Good morning. We're in the division. The Washington Redskins are 2-1 in the division. They've beaten Philadelphia, they've beaten Dallas, they are a team that has played any number of very, very tight football games. A Mike Shanahan team. Jim Haslett has done a good job on the defensive side of the ball. They have an outstanding veteran secondary, they are very aggressive, a big front. Offensively, they feature the run game, the big pass - they are a big play offensive team and they have receivers of course that can cover the big field. Their kicking game - Banks is an outstanding returner who creates positive field position for their offensive football team. So, we're in the division, we're excited about that. We're playing at home and we're excited to be at home again.
Q: Any way you can underestimate your safeties this year?
A: No. The contribution that has been made back there has been very obvious, very strong, whether it's down at the line of scrimmage... Rolle has done a very good job of pressuring the quarterback. He has proven to be outstanding as a blitzer coming off the edge. Terrell Thomas made a nice play for us the other day coming off the edge, but to have Phillips back, to have Deon Grant, who has made an excellent contribution, who has made a lot of big plays and has added a lot of experience and stability to that unit - it's all been positive.
Q: How is McNabb different to prepare for with the Redskins than when he was with the Eagles?
A: He's still Donovan McNabb and he has a very, very strong arm, he will pull it down and run - he's shown the ability to do that numerous times this year. If he doesn't like what he sees, he will try to buy time and get the ball down the field. He has the strong arm - he can throw it any distance. I don't think there's any difference in terms of how you prepare for Donovan in terms of having to make sure that you try to force him to step up in the pocket and you try to put as much pressure as you can right away so that the play does not get extended, because when I mentioned big plays, with Armstrong and Santana, they do try to get the ball well down the field.
Q: Does Donovan seem like a hurdle that hasn't gone away for you?
A: You could put it that way. He's going to be in a different uniform - that would be a little bit different for all of us - but we have played against Donovan many times and he certainly is an outstanding quarterback and leader of his team, no matter whether it's Philadelphia or Washington.
Q: What was your reaction to his trade?
A: My thoughts can't be expressed at this time.
Q: Does it help that you're in a rhythm against mobile QBs right now?
A: Well, it helps in that you can quickly draw analogies and you can quickly point out issues and you can rely a little bit on some of what you've done to perhaps allow you to continue to extend your plan against a quarterback who can both run and pass.
Q: He's been sacked a lot on a consistent basis - why is that?
A: Well, he's been hit. He's been hit any number of times and he's had pressure and I think there's no one way to assess exactly what has happened. Sometimes it's been a breakdown up front, sometimes it's been a running back, sometimes it's been an overload blitz. There's any number of reasons why these things happen. It's not just one.
Q: How gratifying/surprising is it that Eli hasn't been sacked in the last four games with the changes in the line?
A: Well, it has allowed us to continue to function. Let's put it that way. And I think that the guys have done a really good job of that and Eli has done a good job - he has been able to step up and maneuver and get rid of the ball quickly. He's done any number of things to help that as well, but our backs have done a good job this year with, for example, Kevin Boothe in there you have a veteran guy who is intelligent and who can communicate and shares information with whoever that is on his left side. Between Richie and Chris and out to Kareem you've got guys who have played together for a while. Kevin Boss has been used in protections, we've loaded up the edges, we've done whatever we've had to do and the guys have done a pretty good job with it.
Q: Any chance for Diehl this week?
A: Diehl is going to do individual and he's going to take a couple of plays just to see what his status is.
Q: Given the success with the new additions to the line, is consistency on the line overrated?
A: No. No. No. It just means that you have to look at the individuals involved and know that there has been consistency with these people, too. They've been there, they've practiced with us. It may not have been this year with Kevin, but certainly he has and Beatty has been here and he's worked and so it does make a better statement about guys that have been in the system and have come back into the system overcoming injuries and been able to perform.
Q: What is unique about this group of linemen?
A: What's unique about them? Well, they take great pride in what they do and in order to be a part of that collective unit, you better display that.
Q: How much of that is attributed to Pat Flaherty?
