Head Coach Tom Coughlin
TC: Which injured player would you like to discuss first?
Q: Aaron Ross?A: He worked well. I can see him getting better, getting stronger, feeling better about himself.
Q: Steve Smith?A: Steve did a little something – moved around, caught some balls – good progress.
Q: David Diehl?
A: Diehl worked; O'Hara didn't. Diehl has been getting a couple of snaps, does individual, gets a few snaps.
Q: Was Smith limited?A: Limited. He took a couple of routes as a scout squad player.
Q: Do you think Diehl is ready to go?
A: We'll see. We'll see. It will be a process. We are going to have to see how he is today, how he is tomorrow and the whole deal.
Q: If he is good, will you play him?
A: We'll see, we'll see, we'll see, we'll see.
Q: With a guy like Diehl on the offensive line, it's really not a part-time situation.
A: No, it's really not – up front it is not.
Q: Is anything wrong with Zak DeOssie?A: Not that I know of.
Q: Osi actually practiced yesterday as opposed to previous Wednesdays when he rested the knee. Is that a product of anything?A: No, he wanted to work yesterday. We weren't sure exactly how much a couple of guys could do so he wanted to get a little bit of work. So we gave him some very limited – a couple of snaps. But I was happy to see that – he actually came up and asked if he could go.
Q: What are you expectations of your players when they are on the sidelines?
A: Support, encourage, be there for each other. Make sure that everyone is fully into the game and engaged in the game.
Q: Is there a certain demeanor that you expect from them?
A: Energy, enthusiasm.
Q: Any rules – don't look at the camera or don't talk to the fans or anything like that?A: Not that I know of. They are supposed to be paying attention to the field. I'm not sure what you are referring to.
Q: You were asked about the safeties in general yesterday – Kenny Phillips specifically. We see Antrel Rolle a lot down low; we see Deon Grant down low. People think Kenny is not having an impact but he is playing up top. He seems like he has been showing that he can cover a lot of ground. Is that what you are seeing?A: He has gotten better and better. He has been in the deep half or deep middle most of the time. We have had him down a few times. But as I say, he is getting to be more of himself. It is a process, believe me.
Q: Has he been discouraging some teams from throwing deep because he has shown that?
A: Any quarterback who is aware of what is going on and sees a guy in deep center field, it takes some things away.
Q: Is that process just typical ……., too?
A: I think it is, but no. That would be just my opinion.
Q: What does Jason Pierre-Paul have to do to keep building on his two-sack game?
A: Keep grinding away and keep learning. There are still a lot of little technical things that are involved in this. He is working at it. He is not all the way there yet. Just keep getting better; keep getting better.
Q: Is he still going truly on athleticism right now?
A: Oh no, no, no. You have to understand what I mean by that is alignment, assignment, technique – all of those things. He is aligned where he is supposed to be. He is taking full advantage of whatever the scheme might be. He is involved in some …….., whatever. But it just has to be a continuous process.
Q: Kevin Boss seems to find himself in the right position at the right time and come up with good catches these past couple of years. Is that a product of doing things that you ask him to do route-running wise or is he just naturally sort of ……?A: Well, it is process by which he --- the tight end position is utilized by assignment in all patterns. But in certain situations you look at that. You are looking to see that he is a guy that will work his way into the middle of the field or across the field or the sail route that you see that has run into specific coverages. So when you are able to put a guy in position to – by assignment – send him into a void where the coverage allows that to take place, the quarterback directs the ball to him. That has been part of the process.
Q: Do you expect D J Ware to return kickoffs again this week?A: We'll see.
Q: Hakeem Nicks saw the doctor last night, anything new there?
A: Good progress, good progress. They are not ready to let him run yet. But if he continues like he is, they will, I think, allow him to start to exercise shortly.
Q: He said that Wednesday of next week he thought he was going to be able to go?
A: Then you are asking me?
Q: Shawn Andrews?
A: Nothing to report.
Q: Is it more muscular stuff or is it more disc stuff?A: No, it is more than muscle.
