he gets them."
On their struggles and how they keep their confidence level up:
"Yeah, just come back to work every day. In regards to the game the other day, you come back in on Tuesday and you clean it up. You address what the issues are and try to get better at them. Certainly you try to build on the good things that you're doing. It was a hard-fought game the other day against the Giants. Ultimately we didn't do what we needed to do to win the game, but you learn from it and you move on and we focus on the challenge against the Redskins."
On if teams try to get players more touches against their former team:
"I don't think you look at it that way. Again, you're trying to put a plan together that helps you win the game and you focus on what you need to do to put your players in the best position. Alfred [Morris] is a pro and you certainly want to get him involved every week to help contribute to our team."
On how the Redskins approached WR Antonio Brown and how that may affect WR Dez Bryant:
"I don't know, all I know is that guys they were playing against the other night were awfully good players. The quarterback [Ben Roethlisberger] is outstanding and it's arguably one of the best receivers in the National Football League. So we have great respect for the Redskins' defense on all three levels. They have very good front guys, very good linebackers, and obviously some accomplished, talented defensive backs. We have great respect for them. Again, we're focused on us, our preparation, getting ready to play our best football on Sunday."
On QB Dak Prescott's knowledge of the offense:
"You know, one of the best things he does is he works and he prepares. It's impressed all of us right from day one. He's really done an excellent job taking advantage of every opportunity, starting all the way back in rookie minicamp. His approach is outstanding. Obviously the more experienced you are running plays in a game, your level of understanding for the system will grow just because you have real-life game experience. But in terms of controlling everything he can control to learn it and be prepared, he's done that from day one. He has real command of what we're asking him to do and he's really grown very quickly, and it has a lot to do with the approach he's taken."
On if they will limit Prescott's rushing attempts:
"If that's something that we think can be an effective play for us, we'll certainly use it. He's been very effective throwing the ball from the pocket. He's been effective throwing the ball on movement plays. He's been effective scrambling. When things have broken down, he's made some runs when the play's broken down for some big gains for us. Obviously some of the designed quarterback runs have been effective for us as well. So he's a guy that can do anything physically that you would ask him to do. So that's been a part of what we've done in certain game plans. It's been a good play for us."
On the Redskins' secondary:
"I just think they're good players. They've been good players since they've been in this league. They're good cover guys in man-to-man. They're good zone defenders. They're physical, they play the game the right way. But again, we spend most of our time focusing on ourselves rather than what they're doing. Obviously they'll play certain coverages in different situations that we'll try to prepare ourselves for, but what we're trying to do is grow each and every day, each and every week ourselves. That's where our focus is."
On where the team is mentally after QB Tony Romo's injury and a Week 1 loss:
"Yeah, our team has done a great job just coming to work every day all through the offseason and training camp, and that's been no different through the preseason and the start of the regular season. Got real professional guys who handle things the right way, they prepare for their opportunities, who are excited about this opportunity this week against the Redskins."
On if the Cowboys will utilize as much zone defense as the Steelers did on Monday:
"Again, we really focus on what we do. We've been a team that's played zone, we've played man, we've played a variety of each. Pittsburgh has done that as well. They've also been a big pressure team, so when you watch them play, it seems like what they did kind of fit with what they've done for a lot of years up there in Pittsburgh and they did a good job in the game slowing the Redskins down. But they're a very good defense. We're going to focus on what we do and how we can play our best football."
On RB Alfred Morris' value as a mentor to RB Ezekiel Elliott:
"I think what you try to do when you build a team is you want to put the right guys together. Certainly, their ability on the football field and their talent is very critical to that evaluation, but you also want them to be the right kind of guys off the field as well. Alfred is certainly that. He's been fantastic since he's been here—a real professional approach, very much of a team-oriented guy, and I just think an outstanding person. Not only does he have a positive impact on the running back room, but I think he has a positive impact on the offense and really everybody throughout the team. That's older guys and younger guys alike. He's been a real positive influence on our football team both on and off the field and we're lucky to have him."
