With the Ravens preparing to faceoff with the Dallas Cowboys in the last regular season game at Texas Stadium on Saturday night, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad.
*BR.com gives you head coach Wade Phillips and quarterback Tony Romo. *
Head Coach Wade Phillips
What do you think about facing the Ravens' defense, one of the top-ranked in the NFL?
Wade Phillips:"Well, it seems like we're doing that every week. We played the Giants last week and Pittsburgh the week before that, so it's another big challenge for us. They're really good on defense and hard to move the ball on. [They are] real aggressive. So it's going to be a challenge."
How is Tony Romo doing?
WP:"How good is Tony Romo? I think he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league. He's done it all, and he's won a lot of games here in the last two years that I've been with him. I think he's a top quarterback."
What makes Romo so successful?
WP:"He's got all that. He's got a good feel in the pocket. He doesn't necessarily run with the ball, but it's moving around, and he's got great vision. He's got a real good arm and he's got a real quick release. [It is] a combination of all those things."
How much importance do you place on the stat that the Cowboys lead the league in sacks?
WP:"A lot. I think that part of being an aggressive defense is getting to the passer. It's hard to do in this league, but I've been lucky enough to be with some teams that can apply the pressure. That's the way you win games is apply the pressure on the quarterback."
What do you think about Ravens rookie Joe Flacco?
WP:"He's done a great job. He reminds me a lot of Roethlisberger when he came in. It's just amazing how [well he's done]. There are few guys – there's not very many – who can come in and play as a rookie, and he's done it."
Quarterback Tony Romo
Are the Cowboys are worried about any particular player on the Ravens' defense?
Tony Romo:"I think they have, obviously, a bunch of good players. There's not one that we're going to account for on every play, per se. We're going to kind of put together the plan, go out there and basically just figure who's open and try to give them the ball and run the ball."
How impressed are you with Joe Flacco?
TR:"There's just so much being thrown at you as a rookie. Shoot, I can remember my first year, which was the third or fourth year in the league, whatever. [There] was a lot of stuff. It's not easy to come in and play. So much of it as a young guy is managing, especially with a good team around you like he has.
"But it's not easy just to go out there and help your team win games. It's a difficult process, and I think he's done a great job with that and knowing everything that's happened. He's got strong individual leaders on that team, so it makes it even more difficult. Sometimes in that [situation], you've got to live up to something since other people have been to the top and back. So, it makes for him to have to be accountable a lot quicker than you normally would as a first-year player."
How is your back feeling, and are you worried about testing it against the physical defense of the Ravens?
TR:"I'm sure it will be fine by Saturday. It's like anything; it's still sore. We'll see what happens today and try to give it a go. We'll see. But I think it's just part of playing football. Everyone gets banged up this time of year, and you get back out there and you play. You either like playing football or you don't. I think there [are] a lot of guys who do [play hurt]."
With Saturday's game being the last regular season game to be played in Texas Stadium, what impact will that have on the players?
TR:"It will be very important to the organization and to the fans. We're going into it, obviously, hoping not to end anything on a sour note at the stadium that's got so many great memories. It's been an inspiration to any of those young guys who have come in to play here to look at the tradition and see what players have [done], where certain people were at this point or did this here, and it's just really exciting when you look at it."
Do distractions off the field with the Cowboys ever carry over to the field?
TR:"No. I think that's the biggest misconception to – I don't want to say the fans – but definitely to people who judge football games and decide who's going to win before the game. They're looking to say, 'There's too much turmoil here.' When you get on the field, it's just about being a guy. Most of these guys have one-on-one battles that they have to win, and if they do that, the execution side of it will be a lot better.
"You get your team into the right play call [and you win]. Who knows what the things are that decide football games? It's not [things like], 'Oh, he's mad at him,' or 'He's talking about him.' There's just so much going on. You don't even think about that stuff when you're on the field. You've got so much stuff going on you've got to think about coverages and all this other stuff."