A: They’re a good team. They play good defense, they had a good scheme versus us last year, even prior to that. They do some things a little bit different, which have given us some trouble. So, we have to have a good plan for it, and go out there and execute well and. hopefully, stay away from the turnovers and the mistakes and take advantage of the opportunities when they come up.
Q: Your offensive line seemed to play extremely well over the last several games. What’s been the biggest difference?
A: I’m not sure. But, I’m not complaining about it. So, they’re playing great, we’re running the ball well, the pass protection has been good, and the receivers have been getting open. Things are going well, everybody’s doing their assignments well, the offense tends to flow a little bit better, I’m not sitting back there, holding the ball very long, and putting the offensive line in a bind. So, it’s been a combination of the running backs helping out, chipping on things. So, it’s been pretty smooth, and hopefully, we keep it that way.
Q: Is it a concern that you’re 0-2 in the division?
A: No. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to have that, but the most important thing is your overall record. That’s what you can control, and right now, we’re in a good spot, we’ve still got a lot of divisional games and we’ve still got a lot of football left. Obviously, when you play in the division, those games are very, very important. Hopefully, we can get a win this week.
Q: Do you remember what it was like being a rookie quarterback? Are you impressed so far with what you’ve seen from RGIII? Not just his legs, but his arm?
A: Yeah. It seems like he’s playing really well. I haven’t seen much of their offense, but it seems like they’ve been in a bunch of games, had some leads, and scoring a lot of points offensively. We know as an offense we’ve got to play good football, try to win the time-of-possession, don’t turn the ball over, because their offense is explosive and can score some points.
Q: Why is it that London Fletcher is kind of like the Cal Ripken of this league? He’s been around forever and still plays at a high level as the leader of that defense.
A: He’s just a smart player. He’s all over, making tackles all over the field. He does a great job of getting them lined up, getting everybody in the right spot. He’s a guy you have to be aware of, because he does make a lot of plays.
RE: The pass-protection not allowing many sacks:
A: Knowing your protections, knowing when you’ve got a free guy rushing, knowing when you’ve got time to throw, knowing where to go with your progression, having the right people getting open, you’ve just got to understand the circumstances. When do you throw it away? When do you try to wait and get it to your third and fourth receivers? You don’t play to not get sacks. Sometimes, it happens. Sometimes, you’re trying to wait for someone to open up, and it doesn’t work out that way. The receivers have been getting open quickly. The offensive line has been blocking well, and blocking the right guys. You don’t have guys coming in free. The running backs have been doing a great job as well. It’s everybody being a part of that.
Q: The line is so unheralded to the general public. How do you show your appreciation to those guy, if you do at all, after a performance like on Sunday?
A: You just talk to them and you say, “Hey, great job.” They want to run the ball, and they want to protect the quarterback. That’s their goal. They know when we can dominate the line of scrimmage. They can tell and have a sense of pride about that.
RE: Rewarding the offensive line for their performance:
A: You take care of them at the end of the season. I’ll remember how the season goes.
Q: There’s also some athleticism that has to come into this not being sacked, right?
A: Right. You’ve got to move around. Sometimes, you’ve got to break the pocket. Sometimes, you’ve got to move in the pocket and buy a little extra time for a receiver to get open. It’s everybody doing their part. Obviously, the offensive line has been playing outstanding. Receivers are getting open, with the running backs getting chips and picking up linebackers, everybody knowing their assignments. Some plays, you’ve got to move around. You’ve got to buy time, you’ve got to break the pocket. Sometimes, that’s fine, as long as you’re kind of moving in the right direction, where you have the opportunity for receivers to get open.
Q: It looked like last week you were hit very early in the game. Were you hit that much after that?
A: No. I don’t think so. Not many times after that first one. We had a little protection breakdown on the first one, which you never want to have. After that, we were very solid.
Q: How has the Redskins’ pass-rush changed with all of the injuries that they’ve had?
A: They still do a good job of getting to the quarterback. It’s tough to say how it’s changed. They’re doing some things differently, or it’s just the path of what they do. It seems like each week they have a different kind of game plan of what they’re going to do to attack that style of offense. They do a good job, they get a lot of turnovers, and that’s always a concern. They have playmakers on that defense and the interceptions usually occur because they are putting pressure on the quarterback and he’s being forced into making a decision that he didn’t really want to throw.
