A look at what the Cowboys are saying about the Seahawks before the two teams meet in Week 16 at AT&T Stadium, via dallascowboys.com.
Head Coach Jason Garrett
(On how Cowboys' RB Rod Smith was with Seattle previously and how he has come on and done some nice things with the cowboys this season and how he has evolved…) "Well, there's so much to like about him; he's a great kid, he works very hard, and he always has a smile on his face. He has great enthusiasm for the game, and again, he's a very hard worker. He was on our practice squad and we got him, and then he was on our practice squad and he was one of those guys who was a little bit on and off the roster. Right from the outset, he was always a very good special teams player, so that was his role, but there was more to like about him. Initially, he was kind of a big halfback for us and then we gave him a chance to compete for the fullback spot. He dealt with some injuries, and ultimately, he didn't win that job, but he's one of those guys that you want to keep around and that you want to grow and develop. Over time, he earned a roster spot as one of our halfbacks and core special teams guys, and he's just gotten better and better over the last couple of years; better as a runner, he's always had a good feel for protection, recognizing things, and physically blocking the guys. He's a good route runner, and he has good hands, so he's just gotten better with all of the experience he's gotten over the last couple of years, and he certainly has done a nice job for us this year."
(On if they have to prepare for Russell Wilson any differently defensively than they would for other QBs…) "Well, he's just a great player; he can throw it from the pocket and certainly like you said, he can go make plays with his feet both as a runner and just buying time to make plays down the field. He's dynamic; so you try your best to duplicate some of that in practice, it's hard to do, but you try your best to make sure that you're preparing your team for the guys you are going against, but he's not an easy guy to imitate."
(On how the Seahawks had a different game Sunday than they are used to having especially with their defense and if he assumes that this game is going to be more like the old Seattle defense...) "Yeah. Obviously, they're a really good football team in all three phases of their team, and they have a whole body of work that proves that, so we watch a lot of tape on these guys and we have great respect for them; the coaches, the players, and everything about their team."
(On Russell Wilson…)"I just think he's a great player. A lot of people are talking about this year, I think he's been a great player since he came into the league. You see him do so many things to help their team win. He's obviously a great leader, his teammates respond to him, he's got the ability to make plays with his feet, with his arms. He plays great in critical moments of the game. He's one of those rare guys, his feel and instinct for the game are really second to none. His athleticism at that position, really challenging every time the ball is snapped."
(On Michael Bennett…)"He's just a good player. Slippery, explosive pass rushers, he's always around the ball, he's a very good run defender, he's hard to block, great lateral quickness and explosiveness off the ball and like a lot of great defensive players in the league he's around the ball a lot. He's around the quarterback, he's around the ball carrier, he makes a lot of plays."
(On the defense…)"We just have great respect for their entire team. They're a well-coached team, they obviously have a lot of really good players on defense. They have a history of playing defense at a very high level. We watch a lot of tape. We watch tape going back beyond just this past weekend and it's easy to see why they've been among the best in the league for a long time. They play the game the right way. They're hard, they're physical, they're fast, they're just a really good defense."
Tight End Jason Witten
(On Seattle and the playoffs…) "They're in the hunt as well and over the years, over the last 7-8 years since Pete's been there they're a tough opponent and we have a lot of respect for them. Their defense has been one of the best defenses in this league for almost the last decade so we know they're going to come in here and play hard. This is what mid-December is all about, it's about fighting for an opportunity to get in the playoffs."
(On the defense…) "I think that they've had some key injuries. You know, you think of Sherman (Richard), Chancellor (Kam), Wagner (Bobby) got hurt there in the game the other day but that's a prideful group. They're going to go in there, look at the film and learn from it. It's an edgy group, Earl Thomas is kind of the leader there in the back end. They're smart, they're tough so they carry themselves that way. Yeah, that happens in this league, you don't just go out and dominate every week and so yeah they had a tough game last week but that defense has held up against really good offenses over the years. That's one of the things they pride themselves in doing is lining up and playing. They feel confident in that system and that system has carried on and trickled down to a few other places."
Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli
(On Russell Wilson…)"He doesn't just extend them. This guy is really something, you can take your hat off to this guy. If he gets out of the pocket, boy, either run or pass he's wicked so we've got our hands full big time."
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan
(On Seattle's defense…)"These guys, they've got good depth on their defense. They've proven that even without some of their star players that have gotten injured they've filled guys in and played extremely well at times. So, their extremely well-coached, they know their system, believe in it and we've really got to go out and execute. They execute their defense and you've really got to go out and execute on offense because it's not a lot of secrets how they're going to play. They're going to have those eight guys up in the box to those run personnel groupings, or seven in the three wide stuff, they're going to have them up in their so we're going to have to execute well against them."
(On Earl Thomas…) "I don't know, it's like a sixth sense. Sometimes it feels like they've got twelve guys out there. You know, he plays the post, and certain plays he just diagnoses the play and he's there. There was a play last week against the Rams, he was on the other side of the field, they threw a screen to their slot receiver, it was like third down and long. Nobody can get from that side of the field and go and tackle short of the first down but literally if you watch endzone copy this blur shows up across the screen and knocks the guy out two yards short of the stick so, I mean that's just rare. What he has is great instincts, but he's got great talent to go with it."
(On Michael Bennett…)"Another dominant player. Great system for him I think, getting into that Seattle system. They do a great job of moving him around. He's had to take on a bigger role with the one of the injuries up front to their key defensive ends so he's had to play all over the place. He just seems like versatility is the name of his game. He can play right end on one play, left end on another, move inside to the three technique. He's just a matchup challenge for anybody that's got to block him. He plays with a high motor and impacts the game so that's what elite defensive lineman in this league are supposed to do."