Q: Is this a fear that it is going to be more of what he has been through in the past?A: It is a concern.
Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell
Q: How much has Pierre-Paul progressed since the beginning of the season?
A: Tremendously. We have a lot of defense in and it's very difficult for a young player to recall and remember all that defense. He's been able to do that, and now he's capitalizing and he's able to make some plays. Some of the plays we would hope he would make earlier in the season, but now because we've been able to spoon feed him, he has been able to make those plays now. We look for that trend to continue.
Q: Has he become more instinctive?
A: More instinctive, no doubt about it. That's given us more confidence to do more things with him, also.
Q: He's also playing the run well, too:
A: He's playing football for us, period. It's not like he's doing one thing better than the other. I think his game is starting to come around and he's become a good run player and a good pass player. Plus, he's playing two positions for us. He's playing defensive end, and in the sub package he's playing defensive tackle. He's got some things to remember.
Q: What has Antrel's versatility brought to the defense?
A: Oh man, he brings us so much flexibility and to do a multitude of things. We do a lot of different things, and he's able to go down and play on a slot receiver, a tight end, a post, the half. He's been able to blitz, and he's one of the better athletes, so he is able to chase down quarterbacks. His versatility has meant a lot to us and what we do and how we do it, and how we plan.
Q: Have you sensed that he's been comfortable from day one here?
A: I wouldn't say that he's comfortable on the football field. He's a football player, that's the best way I can describe it. I think his home is the football field.
Q: What's the reason for more pressure from the defensive backs the past two games? You guys didn't seem to run anything like that in the first nine games:
A: No, we ran it but they just didn't get there. They're getting better in pressuring. We've tried to change it up from time to time. We don't try to keep it in a holding pattern or what have you. We try to feature different things to keep people off balance. That's a fair statement, I was kidding before though.
Q: So why are they more effective now?
A: They're getting comfortable doing it. Sometimes you have to challenge them a little bit, and say 'Hey man, this is set up for you to have success." Sometimes, you have to challenge them, work on it, and they have to be comfortable doing it. We put Terrell Thomas at the nickel last week and Terrell hasn't played the nickel for us, only in camp. Terrell had all that work in camp and a little bit in the preseason but not much, but he was able to get home for us. That was fun for us because that's stuff that we did in camp. Terrell just recalled it and came back and played.
Q: Anything different with McNabb as a Redskin than before?
A: Obviously it's a different offensive system for him. Anytime it's a different offensive system, and even though he's grasped the system, it's not the one like he was comfortable with in Philly. I still see the savvy veteran quarterback that has a strong arm and he's able to break you down. If he wants to scramble, then he can look all over the field and throw the ball from one side of the field to the other. I see the veteran leader as a quarterback, and he's willing to carry his football team if he has to. I see nothing different from Donovan himself except it's not the offense that he's been comfortable with for a number of years.
Q: Is Donovan not throwing a lot of good balls? He has an interception in almost every game this year:
A: I think some of it is a product of his receivers not being at the right spot at times. Some of the times, he throws some bad balls. I think it's a product of the offensive system that he was comfortable with in Philly, versus now where he has learned this new offensive system and everyone is not in the right spots and the ones he expects them to be in. He's had some receivers that have changed positions and he doesn't have a consistent receiving corps like Eli has.
Q: You can use that to your advantage and maybe try to confuse him a bit more with assignments and things:
A: We hope so. When I say he's not comfortable, I'm saying that when he was in Philly, the difference for me was he knew where everyone was going to be and he was the general of that offense. It's not like he's not the general of the offense, but he doesn't know where everyone is deployed and where everybody is. He has made some mistakes as far as that is concerned from what I can see on tape.
Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride
Q: Could you talk about how you've been unable to score a touchdown on the first drive lately and haven't scored a touchdown in the first half in the last three games? Is that frustrating? Is there a common thread there?