Q: Even with all you’ve accomplished, do you look at another quarterback like Griffin in this case and say, “Man, if I had those skills, if I had that speed…”
A: There’s no point. I try to work with what I’m dealt with. What I lack in some things, I try to make up in other ways.
Q: When you look at them defensively, what do they do well?
A: I think they have a great scheme, and it changes each week to attack certain offenses. We’re going to have to see what it is that they’re going to do against us to try and slow us down and have a good game plan for that. They play some unique coverages that you don’t see every week that we have to be prepared for. They have some good blitzes. They’re just very sound, they’re in the right spots, they have good players, and they do a good job of getting turnovers and making big plays.
Q: Can you talk about the offensive line? How they’ve really begun to gel in the last few weeks? No sacks, and two consecutive 100-yard rushing games from Ahmad.
A: It’s great. They’re playing really well, against some good defenses. They’re communicating well, they’re seeing the defenses and just controlling the line-of-scrimmage. They’re being physical and doing a great job in pass-protection and just giving us a chance to get the ball down the field.
Q: Was it surprising when you guys pulled into the parking lot? That was kind of a strange story.
A: No. We’re just on the bus. When we got on the plane, what had occurred. I got in my car, and left. I didn’t think much about it.
Q: Earlier, Tom said that Griffin had sort of energized the Redskins. This is a traditional rivalry. Do you get a sense that a quarterback that’s got that kind of skill, gotten that kind of hype, is going to add another dimension to this rivalry that you guys have?
A: It’s always a big game. In the division, the Redskins and Giants have a long history and a great history of playing in big games. All I can do is go and get mentally prepared to play the game. I know it’s going to be a tough battle against a good team, and we’ve got to go and play well. That’s all I get involved in, the way I look at it.
Q: As a young rookie, franchise quarterback, is it always important to set a tone against a division rival? Did you feel that way when you first played the Redskins, the Cowboys and the Eagles?
A: You always like to get off to a fast start, in any game. If it doesn’t happen, that’s not the end of the world. You’re always trying to go out there and play well early on and get a lead. Especially with young quarterbacks, if you can jump out by a few touchdowns, and put a little pressure on them, and see how they react. Hopefully, we can do that. If not, we’ve just got to try and stay patient, go about our business, and try to find ways to score.
Q: He’s going to be facing you guys 15 to 20 times in the next couple of years.
A: I’m just worried about this one.
Q: How have you seen Tom change since you’ve been here? Mentally, preparation-wise, personality-wise? How have you seen him evolve as a coach?
A: I think the preparation has been the same. He’s always getting us well-prepared. I think he knows we have great leaders on this team, and leadership, and guys who handle their business well and get after it, know how to practice and prepare. You kind of put some of that on the players, to teach the young guys how we have to prepare, practice and get ready. He still expects it and wants us to have great preparation each week. We kind of put it on the players a little bit to lead by example.
Q: So, he’s lightened up a little bit?
A: I guess. From his earlier years, he’s definitely lightened up a little bit.
Q: You both have had good days and bad days. Good years, bad years. Do you sort of feel like you’re in it together?
A: I think it’s always kind of a quarterback and head coach. Probably both get too much credit when you win and too much blame when you lose. You’re in it together in that aspect. We have a lot of talks and a lot of communications, and he does a great job of getting the team prepared and he knows I’m going to work my tail off each week to prepare to go out there and compete every week.
Q: Something that doesn’t get talked about a lot is the job that the receivers do blocking down the field in the running game. Can you comment about that, from what you’ve seen?
A: It seems like the guys are doing a great job. Coming in and blocking the safety, getting the corners downfield, where the backs will be able to get past the secondary and turn that six- or seven-yard run into a 12- or 15-yard run. The receivers are doing a great job of hitting some big blocks.
Q: They’re a physical bunch of receivers. Do you find that they hold their own most of the time?
A: I think they do a great job. They know for us to throw the ball well, the backs have to do a great job of protecting and picking up blitzes and they want to help out, and do their part in the run game. If we’ve got to run the ball well, the receivers have to do a great job blocking and being physical and getting in there and getting dirty.