Ravens Transcripts: Week 11 At Dallas (Nov. 17)

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Appreciate you guys coming. I think you got everything you need, probably, from those guys [Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs], right? That was pretty good – very entertaining. That's one of the first of Suggs' press conferences that I have sat through live. It was quite an experience."* (laughter) (Reporter Jerry Coleman: "Has Elvis [Dumervil] reached second base yet?) (laughter) *"I am going to ignore that question, wisely. We're good. We had a good practice. Guys worked hard. You can see a bunch of guys out there working after, just getting ready for a very exciting game. It's going to be a great environment down there [against] the top team in football at this point in time. You can't ask for anything more as a football team, to get a chance to go down there and play a team like that. We're excited, and we're looking forward to it."

Can you appreciate what Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has done as a rookie who hadn't necessarily planned to start, but has done well, a lot like QB Joe Flacco in 2008? (Pete Gilbert) "He's done a great job. Dak, obviously, they had the situation with the injury with Tony Romo. Obviously, Tony Romo has handled it so well with his statement that he put out yesterday, in terms of what's best for their team. It gives you an indication of why they are so successful."

**Dallas gets a lot of attention for their offense and offensive line. Is their defense underrated? *(Joe Platania) *"Their defense is playing good football. They play a classic, old-school, Tampa 4-3 style. They get after it up front. They're a penetrating, very fast defense – very hard-playing defense. When you watch their front seven, they really play very hard. They're active, they have hot motors, and that's why they've been successful."

I know you are pleased with T Ronnie Stanley and getting him at No. 6, but would it have been a different draft situation if Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot was still available?* (Jamison Hensley) "It sure would have been. It would have been a very tough call. I think I know which way we would have gone. I was in the room. I did see the [draft] board. I don't have clearance to be the leak. *(laughter) I'm an unauthorized leak on that. Ozzie [Newsome] wouldn't appreciate it. He's a guy we thought a lot of. He's a guy that would have gotten very serious consideration if he had been there."

John, with their offensive line, is it just technique? Are they maulers? Do they run well? What sticks out? (Mike Preston)"It's a great question, because you watch it and try to figure it out. I think they have a combination of being big, strong guys, but they have really good feet. They bend really well. They're very patient blockers, and I think they're very athletic. They do a great job of swallowing up movement. They do a great job of securing the down guy first before they work up to the second level. They cover people up, and they have a runner with really good vision who also has the ability to accelerate once he sees it and get into a hole. It's a combination of all of those things."

Is it hard to teach a rookie running back to have that patience to make the most of those holes? (Mike Preston)"It's probably better if you get them when they already know it. I think he already had that. I don't think they had to teach it to him. That's why they drafted him where he was. He's a special guy. He's definitely … The offensive line deserves a lot of credit for the success they're having. They have two really good backs. It's a combination of a really good O-line, really good running backs, and now they're the No. 1 rushing team in football."

John, with G/T Alex Lewis out, this will be your seventh offensive line formation in seven weeks. Has it been difficult to plug guys in to battle those different injuries? (David Ginsburg)"It's not ideal, obviously. You'd like to have your offensive line with some continuity. I think you see that with them working together on those combination blocks, the calls, being on the same page – just the footwork, one guy working next to another guy and having the timing of the footwork where we don't step on one another, just something as simple as that. It's definitely a choreographed type of a thing with that offensive line. We're working toward that with the young guys [and] with the injuries. Our guys work hard. We'll just keep chasing it with the guys we have. We have enough good players to be really good up front. We have to get there."

The offense got it going in the second half of the last game. Can that momentum carry over from game to game? (Garrett Downing) "It can. You just have to play well the next week though. It's a different game. It's a different front. It's a different bunch of players. It's a different game plan. We just have to carry over execution. The thing that can carry over, momentum-wise, is doing things the right way, well. Good footwork, good leverage, good hand placement, good finish, just the things that – I'm talking about the offensive line again – just doing things well from one game to the next so you can continue to improve."

How much did the few days off after the Thursday night game help?* (Brent Harris)* "It should help us. Our guys are definitely rested. We didn't play a game Sunday, and that's an advantage every team has whenever they have a Thursday game. That's the plus side of it. You asked me last week about the challenge of playing on Thursday, and it's there for both teams, but the plus side of it is that you have a couple extra days to get ready for your next game."

Did it help seeing Dallas play a team you are so familiar with and that you could actually watch the game? (Brent Harris) "It did. It helped us in the sense that we know Pittsburgh, so you can look at it and really understand what you're seeing. They played Cleveland the week before. That's what happens when you play the cross-conference division."

When you watch DT Brandon Williams and DT Michael Pierce, they are obviously two big guys, but does their athleticism go beyond just being two big guys? (Jamison Hensley) "They're not just two big guys. They're two big guys, but they're two big guys that are really excellent athletes. They're in great shape. They're powerful. They're explosive. They play hard. They use their hands really well. They can get off blocks. It's two really good football players who are pretty powerful guys."

John, you guys have the No. 1-ranked defense. How important has what you have been able to do on third down and getting off the field been in that regard?* (Jeff Zrebiec)*"Critically important, and also what you do on first down and second down gets you in those situations. We're certainly better on third down when it's third-down-and-longer than third-down-and-shorter, although, our third-and-one has been very good this year. That's all a part of it, but it's what, nine games in? We've stopped the run, but what are we going to slip up now and not be able to stop the run? You have to play every game the next week like it's the most important game of the season. Our guys understand that. Our guys are going to get ready to play, just take them one at a time, and play well from one week to the next."

Is CB Jimmy Smith a concern? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I don't anticipate it being a concern. He should be out there Sunday. I expect him to practice this week. We had some other guys back. You guys know who they are. You saw those guys out there practicing, so that was good news for us with those, I think, four guys."

QB Joe Flacco

On the frequent changes to the offensive line's starters:"It's happened to us before. It's obviously not the most ideal situation. Anytime you have moving parts on a team, it takes a lot of work together and things like that to get it right. It's obviously not the most ideal thing, but I think guys are in there and we're fighting. That's all you can ask for. It hasn't been perfect, and we have to get better. I have to be better at dealing with some things and all of that. At the end of the day, we're probably going to have to learn how to live with one or two mistakes a game and expect to be good enough with the little things to overcome them. It's just where we are right now."

On if the efficiency of the offense in the second half of the Thursday night game was due to play-calling or guys working well together: "It's a little bit of both. It's tough to … Like I said after the game, you can't expect because you played a good half of football to come out and do the same thing the next game. You have to translate it. You have to find a way to make that stuff continue to work and continue to get better at the stuff that made us go off there a little bit in the second half. We can't expect it to just happen. We have to continue to come out here and work at it. We got the ball underneath to some guys that are pretty good when they get the ball in their hands. It worked out well for us. Then we were able to get the ball in the end zone in the red zone. That's big. That's a week-to-week thing. Each defense is different when it comes to red zone defense. Things get tighter down there. You have to make quick decisions and be precise, and that's what we haven't been great at doing this year. We just have to make sure we take what we did last game and translate it to this one the best we can. These guys are a good defense. They do a few things. They don't do a lot, they just do a few things, but they line up and they play, and they play hard, and they expect to be better than you."

On if he marvels at all that WR Steve Smith Sr. has been able to accomplish, especially after his latest injury:"Everything that guy does is incredible, athletically. The physical nature of him is … Everybody should look at him, and I don't know if they should be jealous or what, but they should definitely take notice of how special of a person that they're watching. I think he's going to be a guy that we remember for a while. I'm definitely a very proud person to say that I can play with him. With the things that he's gone through and the way that he's come back this year, I'll be telling stories about him for a long time, and this just adds to it."

DT Timmy Jernigan

On what stands out to him about Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott:"He never second-guesses himself. I think he understands that his offensive line is going to do their job up front. He gets the ball, and he is moving. He is one cut, and he is down the field. He is not taking his time and trying to read anything. He is one cut, and he is gone. If you are there, you are there. If not, he can make you pay for it."

On if QB Dak Prescott looks like a rookie playing quarterback: "No, and then, he is a big kid on top of that, and he is strong. He can run. They are doing a great job at putting him in positions to make plays. He definitely has to be accounted for."

On if it is exciting to face the No. 1 running offense: "It is going to be a challenge. I think they could be the best front that we've played. Oakland was pretty solid up front, too. I definitely think that they are the most athletic. They can go from sideline to sideline, make the cut, blocks on the backside and those different things. It is going to be a challenge for us. But at the same time, I do not think they have seen a front like ours, either. It is going to be on, and we are going to be ready for the challenge."

On what has made the run defense so stout this season: "Just guys having their mind made up that we are not going to settle for less. Finding guys like 'Big Mike' [Michael Pierce] that came out of nowhere and him making big plays and buying in [has been important]. I think as a group, that is everybody buying in to the system and what [defensive coordinator] coach [Dean] Pees has to say."

On what the front seven needs to do to stop the Cowboys' run game: "The biggest thing is staying square with these guys. When you get your shoulders turned – guessing – or doing things that the defense does not tell you to do, I think that is where they capitalize. I think we are a lot more disciplined than teams they have played. I am just putting it out there. I think we are more disciplined up front. It is going to be a different kind of challenge for them. Only time can tell how everything is going to play out."

WR Steve Smith Sr.

On if the offensive momentum can carry over from one game to the next: "I think it can. You see the success we had and the things that we did and the adjustments we made. I think it can, yes."

On if he thinks about approaching 1,000 receptions:"Yes, I did, but I don't really think about it that much. As it gets closer, yes, you think about it. But you try not to focus on it too much, because then you find yourself either reception counting or yards counting. That is now what you need to do, because when the hard ones come, you catch them, and when the easy ones come, you take off running [and] you drop them. I'm just trying to narrow my focus, focus on every ball and every catch like it is the first one."

On if he plans on driving to Charlotte after his 1,000th reception as he said in the offseason: "Not from Dallas. That is a long drive. (laughter) I would have to rent a car and all that stuff."

On if there was a point in his career where he thought about 1,000 receptions: "[I thought about it] last year when I realized I could get it. No, I never really thought I could get to 1,000 receptions. I didn't even know … You think about it, but you don't really think about it. It is like, 'Hey, I can get it!'"

On the offense being able to get underneath routes going in the second half against the Browns with he, WR Mike Wallace and WR Breshad Perriman:"I am not sure if you have ever noticed, but I can run underneath routes pretty good. But yes, I guess so. We just … The defense does things to slow us down, no matter who it is – Dennis [Pitta], myself, Mike [Wallace], Breshad [Perriman]. You try to take what the defense gives you and catch it first and make the move to get upfield."

On how much OLB Terrell Suggs and G Marshal Yanda playing through their injuries sets the tone for the team:"You don't worry about [Terrell] Suggs. He is just being dramatic. I don't think he is hurt. *(laughter) *Just to see the guys playing the way they are, you see that they are all in. They are all invested. When you feel like you have a nick, you have to go. These guys are suffering through more than we could imagine."

On playing against Dallas, who has won eight games in a row:"It is a big game. It is a ton of … It is going to be a big hoopla, and rightfully so. I think they are 8-1. They have a young team; they are playing well. Their starting quarterback was a guy who they didn't think it was going to be. Their other quarterback who is hurt, you know what is going on with him. There is a lot of stuff going on out there. And, oh yeah, we are playing a football game. The players, we just focus on the game and understand what kind of game it is going to be. You look at their team … They are a team that [plays like] the old NFC East, where it is physical. They like to play hard. They hit. [Cowboys safety] Wilcox, I think it is J.J. Wilcox, came down and just knocked the snot out of some players in Pittsburgh. Just seeing all that, it is going to be a tough, physical game, and I think that we are built for it. We play a tough physical game. We are used to that. It is not going to catch us by surprise, and [we will] anticipate that. They have physical corners, so we expect to run through the contact and make the play."

On if there is something unique about playing the Cowboys with the history they have:"Yes. The history which they have … The two teams that you think about when it comes to history and dynasties are the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. I think the new [team] in the 21st Century, it would be the New England Patriots. If you go way way back in the '70s, it would be the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. There are very few teams that have the dynasty and the lineage of success, which this team has. They have a young set of players that people can easily say are the new Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Obviously, you have '88' with Dez [Bryant] and Michael Irvin. You have all these guys who are really starting to come along and be playmakers and be guys that when you look up, you can't stop them. I think they are trying to duplicate that, and they are on their way to doing that. Our job is to try to be the team that goes in there and slows them down."

On the matchup between the two most accurate kickers in NFL history and if he enjoys watching the evolution of kickers:"Really? How does a kicker make a 40-yard field goal? How does he make it? Who has to set it up? The playmakers, right? OK. [Justin] Tucker makes it; great. If Tucker misses it, we are on Tucker, OK? Just do your job. Ain't nobody watching no kicker. (laughter) The evolution of kicking is not a focus point for me. My son plays soccer, and I believe in accuracy, but believe me, I am not … If it is a game-winning [kick], I'm closing my eyes and saying a prayer: 'God, please help him make it.' But I am not watching the evolution of kicking a ball in the National Football League. Sorry. I would rather watch … I would rather go to a circus, a carnival, a fair or even a medieval festival and watch cotton candy be made before I watch Justin Tucker and the other guy [Dan Bailey] practice kicking before pregame to see the evolution of kicking. (laughter) Sorry." (Reporter: "Well, I am glad I asked you that.") "Yes. Now you know where I stand. I tell Tucker all the time, on Monday through Friday, I love his job. He does nothing. On Sunday, I want nothing to do with it."

OLB Terrell Suggs

On if the Ravens get motivated playing a team like the Cowboys, with them having the best record in the league:"You have to. They are leading their division. We fought our way back to lead our division. They are No. 1 running the ball. We are No. 1 against the run. It is fun; this is football. This is NFL football. I think this is very good for our league and our sport. Everybody is going to tune in to watch."

On the Cowboys being led by two rookies: "You have to understand, when you are not playing them, it is good to watch – especially when they are beating up on your division foes. You definitely love watching them. It also looks like they are out there having a lot of fun. Like I said, it is good for our league; it is good for football. We just do not want them to have too much fun come Sunday."

On the biggest challenge in facing the Cowboys' offensive line: "I think the biggest challenge is that you have to go out there and match their intensity. They are going to be at home, they are going to be excited. They are coming off a big emotional win last Sunday. Like I said, this is November football. This is a very fun game to kind of participate in, to get to play in. You just want to make sure that you handle your business during the week."

On if the Cowboys' offensive line is more physical or technically better than everybody else:"I am not sure about that. You have to really go down and compare them against this offensive line and that offensive line and this guy and that guy. But they do good; they work well together. They have a very talented [running] back, a very talented quarterback. They have one of the best receivers in the game. As a defense, you definitely … You want to play against the best. When you were 10 years old, you were like, 'I want to go play in the NFL. I want to be considered one of the best players in the NFL.' To be the best, you have to play the best. It is a challenge for our defense, but we accept it. I think we are just the men for the job."

On if he looks at Cowboys QB Dak Prescott or RB Ezekiel Elliott different because they are rookies: "No, I think they have an offense that fits the way they play, that fits their game. They are having success with it. Like you guys said, they have a very good offensive line. It is a very good thing to see, and it is going to be fun to play against, to compete against."

On how it feels to have OLB Elvis Dumervil back practicing:"Well, he came back out before and teased us a little bit. I guess he let us get to second base, but hopefully, you know … *(laughter) *Come on man, I'm 'Sizzle.' He let us get to second base, but hopefully we get him out there."

On how tough it is for teams to run against interior defensive linemen like Ravens DT Brandon Williams and DT Michael Pierce:"I don't know. Initially, the offense gets the pen last, because there are definitely some things that the offense can do to keep our big guys off the field. We definitely have to get in to a chess match with them, so to say. We definitely have to have a counterpunch for them if they want to keep our big guys on the field. They are a big part of our defense. They are a huge part of our run defense. It is good to have those guys going into a game like this."

On how much he has enjoyed the opportunity to play with WR Steve Smith Sr., and how much he appreciates him, knowing his age:"You kind of forget his age [by] the way he plays. You kind of forget his age. It has been an honor to play with him. But we have had bears around here before. He is just a smaller version of it. Anquan [Boldin] was like that. He was not as verbal as Steve is, but he definitely brought it on the field like that. It is good to have a guy to kind of be that fiery on that side of the ball."


Head Coach Jason Garrett

Can you talk about how unusual it is to have two rookies in QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott leading your offense?"They have certainly done a very good job transitioning from college football to pro football. We thought a lot of both of those guys when they were coming out in the draft. They both were big-time college players. 'Zeke' [Ezekiel Elliott], obviously, at Ohio State, and Dak at Mississippi State. We really felt good about where they were as players and who they were as people. We felt like they could come in and contribute to our team. Obviously, the transition they have made has been very smooth. It has been a quick transition. They're demonstrating who they are in a short period of time. It has certainly been a process."

Can you talk about the draft a little bit? There was talk of the Ravens moving up and trading with you to do so. Was part of the hesitation in moving back the thought that you could lose out on RB Ezekiel Elliott?"We felt very confident that he was the guy that we wanted on our team. We were sitting there at No. 4, and because the two quarterbacks went 1 and 2, we felt like it was a good chance that we might have an opportunity to get him. We didn't want to take any chances to move away from that spot. Sometimes those draft day trades are very attractive, because you can say, 'We can slide here and still get the guy we want; we'll get this pick,' or whatever the trade would entail. Oftentimes, it is best to sit tight and take the player that you want. He certainly was the guy we wanted, and he's done an excellent job for us."

Nationally, among analysts, there's still some skepticism around the Ravens' defense. I think people want to see them do well against better teams. When you watch them on film, what do you see? How impressed are you with that group? "We're very impressed. We don't listen to that kind of commentary, we just watch the tape. They're a very impressive group. They're a very well-coached group. They have a lot of really good players on all three levels of defense. They play with the physical style. It's easy to see why they're among the best defenses in the league."

Are there any changes that you have seen in the Ravens' defense? "Again, they're not in our division, and we don't play them that often. What we see when we look at them is a really sound defensive football team. They're a physical team. They run well. They tackle well. They take the ball away. Again, on all three levels, they have big-time players – guys who are impactful on their defense. There's no surprise to us that they're regarded as highly as they are, because it jumps off the tape at you."

How impressed are you with what WR Steve Smith Sr. is doing, not just this year coming back from the Achilles at his age, but really over the course of his career?"Just a great football player and has been for a long, long time. Certainly, a very talented guy with play-making ability. To me, as much as anything else, it's the mental and physical toughness and the spirit that he plays with. He's someone that we've certainly admired from afar for a long time. Whenever we've had the chance to play against him, it's been a great challenge for us, and that's no different right now."

It's not easy to play quarterback in this league, especially as a rookie. What is it about QB Dak Prescott that has allowed him to have so much success? "First of all, he's a very talented, capable quarterback. Beyond that, I just think his approach to the game is outstanding. Those are the reports that we got from the people at Mississippi State who were around him every day. The coaches that coached him there were just so impressed by the approach that he took, how much he loves football, how he is a natural leader, how he made everyone around him better, and how he loved studying and preparing and getting himself ready for any opportunity. That's been our experience with him right from the start. On Day One of rookie minicamp, that's what he was like. He's gotten better and better and better. I think so much of that has to do with the approach that he takes, his willingness to learn and prepare, and do whatever he needs to be as good as he can be."