A: No. In a word, no, but a couple of things have happened. One, we've started games – five of them have been with turnovers and that obviously diminishes your chances to score, but if you look at six of them, we've come back to score on the next drive, so part of it is – whether we're too hyped up, we made a mistakes, turned the ball over, maybe didn't anticipate one thing they did defensively. Certainly you want to score, that's the obvious objective, but secondly, how much information can I can glean from what we're showing because we're going to use a lot of different things to try to find out or get a sense of how they're going to try to defend this personnel grouping, this formation and then that serves us pretty well down the road and it's been pretty beneficial. Certainly the number one objective is to score a touchdown, but certainly a very important part is to try to get a sense of what they're doing defensively, schematically, and then be able to adjust and do the things necessary to win and score some points and we've been pretty good at that.
Q: Do you normally script your first few plays?
Q: How many usually?
A: 15 is usually the starting point and then we'll pull off of it if I've accomplished what we needed to see – we'll pull off and adjust immediately. Sometimes I get a feel. Seattle for example, we got a sense right away what they were doing so we pulled off right after the fumble with Kevin, but came back to score four or five touchdowns in a row after that.
Q: So those 15 plays are to see the defenses?
A: That has always been an objective and most coaches – you try to score a touchdown, there's no question that's an objective, but you're also trying to gather as much information so you can make the necessary adjustments so that you can score enough points to win the game.
Q: Travis Beckum said that teams seem to fall asleep on Kevin Boss and then he makes a play. Why do you think that is and is it something that you agree with?
A: I haven't observed that. I would say if there is any element or kernel of truth to that, it would be just because the ball hasn't gone there and so you maybe start to pull off of him a little bit, but certainly Sunday's game that's not what happened – we had some chances with him that we didn't capitalize on for one reason or another, but that last one was a blitz, so he had to make the sight adjustment and we were in a formation that the sight was going to come down to him and he did a terrific job, so it wasn't like they were inattentive or let him be uncovered, so I'm not sure I completely comprehend where he's going with that one, but I think from a standpoint maybe he didn't make some plays early on or plays didn't come his way. I wouldn't know where he's coming from.
Q: He does seem to make big plays when you need it. Is that something he's doing or something you're designing for him?
A: Let me give you the Super Bowl example – that was a play that I drew up on the sideline because I saw what they were doing, so you look and see what they are doing and then you take advantage of it. That's what we did in that game and that will happen certainly as the game goes on. With some of the losses we've had, there'll be an increased focus on trying to get him the ball without Hakeem, without Steve Smith, and with some of the coverages you face, there is only so many guys you can win inside, so he is obviously a bigger part of where the ball is going now and that was an intent going into the game.
Q: Can you talk about the job that Mario Manningham has done in the absence of the other receivers?
A: He is as explosive or dynamic of a guy as we have. They key is we're constantly working on consistency with him and that is the area that we are always looking to get better at, but in terms of a guy that you put the ball in his hands and he can do a terrific job running after the catch, he's exceptional, so we try to manufacture opportunities for him whether it's a go screen here or there or some short route where we try to get him the ball underneath where we can almost guarantee that the ball will be thrown to him and then also down the field because of his speed. We'll try to take advantage of him. He's a bubbly personality. I think his explosiveness is one of the important reasons why we're so high up in big plays as an offense and then I think guys feed off of the energy, off the personality as well as off the big plays that he makes.
Q: Has he accepted that challenge?
A: I think so. Again, rather than sharing it among three, you've got only one guy who is a returning, established, been out there, experienced guy, so the things that maybe are a little more nuanced, you're not going to ask Michael Clayton to do or Devin to do, you're going to ask him to do, so more of those chances will come his way.
Q: Orakpo last year – they were playing a 4-3 and he was up, down, sometimes using him like a five-man line. Are they using him the same way?
A: Yeah. It's a 3-4. It's the same thing. He's rushing a lot and when they go to their nickel defense he's either the fourth down lineman or they go to the odd spacing and he's still rushing most of the time so he can bring the wood. He's a good player and he's a very good pass rusher. He's somebody you have to be very in tune of where he's at and you hope to get your better blockers on him because he can be a difficult matchup for backs.
