[NOTE: This conference call was with Washington media]
Q. How do you figure what is going on with you guys in recent weeks? Attrition on defense? Physical, mental mistakes or what do you think has been happening?
A. What are you talking about?
Q. You have given up a lot of points lately.
A. Yeah, well, it has been most unfortunate. We have had trouble keeping people from the big play and Philadelphia has done it to us a couple of times. We did a pretty good job the last couple of weeks against the run. But we have had a little trouble with the big play aspect of it and we continue to work to try and get better.
Q. Is a lot of that not having Kenny (Phillips) and Antonio (Pierce)? What do you attribute it to?
A. No. I just think we are not making plays that are there. We have gotten ourselves in position where it is not just one thing. There is not enough pressure on the quarterback. The quarterback moves and buys extra time. The receiver gets a little further down field. That is a simple answer, but that is one answer. We had the ball driven on us the other night for a long 91-yard scoring drive. We didn’t do anything about that. We didn’t get the opponent out at all. We’ve battled competitively, players have played hard, we gave up a punt return, we fumbled the ball and they picked it up and ran it in the end zone. As much as everyone wants to chastise the defense, if those two plays don’t happen, there is enough points there to win.
Q. When you started out 5-0, every coach is nervous and never feels like everything is perfect. After blowing out Oakland did you in anyway see struggles coming?
A. I didn’t. To be honest with you, I didn’t know if we had really been tested to the extent that was going to come. The second game of the year in Dallas, Dallas had a lot of yardage. We beat them on a last-minute field goal; it was very competitive, like it is in this division every week. So you give the other guy some credit. The other guy is a good football team and has good players, certainly playing well. We always start out with, number one, we try to stop the run. Number two, we try to prevent the big play. It is a long game basically and you do a pretty good job in one area, but then in another area you may have a problem. That is kind of what has happened.
Q. I know you are an offensive guy, but for a long time you guys have been so good on defense, especially against the Redskins. The fact that you haven’t had an incredible amount of sacks, what do you attribute that to? Are guys just finally catching up to your pass rushers or what do you think has happened there?
A. You are asking all kinds of questions. First of all, we are not getting in a lot of long yardage situations and when we do we don’t have a great record there of really getting people off the field in just coverage. Sometimes it is max protection. Sometimes they keep people in and go ahead and throw it down the field. Other times, basically five against four, or with a chip on the outside before they release with the tight end or the back. We are not getting home, we aren’t getting to the quarterback. We haven’t had a lot of success even with pressure doing that.
Q. The Redskins went into the season with (Chris) Samuels as a long-time mainstay at left tackle, they have Randy Thomas there. They have been through a ton of offensive linemen and have actually improved offensively. How difficult is that in midseason to bring new guys in and bring them up to speed?
A. It is very difficult. To not have a guy even in training camp to try to work with and then to make some good decisions along the lines of what the players can best do and what does not over-tax them and how can you get on the same page as fast as you possibly can. That is the most difficult job.
Q. What have you seen from that unit over the past few weeks? They are playing a little bit better offensively?
A. Well, they are. They are playing better. The quarterback is playing better. Even with the injuries, the running game has had its moments and done well. Players have developed. Their receiving corps has developed. The ball gets down the field. (Jason) Campbell is playing very well, I think. I think they have hung in there and kept battling away. They certainly have made progress.
Q. For a long time here this team has struggled with pass rushing. This year with Orakpo and Carter, they each have 11 sacks. I was wondering what your impression of the pass rush was and, in particular, those two guys?
A. Well, they have the numbers to back it up. They are both outstanding players. They play hard; they always have. The young player has definitely made his presence felt, not only as a backer but as a third-down rush end. Carter has always been a most difficult guy to have to contend with. They have played outstanding football.
Q. When you look at Jason Campbell he has struggled at times earlier in the year. When you see him on film and go to face him, what do you think of this guy right now?
A. I just said, I think he is playing very well. His accuracy obviously is there. He has delivered the ball to the guys who can make plays for him. I think certainly (Fred) Davis, his contribution and his improvement has helped the quarterback tremendously, along with (Devin) Thomas. So I just think that as the offensive line came together, Jason Campbell is a tough guy, he hung in there, and so their team has improved. He is certainly the guy who has been the spearhead of that. He has an outstanding completion percentage and he is playing well.
Q. The last four years you guys have certainly been one of the best teams in the league. To go through what you guys have gone through in recent weeks, where do you think you guys are emotionally going into these last three games?
A. Well, we have been excited about playing our divisional games. It has been one game after another. We had a nice win against Dallas. We came up short the other night in a high-scoring affair. I think our guys will be right back on the mark. You come together on Monday and it is a sad day. Everybody is disappointed. Everybody wants to win. Everybody does everything they think they can. It doesn’t mean that you always play as well as you are capable of playing. We try to get their dabbers back up and get them refocused and knowing full well that the season gets shorter and shorter and more meaningful and more meaningful. I think our leadership will be strong. I think our guys will come back and we will have a nice week of practice. We will be excited to go down to Washington.