We're in the division again with a big game this week against Washington. Don't be fooled by the record. Washington has played very, very well. They've given everybody their A-game and taken literally all but a couple of these games right to the wire. The New England game, they rushed for 170 yards. They had an opportunity to tie that game at the end of the game. They actually had a touchdown called back with an offensive pass interference penalty. But they played very well. They're 17th on offense. They're 10th on defense. They have the number one kickoff coverage team in football. They have the number seven punt coverage team. They have the ability to strike offensively. Their defense is outstanding – the two outside backers. London Fletcher, DeAngelo Hall, we can name any list of names. They're very formidable. They're very physical. They beat us in the opening game of the year down there. We didn't do very well on third down in that game and, of course, they do have an outstanding scheme on third down as well – multiple personnel combinations again, similar to what we saw last weekend. A very good solid, tough, divisional team, but one of the problems that they've had is they're minus-14. It's very, very difficult to win when you're in that position. Some would argue that their running game has not been as good consistently, but I think they did a nice job having lost their tight ends. Normally they're very much a tight end offense. They did an excellent job adjusting. They lost Davis and rushed the ball very well last weekend against New England. Again, a very exciting time of the year – a divisional ballgame at home.
Q: When playing a team with no shot of going to the playoffs, how do you know how they'll play?
A: They play hard. They play hard every week. It will be no different this week.
Q: How much of an advantage is it playing at home?
A: We're at home. We've experienced the trip down there. Hopefully it's going to be a huge advantage for us. Our fans getting into this game, this time of the year, the excitement of this time of the year, being in position, having all these games be very meaningful, very critical, I think it's very important that we're home and I think it's very important that the 12th man really, really be excited about this time of the year.
Q: Do games that come down to the wire excite or exhaust a team?
A: There is some frustration when you don't win them, but when you do win them, it's a great shot in the arm for you. I believe that.
Q: Does that apply to comeback victories?
A: That's what I'm referring to right there. These games, as you know, sometimes they had the ball last or etc., etc. But when you are able to win under those circumstances, like 5:41 to play down 34-22, I think that's a plus.
Q: Do you have examples of how Eli elevates the play of those around him?
A: I have a lot of examples because of his accuracy and the way he's performed with games on the line and put the ball in positions where people could make outstanding plays on the ball and then even run after the catch with it. That's happened quite consistently.
Q: How does he help the shuffled offensive line be where they need to be?
A: Well, in certain situations he controls the protection calls, but we have some guys up there that are really sharp with regard to that and reinforce that and take care of the guys that are next to them. That goes on a lot. It's very significant if you're going to be successful to be able to communicate like we're doing in terms of where people are spotted and how we're helping those that are in unfamiliar spots.
Q: Are you surprised that this is the first time this team has had two receivers with 1,000 yards?
A: Thank you for letting me know that. I didn't know that. Given where we are and how we played and the way in which we attained our production offensively, I'm glad for the distribution, I'm glad for the balance. I think as you look as the number of catches, that kind of adds up for us.
Q: How does Washington's rookie running back change their scheme?
A: They want to run and they want balance and they've always been able to have that. They gained it again the other day. They had 34 runs and 33 passes against New England. Nobody is going to stand there and run into the wall. If you're having the success that they're having, that provides the opportunities for the play-action and that type of thing.
Q: Are you more optimistic that things will improve on the backside of the defense?
A: We're striving for that. It's not a simple thing, but I think some of it can be corrected and we're working on that. Players are well aware of that. It's something that has been nagging and we're trying to solve it.
Q: Has Rolle's production been what you wanted out of him or do you want more?
A: I just spoke to the team this morning about each one of us, including the coaches, myself, have got to dig down deep now because we want more. We want better production. We want to play better. We want to be in position where perhaps the way to phase it is that these games don't have to come down to the last play of the game. We're all striving for that. That's what we talked about in terms of team, not just any one individual.
Q: What are your impressions of Rolle?
A: He's a fiery, want to do well, as positive as he can be, as honest in terms of his ability to reflect on himself and others, from that standpoint he's been very good.
Q: Have opposing teams been forced to look at JPP differently?
A: I think specifically, yes, but I think all of our defensive ends kind of fall into that category. We've had that kind of attention all year long, to the people in that spot.
Q: Has JPP exceeded expectations for his second year?
A: He's a very talented guy. He loves what he's doing. He loves playing. You're very, very happy to see the advancement and there's a lot more football to be played. * *
Q: Do you have to bite your tongue at Rolle's public openness?
A: He's been a very, very easy guy to talk to. He makes it easy for you. He'll come upstairs and visit with me. He'll come and sit down and talk. He wants to do it the right way, believe me. He wants to do things right and be good. It's very important.
Q: Does JPP bring a certain energy to the defense and special teams?
A: He sure does. He sure brings energy. He brings all of those things. He brings positiveness, he brings solid, solid play. He brings an attitude. He loves the game.
Q: How do you feel, as the coach, when a guy makes an adjustment in a game that leads to a big play such as the blocked field goal?
A: We all make adjustments as the game goes on. For him to see how he could be most effective when he was in fact on the shorter side, that's a big play.
Q: How about his motor?
A: He's got a big motor.
Q: How is the offensive line different, are they scrappier?
A: They're scrappy. They're … They're fighters and we've had some production. I think it's made them even hungrier.
Q: Update on Phillips, Osi and Tuck?
A: Phillips will practice. Osi won't. Tuck won't today, but I'm hoping that he'll get going.
Q: Washington's defense is good in the red zone, what's different?
A: They do have some very good changeup. They do mix it between the pressure and dropping a lot of people off, playing different personnel combinations. They're a stingy group down there. They make the area with not a lot of room, they make it less. They have good players.
Q: How much of what JPP is doing is brought over from the game plan?
A: He's just like everybody else. I think Tara you're trying to refer to him doing something other than how he was taught. No, he's not doing that. He's exactly where he's supposed to be and when he's not, he's corrected. He's not freelancing out there.
Q: With Washington rotating their left tackle, how will that change how JPP game plans since he has to prepare for two people?
A: I don't think it will. I think he'll study both of those tackles and whichever way they choose to go, he'll have some thoughts and his coach will have many thoughts for him.
Q: Jacobs' message as a runner?
A: A good one. It's a solid one. It's a look out, physical. It's tough. Nobody wants to hit that guy running like he's running other than they have to. It's the right message and when you see him north and south as hard as he can go and the pile's going forward, we're all cheering.
Q: Is Baas improving?
A: I would hope so.
Q: Will he practice?
A: Not today.
Q: Do you have a feel for what's going on there?
A: Somebody does I hope. I think he's making progress, I really do.
Q: Would you consider keeping the offensive line the way it's been because of their success?
A: What we want to do is let's get them back. Let's get them all back. [Baas] hasn't practiced in a couple of weeks. We need to get him back on the practice field and back in the groove and then we'll make those kind of calls.
Q: Tuck's MRI? A: I can't give you all of the medical terms, but it's not going to be anything to… It's discomfort. It's sore. It's an issue, but hopefully it's going to be able to get under control.
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