Q: What has Robert Griffin III brought to your offense that you haven’t had in the past?
A: Any time you go with a quarterback that’s in his first year, you kind of get a feeling as time goes on what he feels most comfortable with and what you can do as the season grows. We’re getting a better feel for him with each game and trying to implement a little more as the season goes on and doing the things that he feels comfortable with.
Q: Can you put more on his plate now than what you originally thought at the beginning of the season?
A: Yes, yes we are. He picks things up very quickly, he’s very sharp, he’s very attentive, he works extremely hard to get the offense down, he prepares extremely well. He has picked it up a lot faster than I thought he would or thought he could.
Q: How have you seen his leadership improve, especially with his teammates?
A: I think he just goes about his business. He’s here early, he stays late. He studies extremely hard; he doesn’t make very many mistakes. He just doesn’t handle himself like a rookie; he handles himself like a vet. Therefore, I think he gets a lot of respect from the veterans.
Q: The Giants have played against Cam Newton (Panthers) and Michael Vick (Eagles), will that help them against the Redskins?
A: I think from our perspective, we have the ability to do a lot of different things. It all depends on what defense we’re facing and that gives Robert the ability to not just one style of offense. We believe we have the flexibility to do a number of things. Hopefully we can at least keep the defense honest and somewhat off-balance. That’s what you’re hoping for; at least that’s what we’re hoping for.
Q: With the eighth-ranked defense in the NFL, and the Giants coming off of two solid rushing games, will that be a focal point?
A: I think anytime you go against a team you want to be able to slow down their running game. If you can’t stop their run game, you’re in for a long day because once a team can run the football, they can kind of control the tempo of the game. With the Giants, with the great job that they do with the passing game, if they can run it as well, you’re definitely in for a long day.
Q: What’s it been like having Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III at the center of your offense?
A: We didn’t know that going in with Alfred, we kind of got a feel with him as we went through the preseason and he earned the right to start. He just handles himself like a veteran back. Knock on wood, he’s been extremely durable. He wants the ball. He has a lot of talent, very humble guy that I think everybody is rooting for.
Q: Does last year’s success against the Giants carry over to this season?
A: I think every year is a different team. Last year is last year; we all know what happened last year. That’s over with. We’ve been playing well; we know what team we’re facing this week. Anytime you play on the road like the Giants played last year, it gives everybody an idea of just how good they are on both sides of the football.
Q: Have you had to caution Robert, since the concussion? Just be more careful when he does break containment and takes off running?
A: No. I think every time a rookie plays, it’s a growing experience and a learning experience for him. We’ve gone back different times where he could’ve run out-of-bounds, thrown the football away, or slide. I think that will be a learning experience, every game. I thought last week, he did a much better job of knowing when to run out of bounds, when to slide, when to throw it away, and I think as he plays, he’ll keep on learning.
Q: So, it’s just a matter of maturation, in terms of that part of the decision-making process?
A: Yeah. I think everybody is very competitive coming out of college. They want to make some plays, but they don’t, and a lot of people don’t understand how hard these guys hit. When you don’t have to take a hit, you shouldn’t. You’re not going to help us by being on the bench, not being able to play. So, usually when a guy does take a shot, they learn very quickly that, ‘Hey, I could’ve avoided that play. I’m not going to do the team any good if I’m on the bench.
Q: I asked Robert Griffin just now about the fact that so much of what you guys do as an offense, and him as a quarterback, is about getting out to the edges. With the Giants’ pass rush and those defensive ends, how difficult does that make it?
A: Well, I don’t think that’s the case. You have the ability to do that, which makes the defense cover the whole field. Some games, we won’t do it at all. There are games when it may be part of our game plan, so we have the flexibility to hopefully slow down a defense a little bit to pull out the pressure on a quarterback. But, if you’re not sure where he’s at, sometimes it does slow down a defense.
Q: Is that more effective against a team that can rush the passer well?
A: Well, I think it’s more effective against any defense. If you’re not really sure where somebody’s going to be, it gives a defense more things to think about. But, if you know where somebody’s going to be every time, obviously, they can dial a blitz in, or dial a game plan in. Some quarterbacks, like Eli, that have a great receiving corps, Eli does it by getting rid of the ball very quickly. He’s usually in the same position, but he does a fantastic job of knowing when to throw the football, and being able to anticipate throws.
Q: Is that part of why he’s sort of kept himself clean this season? Their pass protection is good, but it seems like he’s sort of added something else to keep himself clean.
A: Oh, no question about it. He’s gotten better and better. Each year, every game, it’s a learning experience for him, he can anticipate throws, he gets rid of it whenever the house is coming at him. Sometimes, when it’s a three-man rush, he takes a lot of time and can wait for guys to get open. That’s the experience of a veteran quarterback with a lot of talent.
Q: Is there a reason that you’re ranked at the bottom in pass defense?
A: Yeah. (Laughs). We’re giving up a lot of yards.
Q: I mean, you’re not getting a rush? Blown coverages?
A: Well, you are where you’re at for a reason. I think we’ve gotten better. We did lose Orakpo, we did lose Carriker, two of our starting guys, and a couple of safeties. We’ve had some guys that have stepped in and played better. I think we’re getting better in those areas, because those guys have taken other guys’ places with a lot more experience, and adjusting very quickly to our defensive scheme. Hopefully, we just keep on getting better as the year goes on.