A: A great deal. Pat Flaherty, Jack Bicknell have done an outstanding job working with these guys and being able to make these kinds of conversions - guys have had to play. It's not like there is an option here in some of these cases and because of that you've got to give credit to the individual, the player, for being able to step up to the plate and do the job and to the coaches for getting them ready.
Q: O'Hara or Andrews cleared to do anything today?
A: I think they say O'Hara will do some running, but Andrews is not ready.
Q: Any decision on Jacobs and Bradshaw?
A: To the point where it remains - it almost was an even distribution of carries, I think Bradshaw ended up with a little more last weekend. We've always played that way, but the way in which we start and the way in which we distribute throughout the course of the game is a little bit dictated by how the game goes. I'd like to stay right now with Brandon starting the game, but Ahmad is very much in the hunt and again, as pointed out, we did not have a turnover last week, which is a very positive thing.
Q: At the end of the game when you had to run one play, you gave the ball to Ahmad. Was that by design?
A: By design.
Q: For his confidence?
A: To say we have faith in him. We have faith in all of them. Let's correct it. Let's fix it. Let's move on. I tried to express last week when so much was put in to who was going to start - they're all going to get their carries and they've all got to do a job and everybody has to feel responsibility for this thing. What a great thing it is not to have a giveaway in the game.
Q: Do you preach to your team this week the importance of not needing a halftime speech?
A: Consistency. Consistency. Let's play four quarters like we should.
Q: Any idea why they came out flat?
A: I don't want to go backwards. I see no sense in that. The mission was clearly stated from day one. The very first thing that was put up there about this team was having to go stop the run. It couldn't have been missed.
Q: How much do you emphasize winning the division this year?
A: Well, with the divisional games I go back into it and it is worth two games, lets' face it. So we talk an awful lot about it. When we set the thing up in the beginning - in preseason and as the season developed - we did talk about the importance of the division and a direct line that leads into the playoffs and that type of thing, so it's been emphasized, but right now everybody knows the situation. We've got to keep winning.
Q: Anything on Ross?
A: He's had multiple tests. He's had all the internal organs tested. There is a strong feeling that there is some kind of a strain there - a back strain of some kind - and we're continuing to try to make him comfortable with all of the various tests that have been done so that he is confident that he can go play.
Q: Not a sickness or illness?
A: All I can tell you is all these things have checked out. There is a numbers thing as you know when you do all the chemical stuff. Sometimes in athletes there is a little bit of variance, but nothing that they're willing to say is the reason. There was no kidney stone unless he passed it.
Q: Is he still in pain?
A: He was discomforted the other day but he feels better today. He will practice and I hope he can get through a practice without having some discomfort.
Q: What do you think you'll get from the new receivers this week?
A: They'll advance. Sure. We've been able to do that and advance. Those guys like Derek, who had background information starting out, Michael Clayton, who seemed to pick things up relatively fast, and now Devin this week. Hopefully he'll have an opportunity. Sean Ryan met with him a couple of days this week already just to get more foundation for him.
Q: Clayton had many special teams roles last week.
A: He did pretty well in them.
Q: Is that the best way to ease someone in?
A: Well, he had done that before and so whatever you call it, I think they relate to it quickly.
Q: Any news on Steve Smith?
A: Steve is working towards getting back to where he feels good about himself and the medical people are ready to put him out, but as far as whether he'll practice today, no. He'll be on the side, but he'll do more running and more extensive work and he has put the pads on and done that and hopefully the progress keeps going.
Q: Does he have a chance for Sunday?
A: I don't have the percentage deal. We'll see how he is today.
Q: Have you been helping Ahmad the same way you helped Tiki with his fumbling issue?
A: You also have to realize that the game has changed a little bit - the way in which defensive people are going about their business, so it's become even more of a secure position than just high and tight. Without even making a tackle, just going for the ball, so we've changed a little bit in how we've addressed that. It's normally in terms of Ahmad just the second effort aspect of it and he's worked hard.
Q: How much is Cooley being used differently with Donovan McNabb?
A: It eventually comes back to the player and the communication and the comfort level. You notice there's a lot of big plays, a lot of key situations in the game with balls directed towards 47.
A: He feels better, he's doing better. The doctor sees him tonight.