On what they saw in Morris:
"Well, we've just played against him a lot over the course of his career. He's been just such an effective runner for the Redskins. The 1,400, 1,500, 1,600-yard seasons—whatever they were—they speak for themselves. He's been very productive that way, but he just has a good feel for running and we thought he was such an integral part of what they were doing offensively. I told him when we signed him, 'Hey, we've been trying to tackle you for the last four years, it's good to have you on our side.' Again, he's been such a pro, handled every opportunity the right way and he's certainly helping our football team."
Dallas Cowboys RB Alfred Morris
On being a Dallas Cowboy:
"It's different. I thought it would take me a little more, like the first game after I was like, 'Man, I am really on a different team.' But, it really didn't hit me, so I don't know. Maybe it'll hit me this week when we go back to Landover and I am on the other sideline and the opposite locker room. Maybe then it'll be like, 'Oh, this is real, I'm really gone.' So we will see. But it's been different, just the way they run things around here, not to say it's better, it's just different so it's been adjustments for me. Even the city. Yeah, people drive crazy around here, you have to be on guard all the time but people drive crazy everywhere. I almost got hit a bunch of times out there in in Ashburn, D.C., so crazy drivers. But, it's been a bit of an adjustment so we are adjusting fine, so no complaints."
On what it felt like to be a free agent and choose Dallas:
"By the end of the year, I figured that my time there was gone and unfortunately my plan was to stay with the same team my whole career. I mean, get different pieces in there and you're not the coaches' guy, you're not the GM's guy, they draft a young guy. It's a business, so I expected that. They just had a different plan and I wasn't a part of it and that was OK. I accepted that much of it and it's a business and some guys think that 'Oh, that would never happen here.' I accept that because I know at the end of the day it's a business and so you just move on. And, honestly, I didn't know where I would end up at and just kind of tested it. The free agency process was very insulting to just say the least. I didn't like it one bit. I don't want to do it again. It was a crazy experience and just due to last season and everybody saying my production went down, you know a lot of people threw shots at me and tried to say, 'Hey, he just wasn't good.' So, yeah, I ended up… Dallas actually came on late and I talked to a lot of other teams early on like Miami and Denver and different things, pieces were moving and they were trying to work things out and then they had bigger needs in the offseason than a running back. So it was a lot of things getting shifted around and it was wild one and I was like, 'Wow, man. This is not going the way I expected it to go.' And then eventually Dallas came knocking. I did a visit and it just seemed like a good fit so I said, 'Why not?' They worked out the contract stuff and it was just an opportunity to continue to do what I love. So, yeah, it was a rival team but I didn't even think about that; I was a kid trying to keep his dream alive and it just happened to fall to the rival team."
On getting the offense going without Tony Romo at quarterback:
"It's different because, man, Tony, just being next to him, man, he's so smart and he's so ahead of the game and puts you in the right positions to be successful. He's very, very talented and very, very smart. So just losing a guy like that for however long this takes is definitely a blow, but having a young guy like Dak [Prescott], man, this kid is very, very impressive. He's very composed in the pocket. You just watch him, he stands in there and delivers strikes, even with hands and pressure coming at him, he stands in there and delivers, he moves his feet. He's very, very confident, which is something that you want in a quarterback and he's a natural leader. When you have a guy like that stepping in and filling some big shoes, it makes it easier for us. The veterans around him, we have to do a better job, we have to do a good job of stepping up and making it easy for them. Running crisp routes, getting the run game going, protecting him, so that it's easier for him so he can get settled and start delivering strikes and marching down the field and doing what he's been doing. He had an impressive preseason and I feel like his first showing was really good, minus the loss. He did a very good job, especially being a rookie. He had a lot on his plate, but we did a good job of bearing that burden with him and not putting it all on him and feeling like he has to deliver us and make it happen. Even though we fell short, I feel like it was a good first showing so I'm excited to see him again this coming up week."
On similarities between Dak Prescott and Robert Griffin III:
"I think they both are dual threats. He can run the ball. I don't know that I'm going to really say that one is a better runner than the other, but they're both confident for one. Confident dual threats and rookies and starting, that's not easy to do in this league. You can kind of see even with the New York Giants, they did a good job of trying to pressure him, trying to throw crazy looks at him, disguising coverages. He did a good job of making his read and delivering strikes. Like I said, I was very impressed by his first actual game, but I've been impressed with him since he's been here."
