Kevin Gilbride Press Conference, 12.15.11

Q: It looks like you got a running game back Sunday night?
A: I thought we started to run a little bit better against Green Bay and I thought it was continued improvement in this game. We don't have huge stats, but I'm looking for consistency. I thought for the most part we got that. Brandon, I thought, was running with a lot of energy, a lot of power. So it was good to see.

Q: How much has Jacobs improved the last two weeks?
A: He's definitely helped. There's no question. He's part of the two-back running system. I think he's shown more confidence in terms of being aggressive, going after people and you can only do that if you're comfortable with your assignments and the way that the game flows. I think he's done a good job.

Q: Do you still need the running game with this kind of passing attack?
A: I think where it becomes difficult, there's no question, you can't avoid it, is just the weather. The weather becomes a factor up here. It's not the cold very much and it's not even the rain as much as the wind can really be a troublesome factor. That's what really concerns me more than anything else. Obviously the old days in Houston, we had great success, we were in the playoffs every year and we did very well in the playoffs offensively. And we weren't running the ball. We were much more of a passing team. I've certainly been on teams in the past, Jacksonville we went to the AFC Championship doing that. But here is different than there. You're indoors. You're down south. It can be a factor here, weather wise. That's where you would like to be able to run the ball, but regardless of that, you always would like to have the ability to force people to play honestly. To do that, you have to be able to run the ball a little bit. I think the fact that we did it a little bit better [against] Green Bay, did it even a little bit better last game is a good sign. We're headed in the right direction. We're not where we want to be, but we're headed in the right direction and I think that just makes us more difficult to defend.

Q: The Redskins have a pass rush by committee. How do you look at them and try to prepare?
A: They're a blitz team. The last few teams we've played are blitz teams. Each of them are a little bit different philosophically in how they accomplish it, but you have two, to me, outstanding rushers. Their two outside linebackers are both terrific players. If you're not careful, you concentrate so much on those two that it opens up opportunities elsewhere. Certainly the blitz package, like any blitz package, they can cause confusion and somebody turns somebody free. That's when they get some hits for other people. They're a good defense. They gave us all we could handle the first time around. They're a little bit different than most defenses with some of the things they do coverage wise. If you're not on top of your game as receivers and quarterback, then you hold the ball a little bit longer until things clear up for yourself. That's when maybe you held the ball a little bit longer than you wanted to and you normally do and that's when some of those sacks happen.

Q: Barry Cofield said earlier today that if Eli had played last year the way he's playing now that you would have given Green Bay a run for their money. Has Eli changed that much?
A: I find it a little bit amusing that those comments are being made by other people. I've said other times, I'll say it again, the interceptions obviously were high last year. But other than that, it was his best year. You can't separate the two so you say it was not a good year. It wasn't a good year in that respect, but in terms of pass percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown passes, yardage, it was outstanding. I think it's been incremental, continued improvement over the years. There's no question that this year, right now, is special. And it's him, but the line's doing a good job. As battered as they are, what Pat Flaherty has been able to do with those guys up front is amazing. The receivers have been terrific, flat out, have been terrific. I think Eli has continued to improve, but as always, in order for him to do his job, those other guys have to do theirs and I think they're doing very well.

Q: How big was it getting Ahmad back for Dallas?

A: You would like to think he's significant. I think he was significant in the Green Bay game. He did not have as good a game as he would have liked and of course he hurt himself by not coming in until the second half, but Brandon had his best game by far. To me, it's irrelevant who does it. I just want someone to do it well and I have confidence in both of them. I hope that both of them have a great game and that will make us much more difficult to defend if we can run the ball consistently and have some big plays.

Q: Why is Jacobs running better the last two weeks?
A: The obvious thing just looking at him, he's running with great confidence so his cuts are much more precise, much more authoritative. He looks more physical and I think when you're feeling confident about what you're doing you let it flow and that's what it looks like he's doing. The million dollar question is why and I don't have an answer for that. I'm just happy that it's starting to manifest itself and I think he's doing a good job. It's been fun to watch and it's definitely helped. There's no question.

Q: Are you calling different plays? Is there any explanation other than he's running down hill and there are holes?
A: I think they're doing a good job up front. It's amazing right now with all of the injuries and all of the new faces and new bodies. I'm just very proud of the job that those guys are doing. If I thought earlier in the year that we would be playing with some of the bodies we're playing with, I would've said, ‘Whoa.' But they're doing a terrific job. They're hanging in there and fighting and they're doing a great job.

Q: What is the O-line doing better?
A: As a group, they're playing better. We're playing better. Boothie (Kevin Boothe) has been flat out outstanding. