Philips talks facing Cowboys offense, what to expect on Saturday

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips talks to the media ahead of the Rams Divisional Round matchup against the Cowboys.

(Opening statement)

"All right, Dallas Cowboys. I have somewhat of a past of Dallas. (Cowboys Head Coach) Jason Garrett has done a tremendous job there. He's a better head coach than I was and done better. They've got a really good football team, so we know that. He's done better than I have and he would've done better. So, I understand that. As far as (Cowboys Owner/President/General Manager) Jerry Jones, if you work for Jerry Jones, you're part of the family. I keep telling him not to send us Christmas gifts, but he does. Seriously. I owe a debt to him that I'll never repay. When my dad passed away, he flew Wes (Phillips), my son, and his family down to the funeral, paid for the meals and so forth. I'll never repay him for that. I'll always appreciate that. I worked as hard as I could there. Did the best I could and then I've moved on since then. It's not about me, it's about this game and our football team. They are a big challenge. They've got, obviously, a great running back – the leading rusher in the league. The quarterback is a really good quarterback and they've added a receiver who is the top receiver probably the last – since he's been there. Their offense has a lot of weapons."

(On if Cowboys QB Dak Prescott presents any particular problems that are different from other dualthreat quarterbacks)

"Well, I mean he can run and throw. A lot of the teams that are in the playoffs certainly have quarterbacks that can scramble too, and he's one of them. He can hurt you making first downs. They're a really good third-down team and part of it is, obviously, because he throws the ball well. They've got good receivers, good timing and so forth, but he also makes first downs by running it also. Then, in the red zone, he scored or been responsible for a lot of scores down there. He's a real versatile quarterback and just been coming along better and better every year."

(On if he has seen something different that the Cowboys are doing with WR Amari Cooper than what he saw while studying him with the Oakland Raiders prior to Week 1)

"Well, the certainly featured (WR) Amari (Cooper) which they should. The guy is a great receiver. They've obviously utilized his talents since they've had him. He's had a lot of targets and he's made the most of them. He had 100 yards last game. He's a top receiver. We're going to have to get two or three guys on him."

(On the key for slowing down Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot)

"I know everybody says, 'Well, he's a great back and you've got a bad run defense,' but there's a lot of games we played this year that they were supposed to have a good running game and we shut them down. It's a big challenge to stop their running game, especially him. But, all our guys know that, so that's a challenge. We've challenged our guys with, 'Hey, we can't let him run the ball or certainly run wild on us.'"

(On his most cherished moments from him time in Dallas and him coaching a lot of teams and if it's any more special going against the Cowboys)

"Most cherished moment was when I got the job. Least cherished, when I got fired (laughs). As any head coaching job in the league, it's special. I think Dallas is that way because of the owner. Again, he makes you part of his family. (Wife of Jerry Jones) Gene Jones is one of the great people in the world. Their whole family is special to me, so that made it special there because we were close to them. It's still a revenge game for me, just like the other 10 teams that I have coached for. Although, I can't get any revenge against the Houston Oilers, because there is no Houston Oilers anymore. But, all the rest of the 10 teams I want to beat because I'm not there anymore...or 11 – I don't know how many there are."

(On him talking about the run defense and if there are any stats he looks at in particular)

"Take a look at what we do in turnovers. The last two years, we're No. 1 in the league in (creating) turnovers and I think that's the key to – we want to be an aggressive defense that takes the ball away and we've been able to do that. I think that's the key with us – and how many games you win. It's still a team game. Like I said all along, I think our defense has played really well in key situations, pressure situations – those kind of things – enough to win games and that's the most important thing. If it's fourth down-and-one on the goal line, it really doesn't matter how many yards they've made; if you stop them on that fourth-and-one and win the game, that's the most important thing. I think that's the way this defense plays."

(On what the Christmas gift was that Jones gave him)

"It wasn't money (laughs). The same gift I'm sure they give a lot of people, through different years, different things. I don't know. My wife can tell you about it. I know they gave us a ball to hang on the tree with a picture of Jerry – not really (laughs). A hand-painted – one of those things that I'm sure is very expensive. Not as expensive as that boat he just bought, which I'm hoping to get a ride on some time. But, usually their Christmas gift they give to their family and friends. For the last I don't know four or five years, we say, 'Please don't do that,' but they did anyways. Like I said, the guy, I'll never repay him for what he did."

(On how he puts a gameplan together when the Cowboys still have members that were there when he was a coach there.)

"Yeah, we played them last year and we know the good players they have and what their strengths are and we try to take those away. We know what our strengths and weaknesses are and we try to emphasize our strengths. It's a gameplan like any team you play, except this is a divisional playoff game, which is awfully big."

(On the status of S Lamarcus Joyner)

"(S) Lamarcus is practicing today, so we'll see. We'll go full-speed in practice, so we'll see how he does."

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