Ratliff: No Change in Effort, Intensity

IRVING, Tex. - Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff is a lot of things: he is extremely gifted, strong and fast, and widely regarded as one of the top players in the NFL at his position.

He also is smart, a fierce competitor and a fixture in the community with his charitable work.

One thing he is not: a quitter.

Ratliff was among the few Cowboys who ventured into the locker room Monday when the media descended on Valley Ranch to dissect owner Jerry Jones's decision to fire head coach Wade Phillips. Ratliff sat in front of his locker, his shoulders slumped.

Ratliff expressed his regret that the Cowboys had skidded to a 1-7 record in the first half of the 2010 season, a mark that had gotten head coach Wade Phillips fired Monday. Like several of his teammates, he said he was without an answer when asked what had gone wrong for a team that started the season amid expectations of playing in the Super Bowl in its own stadium.

But he bristled when asked if the team's poor record was due to a lack of effort. At the very least, he said, his own effort could not be called into question.

"There's no quitting in me," Ratliff said. "I don't care if we're 1-1,000. I'm going to give my all on every play … and I'll go to war with anyone who tells me otherwise."

Ratliff acknowledged that he not only had grown fond of Phillips as a coach, but said the two had a close personal relationship, as well. When asked what kind of impact Phillips had on his career, Ratliff smiled.

"Obviously, I learned a lot from him," Ratliff said. "He's a great coach."

But Ratliff also was quick to point out that no matter how bleak things might seem, half the season remains, and he and his teammates still have a job to do.

"We have still got some great coaches, and we're going to play hard for them," he said. "I learned a lot from Coach Phillips, but I learn a lot from (defensive line) Coach (Paul) Pasqualoni, too. We've just got to keep grinding and get through this."

Ratlif said that he didn't know a great deal about interim head coach Jason Garrett's coaching style, but said his offensive teammates had positive things to say about the team's new head coach. He said that just because a new coach — whether it was Garrett or someone else — was taking over, that didn't mean there would be any reason to question his effort or intensity.

"He's our coach," Ratliff said. "I'll always play hard for my coach, no matter who it is."

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