Q: Is there a heightened sense of urgency?
A: In my opinion you treat every game the same. Each week you prepare the same, you go out there and practice and you should have the same intensity no matter what's occurring. I think that's our approach. You have to stay relaxed. You can't start getting stressed and worried that you need to make a play every series or score every time you get the ball. You just have to prepare, practice hard, and go out there and execute the game plan on Monday night.
Q: You have that makeup. Do you sense that your teammates have the same makeup?
A: Yeah, I think so. I thought we had a good, crisp practice today. I think everybody's upbeat. It's still young in the season. Obviously each week you want to go out there, compete, and try to get a win.
Q: What's the key to winning this week?
A: A lot of things. Everybody has to play well. Everybody has to do their responsibilities. [The Rams] do some great blitzes and different looks. Everybody has to be on the same page on who's blocked and who's unblocked and communicate well. We're at home, so that shouldn't be a problem. It's just a matter of trying to stay in good down and distance and everybody executing together.
Q: Does Spagnuolo being here give you an advantage? Or does it give him an advantage?
A: It probably goes both ways a little bit. You obviously know, having gone against them for several preseasons, some of their looks. Each year they put in different stuff and have different wrinkles. I'm sure he's game planning us like we're game planning him and their defense. I don't think one way or another. We just have to watch the film and have our tips. Go by that and hopefully be well prepared.
Q: Is it still special to play on Monday night?
A: Always. It's always a great environment, great fun playing on Monday night. Should be a great crowd for the first home game, we have a Monday night game - a lot of energy. It will be a big game.
Q: Does the extra day give you time to work out the kinks?
A: It gets us that much more prepared - the practices and extra day of looking at film and having meetings and going over our tips and our rules. It's still early in the season. We didn't want to have a day off. Just get back and keep working on things and make sure everybody's prepared.
Q: If Nicks is unable to go, how will that affect you?
A: It's not going to affect me. We have guys that can step up and play. Just figure out what's going to happen. That's the good thing about having some veteran guys in Manningham, in Hixon. They've each played the X-position. They've each played the Z-position. Whoever's there, they both know what's going on. If Hakeem [Nicks] hopefully comes back, then we can get back to our original formations and alignments shouldn't be a problem.
Q: You guys can't win if you have big penalties or turnovers. Is that something you're focusing on?
A: That's always a focus. You want to avoid hurting yourself and that's what those things do. You just have to be smart with the penalties and also with the ball when you have it in your hands. I thought we were just okay with that last game, could have been better. I don't think we were careless with the ball by any means. But obviously with this defense they are big on trying to get turnovers, showing different looks, and trying to get free hits on the quarterback. We just have to watch a lot of film, get prepared, and have our answers.
Q: How much different would you say the plan is when Nicks isn't in there as opposed to when he is?
A: I don't think it changes up that much. You put the game plan together based on what the defense is doing and whoever is filling [Nicks'] spot is going to be very capable of making big plays and doing everything that [Nicks] does.
Q: Is this a crucial game for this point in the season?
A: I think all games are crucial. You definitely want to get a win. But each week you prepare the same and you go out to practice the same and have the same energy.
Q: Is there more pressure until you get the first victory?
A: No. I've never thought about that really. I think you go out there each game and prepare and compete and try to get a win.
Q: Did you talk to Cruz after his drop? Are you worried about his confidence?
A: I saw him on the sidelines, said, 'Hey, don't worry about it. We're going to have to come back to you. Good route, good recognition. Everything was good, just finish the play.' He'll be fine. He's going to have to make some plays for us.
Q: What about him makes you think he's ready to be someone you can rely on?
A: Well, he's a smart guy, works hard. He is a playmaker once he gets the ball in his hands. Anytime playing in your first regular season game there is going to be some nerves and things going on. Get him settled down, get him a catch, get a first down, just get him in a little rhythm, get a little confidence going and he'll be in good shape.
Q: Does going a day or two without Travis Beckum in practice have a tangible effect in the game?
A: You just have to make smart decisions on who's going to be out there. We have a lot of plays, but it's pretty interchangeable. If all of a sudden Beckum is not there, we can put other guys in there, different personnel and get to the same formation and run the same plays.
Q: Is there enough confidence in Ballard and Pascoe in the meeting rooms?
A: Yeah. They'll be in good shape and well aware of what's going on.
Q: When you heard that Nicks' knee was swollen, did you say, 'Oh no, not another one'?
A: I just talked to him and tried to figure what was happening, how he was feeling. It's just part of football and we dealt with it last year with injuries to the receiver spot. I thought we dealt with it fine. We won some games with different guys playing receiver. We'll be fine. We adjust and we have guys who can step in and do a good job for us.
Q: Third and one, third and two, is that about attitude?
A: I think it's just about execution, just like everything else. Just about everybody doing the exact right thing, no doubts, no hesitations and everybody working together as one unit to give a hole for that running back.
Q: Failure to convert third and one, fourth and one. Same thing or two different things?
A: [The Redskins] played it well. [The Redskins] had good calls. We weren't perfect in our execution.
Q: Do you prefer throwing the ball on short yardage situations?
A: Whatever the coaches think is the correct thing to do is going to give us the best shot to get a first down. You have some passes and can definitely do that. But we try to establish that run game and if it is one yard, we should be able to run it for one yard.
Q: When you're snapping late into the play clock, is that by design? A: No. It just depends on what is going on - trying to get to a new play or trying to set the play. All of that depends on what happens prior to that play coming in.