Q: Washington has 10 interceptions and Hall has six of those. Is that something that by design you're going away from his side of the field.
A: Yeah. You're certainly appreciative of his ability to intercept the ball and he's got very good ball skills, he's like a lot of those terrific corners – they'll gamble, they'll take a chance and sometimes they'll make a play and sometimes you make a big play on them because of their risk taking, but he's one of those guys that has the ability if you throw it incorrectly or if he guesses right he's going to catch it. He's going to catch it and he's a good run after the catch guy, so you're certainly very cognizant of where he is and you should be attentive to where he is on that particular play in terms of how he has played – has he cheated on that one where you can maybe take advantage of it or maybe you should stay away.
Q: Do you plan on moving guys around to get him moving?
A: We'll do a lot of different things. I'd rather not give him our game plan just yet.
Q: With Hagan having another week and Clayton and Devin getting some more work, do you think you'll use more three receiver sets this week?
A: We'll play it by ear. We'll see. Again, you always are going to rely on the guys who have been with you more and longer and hopefully make fewer mistakes. Right now Derek is the second one, so it's not three wides, he is the second receiver and he only has a week under his belt so that's why we did. We asked more of Travis Beckum and he responded very well and we asked more of Kevin Boss and he did well obviously at the end as well, so we'll do both and we'll hopefully be able to broaden a little bit of what we're asking of Michael Clayton and maybe Devin as well.
Q: As Diehl moves forward, do you see him more at guard or tackle?
A: Depends where Shawn Andrew is in the mix. If Shawn gets back, that gives a quandary or dilemma that you'd like to have – you have two quality football players and we'll keep David inside, but until that happens we'll probably move David back outside.
DE Justin Tuck
Q: What's the key to starting fast against the Redskins?
A: Bringing more energy. We didn't start with a lot of energy in the first half, so we have to make sure that our energy level is entirely higher than it was this past Sunday.
Q: Did you know it was low coming out of the tunnel?
A: Not coming out of the tunnel. The first couple plays of the game we actually played pretty well. We couldn't get off the field on the third downs, and they ran the ball well in the first half. We did a lot of things to keep us out of our rhythm on defense, and a lot of it was letting them do that. In order to start fast, we have to be prepared to see something new. They caught us with some different things before, sitting up front and things like that. It kind of baffled us that first half. We went inside, made some corrections, and came back and played better in the second half. Again, we can't afford to do that every week. Every week, we're not going to be able to flip that switch like we were able to do on Sunday.
Q: How is McNabb's new system and his whole situation different in Washington?
A: I don't know if it's that much different. They still run bootlegs with him, he's still dangerous with his legs. He's not running as much as he used to, but it's there. We're going to approach him the same way. The only thing different about him now is he's in a different uniform. He's still the same great player he was when he was in Philly. He's going to know this defense and he knows us as a team. He has some success against us, and we have some success against him. It's going to come down to who plays the best as a football team. We're not going to make it a McNabb/individual type thing. We have to play well as a team.
Q: Right now, the Redskins run game appears that it isn't what it used to be. How odd is that?
A: I hate the word appear. We go into sixteen games each year and it appears that a team is doing something. Once we step on the field, they're doing something completely different. We're just going to be prepared for everything. Shanahan, McNabb, all those guys can do a good job of giving you a tremendous loop because they see how you set things earlier in the game, and they completely change it. We have to be prepared for everything, and we're not going to get bogged down by what other teams have done against them. Their running game hasn't been as successful as you'd think, but we just gave up 200 yards. Our run defense isn't playing well either. This week should be a good week for us to kind of get back on track. Again, we have to prepare for anything.
Q: Is there something that can be done before kickoff to fire the team up the way you did at halftime last week?
A: Hopefully we'll come in fired up anyway. Like I said, we shouldn't rely on speeches, whether it be at halftime, postgame, pre-game, it doesn't matter whether it's from leaders, the team, or the coach. We're professional football players, and we should bring our A-game at the start of games regardless of the situation.