You are obviously impressed with the way QB Dak Prescott has played. Knowing that QB Tony Romo will be back physically, will there be any urge to have a quick hook on Dak? "The biggest thing is everybody has to focus on what their opportunities are. Dak will continue to be our starting quarterback. Tony, if everything goes well this week in practice, will assume the backup role. He has to be ready for those opportunities when he gets them. He's going to work very hard to do that. It's a little bit of a different preparation for him. He's typically been the starter when he's been our quarterback, so he's not going to get as many reps. He has to work extra hard preparing maybe a different way than he has throughout his career. Dak will get his work in practice and obviously play in the game. Everybody just has to be ready for their opportunities going into the game, and if things change, respond the right way to them."

Did what QB Tony Romo say yesterday and the manner in which he did it mean a lot to you and the organization with how great he has handled the situation? "Tony is a first-class person. He's an outstanding human being. He's been a great player for our organization for a long time. It doesn't surprise me one bit that he's handled this the right way, both publicly and privately. The biggest thing for him is to get ready to play. He's been out for 10, 11 weeks now. Coming back from the injury, he has worked very hard every day in his rehab. He has worked very hard to get his football skills back coming off of this injury. He has been practicing the last couple of weeks. He has made a lot of progress. He will have his most extensive practice this week, but the biggest thing for him to do is focus on today, his preparation and getting ready for this game on Sunday."

Would you say this Ravens front seven is the best front seven you will face this season? "We don't really compare people and front sevens and defenses and teams and all of that. I know we have a tremendous amount of respect for them for the reasons we talked about earlier. They're awfully good across the board. They have a lot of talented guys in the front seven, really throughout their defense. Again, they're well-coached, and they play the right way."

WR Cole Beasley is one of the league leaders in third-down receptions. Can you talk about the chemistry between him and Dak? "He's an excellent football player. Cole is not the biggest guy. He is not the most physically imposing guy, but he's one of those guys that always seems to be open. If they cover him man-to-man, somehow he gets open. If they cover him in zone, somehow he finds a way to get open. He's very quarterback-friendly. The quarterbacks love throwing to him. He's just a good football player who makes quarterbacks' lives better. Tony [Romo] loved throwing to him, and certainly, Dak does as well."

You have one of the most accurate kickers and so do the Ravens. What are your thoughts on those two guys?"You just said it, two of the most accurate kickers, not only now, but in the history of the NFL. We love Dan Bailey. The number of times he has made big kicks for us to win games over the course of his career, I can't even begin to start to count them. He's been such an important player for us. He's very good with his kickoffs. Whenever there's a point opportunity to have, he seems to take advantage of them for us. He, too, has an incredibly professional approach. Success does not come by accident. He's a talented guy, but works very hard at it, and we're lucky to have them."

Going back to RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott, normally you expect rookies to make a lot of mistakes and take a while transitioning to the NFL. Why is it that these two haven't had to endure that? "Again, I think they're really good football players. They've been able to make this transition fairly smoothly. I think our coaching staff is doing a really good job with them, putting them in positions where they can be successful. Again, they are good players who understand the game, who work very hard at the game and want to get better. If you look at them over the course of the season, they have done a good job right from the start, but they have gotten better and better and better, certainly week by week and even day by day. It's fun to coach them because of the approach that they have."

QB Dak Prescott

On his impressions of Cowboys QB Tony Romo's statement on Prescott remaining the starter:"It was a heartfelt statement. It was a guy that cares a lot about this team. He cares a lot about playing. He cares about our success. He is a team player, and he just showed that yesterday."

