Redskins coach Jim Zorn, 09.09.09

Q. How has Andre Woodson helped your team this week?

A. (laugh) He is kind of running the scout team, obviously, and I think that is probably the way that he is going to help us. Certainly we are looking for him to be a part of our group for the whole year and trying to help us at the QB spot.

Q. Speaking of QBs, how has Jason Campbell looked during the offseason and this preseason?

A. He has improved himself; he had a lot of work to do. I think with all the speculation with Mark Sanchez, the QB from Denver, the whole situation with us kind of fizzling at the end, I think all of that speculation put him in a mindset of wanting to improve. He worked hard; he didn’t react inappropriately when all that speculation was happening. He put his nose to the grindstone and got after it. Consequently, I think he has had some very good improvement. I thought his preseason was a continual uphill climb and hopefully he will continue as we get into the regular season.

Q. The Giants are the defending division champions. How much of a litmus test is this for your team to start off against them?

A. Oh, it’s not even that, I think that’s part of it, but when you watch them on video (laugh), they are that good. It is going to be a real good test for us to see where we’re at. We are coming into their home field and they are just a tremendous football team. I think their strengths obviously are on defense, with their whole defensive group. I don’t see any weaknesses. I think their offensive line and their running game, I think with Eli back there, they just do so many things well. They really do.

Q. Why is (Albert) Haynesworth so much better than other defensive tackles?

A. When you watch this guy warm up, and this is what was amazing to me, he is 340 lbs. When he warms up, he runs like any other, say, linebacker would run or whatever. He can really move the 340. That is what is interesting about this guy. He is big and he likes to play. He loves to penetrate. He likes to be physical and those are things that are making him an outstanding defensive tackle in this league.

Q. How much different is it going up against a Giants offense that doesn’t have Plaxico Burress and also Amani Toomer?

A. I think with Eli and what he does with the football…I think Plaxico Buress was a real force, so obviously someone is going to have to pick up a lot of slack from that standpoint. But usually, I know the Giants are like this, they have good athletes all over. It is hard to replace a special guy like that, I just think that what they are going to do is spread the ball around a little bit more. That would be my prediction; not just hone in on one guy.

Q. When you look back on the games against the Giants last year and you see 14 points total, what are the reasons for why so few points?

A. Well, we got dominated. They came to play. We kind of ran into a buzz saw the first game. We thought we were going to play better in the second and we didn’t. They just caused problems. We weren’t good enough; we weren’t just flat good enough.

Q. They caused problems how?

A. Their defense, the mainstay is what Antonio Pierce does. He controls the line of scrimmage on defense; much like our quarterback controls the line of scrimmage on offense. He gets their defenders in great position. You know this, New York has one of the better defensive lines in the National Football League. Very difficult to win every down and what we have to do is not to be discouraged when that happens.

Q. When you scheme to stop Brandon Jacobs, what do you think makes him more effective than other backs in the league and how do you stop him?

A. I don’t think you tackle him with one guy, first of all. I think you have to tackle him with more than one guy, because he is so powerful. To me, it looks like he loves the one on one. If he gets a chance to be in open space or run through the line of scrimmage and he gets a one-on-one situation, he is confident and physical enough where he can really pound a person. I think that is how we have to stop him, make sure we have more than one guy there.

Q. Does it seem like sometimes he would prefer to knock a guy over than run around him?

A. He is not a scat back. I think he has lateral quickness, but that’s just not his style of running. He is a powerful running back.

Q. Is it like night and day when we talked to you a year ago before this first game?

A. Yes, it is. Just from a standpoint I really feel like I have a grasp of our players. I thought I did then, but I know I do now. First of all, I had excellent coaches last year. I’ve got them this year, as well. We just communicate that much better with expectations, knowing what we are trying to accomplish. We are trying to do it altogether or just enhancements if you will just because of the time together.

Q. How has Clinton Portis been physically?

A. He has been good. I didn’t play him very much. We sort of had this plan before the preseason even started of how we were going to do it. I wasn’t going to play him in the first game, I was going to play him in a limited fashion in the second, he was going to definitely play in the third, which he did against the New England Patriots and then I shut him down last week. He is well rested. He is going to practice hard this week and give it a go.

Q. Have you and Clinton improved your communication level? Did it need to be improved?

A. (laugh) I don’t know. People might say that our communication needed to be improved. I think we communicate very well. I think I understand Clinton, I think he understands me. I think we work very well together. I don’t have a beef with Clinton in any fashion and I don’t think he does with me. I think we have a very good, solid relationship. Both working relationship and then also, he has other interests, too. He is an interesting guy and I kind of appreciate all those things about him as well.

Q. What have you seen from (Brian) Orakpo and how much do you expect from him this weekend?

A. He is going to be our starter. Orakpo has had a great, for a young player, training camp. I think things will be a little more...I think he will be on a learning curve when the regular season starts. We have tried to get him up to speed; we have tried to get him all the reps we can. We put a lot of work into him and he has put a lot of work into getting ready. Now, it is going to be learning by experience.

Q. When you say he is starting, is he starting at linebacker and then moving to the line at times?

A. Yes.

Q. How is your team physically?

A. Last year we had several guys on injured reserve at this time. Right now, it is just Colt Brennan, our third quarterback. He had a hamstring pull and he has some problems with his hips that he is working on. Other than that, we are coming right along. We have some pulls, some aches and pains, but so does everybody else. 

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