On if he was told why he did not return to Washington:
"No, I didn't get a reason. I didn't go looking for one either. I thought about it. I contemplated it for a while, just go ask kind of, 'What's going on?' I just felt like I didn't really need to. Whatever happened, happened, and I guess it was time to move on. So that was fine with me. Like I said, it goes back to 'it's a business' and like I said, I can't cry over spilled milk. I just had to go buy me another gallon."
On not taking free agency personally:
"Like I said, it's a business, man. I don't want to keep saying that, but it's true and I accepted that. Just talking to some of the veterans when I first came in – Santana Moss and DeAngelo [Hall] – and a lot of those guys kind let you know, 'Hey, this is not what you think.' My first year, you know, you have this idea of what the NFL is and think it's all peaches and cream, but when you really get in you are like, 'Oh, this is a business.' But you have to remember not to let that steal your joy and that's why I went out there and I was like, 'I get an opportunity to do what I love to do every single day.' And that's what kept me level-headed because I still got an opportunity to live my dream. Is it going the way I wanted it to go? It's not, but that's OK because I'm still here. There's millions of people that would give anything to be in our shoes and I'm fortunate enough to be where I want to be to live out this dream. So it kept me level-headed. It's always an opportunity, I just make the most of what I do get. So I knew if it wasn't there, there would be opportunities somewhere for me and I just happened to fall in Dallas. We'll see how this works out over time."
On if he'll have extra motivation against the Redskins:
"No, not at all. I've been an underdog my whole life. Little League, high school, college, I've always been an underdog, underrated, counted out. I'm used to it and I don't know why that happened to me, but I just embrace it. I embrace that I am an underdog and I don't have to prove anything to anyone. All I need is an opportunity. All I need is a chance. The same thing when I came out of college, a lot of people said I wouldn't make it in this league and that was fine. I never listened to naysayers anyway. All I said, all I needed was an opportunity. The Redskins – Coach [Mike] Shanahan – took a chance with me, drafting me and that was my foot in the door and I was like, 'This is good enough because I'll make the most of it.' That's what I always do. No, I don't feel like I have anything to prove. I'm not going to go out there and go any harder than what I do because I give every play my all. So I'm always going hard. Every play could be my very last and that's how I always approach the game ever since I've been playing. Even all my four years at the Redskins, even last year, I approached every play like it was my last because it very much could have been. Actually, some of those plays were my last being in Washington. Now I'm somewhere else and I still have the same approach, still have the same mentality, still have the same work ethic and I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I just need the opportunity."
On if he will have his usual meeting with FedExField stadium staff:
"Oh, for sure! That's going to be the highlight of my trip, other than a win – a win would be very nice. Yeah, I'm looking forward to meeting up with them. Hopefully if we don't grab anything for dinner – depending on our meetings and our schedule – if we can't grab anything beforehand, I'm definitely going to be at the stadium as early as I can. Definitely go to my same little spot and hang out with my same family and just shoot the breeze before the game. I'm definitely looking forward to that."
On if he expects a warm reception at FedExField:
"I'm not sure, honestly. I just hope for the best and prepare for the worst. So we'll see what happens. It will be interesting, to say the least."
On his tweet on Monday supporting QB Kirk Cousins:
"Yeah, I mean, Kirk, that's my guy. I love him. He's a good guy and I texted him before the game. Even when I was there, last year, I was like, 'Have fun.' Even at halftime, I was like, 'Are you having fun?' I'm like, 'Good, good. Keep having fun.' I just texted him, 'Do me one favor and just have fun.' It didn't look like he had fun, but it's OK because there's 15 more games to play. I'm always going to be in Kirk's corner. All the guys – DY [Darrel Young], Robert [Griffin III] – we kind of came through together. We started around the same time and I was able to build great relationships with them, so I'm always going to root for them. Just because I'm on an opposing team doesn't mean I'm not going to root for my friends."