DE Osi Umenyiora
Q: How has Pierre-Paul developed?
A: He's an outstanding football player. He has all the talent in the world, very athletic. He's coming along, and he's going to be a great one.
Q: Does he remind you of a younger version of yourself?
A: He reminds me of a younger DeMarcus Ware, actually. I saw DeMarcus growing up and I saw his attitude and the way he plays. They're very, very similar. He's just bigger.
Q: You usually don't practice on Wednesdays but you did this week:
A: Yeah, but Dave Tollefson was hurting a little bit so we didn't have any ends or whatever. I decided to go in there and help them out.
Q: So it's not a sign that you are feeling better or anything?
A: I'm definitely feeling better, no question. My knee feels great and my hip feels good. Everything is feeling good right now.
Q: How long has it been feeling better?
A: Maybe like the past few weeks.
Q: Did you expect that? Usually later in the season guys feel worse:
A: Right. Yeah, I've been feeling better. It's been the reverse for me. In the beginning, I was terrible and then as the season progressed, I started feeling no pain.
Q: Have you toned down your injections and pain killers?
A: Yeah, I haven't taken shots or nothing in a long time now. I'm alright.
Q: So catching an old guy like McNabb won't be a problem?
A: Hopefully. Hopefully I'll be able to get to him.
Q: How are they using him differently than the Eagles did?
A: He's doing – they're using him pretty similarly. They're running a lot of bootlegs and quick things. They're running the ball a lot more with a lot more zone. He's still a very effective quarterback.
Q: Weird seeing him in a Redskins uniform?
A: Nah, nah. I've been watching him for a while. The first time I saw him it was weird. He looks natural in that uniform now because I've been watching him play for a while.
Q: What was your reaction to his trade?
A: That's the business we're in. Nobody is untouchable, nobody is untradeable. Philly just showed that.
Q: How do you generate the emotion you had after halftime at the start of the game?
A: We know better than we came out and played last week. There is no excuse for that. Given the situation and the fact that it was a game that we had to win, there was no excuse for coming out and playing the way we did. Guys didn't really realize that until they saw how serious we were at halftime. I don't think that's going to happen again, or at least I hope it doesn't.
Q: You think it's a lesson learned type thing?
A: Absolutely. No question it was a lesson learned. I don't think it's going to take people getting up and speaking the way we did for us to come out and perform the way we did that second half.
Q: Maybe just do a pregame speech so you won't have to wait until halftime:
A: Nah man, I'm not really that type of person. I don't like to talk and do all that stuff. Whenever it's called upon or I feel like something needs to be said, then I'll say it, and that was definitely one of those situations.
Q: This is a rivalry game that should have everyone pumped up, shouldn't it?
A: No question, I think like you said it's a rivalry game. They're 5-6, but they've beaten some very, very good teams. Teams that we've lost to. A lot of these games they've played have been close. They're a good football team and they're only going to get better. It's going to be a good test for us and hopefully we're going to come out on top. * *
Q: Are you hungrier to get back for the playoffs after missing them last year?
A: Yeah. We've been kind of spoiled going to the playoffs I don't know how many years in a row. Last year, we kind of took it for granted. We had to sit at home and watch everyone else play. We knew we were a good football team. This year, I think we have the veterans and the coaching staff and everybody to make it not a repeat of last year.
Q: When you guys get booed like you did at the end of the first half, do you feel the same as Antrel does?
A: I'm used to it. That's just the way the fans are, but they have every right to be like that. They're paying $120 a ticket to come watch us play, and you can't go out there and stink it up like that, especially not in New York. As long as they're paying to come watch us play, they can boo and they can do whatever they want to do. It's well within their rights to do that.
Q: Have you ever spoken up like that at halftime before?
A: No. Not once. Last time I did it was the Denver game last year, but that didn't end too well. That ended bad, very, very bad. I try not to do that too much, but it was just – I don't know why. Hopefully we won't be in that situation any more where we have to do that, you know?