On why he has been able to react well to so much pressure: "I guess just things that I have been through in life off the field. It allows me to transfer it to on the field. Adversity, it is in the football field and to me, there is no difference between success and adversity. It doesn't change; it is the norm. I kind of treat it all the same; stay level-headed and focused."

On what he has seen from the Ravens' defense on film: "They are a great defense. I don't think the stats lie when you watch the film. I don't feel like they do anything crazy, schematically, but it is because they have great players and they can keep everything in front of them. They wrap up, they tackle well, they break on the ball well. It will be a good challenge, and we are ready for it Sunday."

On how important it has been for him to have such a great offensive line:"It has been huge to have everybody on this team that has gave great support and given me confidence and helped me out as a player. But the offensive line is the heart of this offense. We go as they go. They go out there, they play nasty, they play physical, and they know that. They know we go as they go. I am thankful to have those guys."

On if it will be any different mentally knowing that QB Tony Romo will be in uniform on the sidelines:"Not at all." *(Reporter: "Why not?") *"He is just in uniform. It is no different than anything for me. I am going out there, and I am worried about the game plan and what I have to do to beat the Ravens."

On the balance between not having many turnovers so far this season, while still staying aggressive:"Did you say we have not had many turnovers yet?" *(Reporter: "Well, I'm not saying that I am anticipating any.") *"I know you are with the Ravens and all, but it is just that we have a great offense. It starts with our offensive coordinator [Scott Linehan], and coach Linehan does a great job of putting me in plays that I am comfortable with and allowing me to play within my strengths. I have playmakers all around me and Pro Bowl guys who have been doing well in this league for a long time. My job is easy when you have those guys around you – just to get them the ball and allow them to do what they have done. As you said, we have an offensive line who is nasty and is the heart of this offense with a run game with Ezekiel [Elliott] that is special."

(Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs walks in the conference call room and asks Prescott a question) Suggs: Hacksaw Smithers, here. What do you think of Terrell Suggs and how he has been playing this year? *"Who is there?" *(Suggs: "This is Hacksaw Smithers.") *"Suggs is great. He is a guy that has been playing well in this league for a long time. We know how special of a player he is." *(Suggs: "I appreciate you. Thank you.") (Reporter: "You said the right thing Dak, don't worry about it.") (Prescott:* "Say again? I should have asked him how he feels about me.")*

On if it is surprising that he and RB Ezekiel Elliott have had such success and led the Cowboys to an 8-1 record:"We really don't think about all of the outside. We stay within this locker room. We treat it one game at a time. We focus on what is important, and that was today at practice. We will be ready to go again tomorrow. We have a great coaching staff that keeps us locked in and focused each week."

On if there is any part of him that is surprised about what he has accomplished as a rookie: "Not at all. I am a guy that has very high expectations of myself. I do not let opinions of other people distract me or even bother me or play a part in how I think about myself and what I can do. I just try to focus on my abilities and my teammates around me and play my best."

On if he entered the league with a chip on his shoulder after being overlooked by some teams in the draft and if he has any theories as to why some teams bypassed him:"Yes, everyone has their opinion. I can't tell you the theories of why everybody bypassed me. I think it could be a couple of different things. But yes, I am a guy that always had a chip on my shoulder. I feel like I have always been doubted all the way throughout my life – at the quarterback position, specifically, yes, especially coming into the league. I am thankful to have the opportunity to play, but it definitely made that chip grow."

On how much he and Elliott lean on each other in their first year in the NFL:"Me and Zeke are great friends, on the field and off the field. We work great together. We just like to stay within the moment. [We are] thankful for the opportunity to play this game that we love. We have been playing for a long time, and [we are thankful] to play for this organization."

On if he enjoys the fact that Elliot is also a rookie and in a similar position:"Yes, sure. Zeke is a great friend. It is fun having him around, and [we are] close to the same age. We have a lot of similarities in what we like to do. That allows us to grow as friends, and I hope we play together and be a part of this organization for a long time."

On what he and Elliot's similarities are: "A lot. Just hanging out in general."

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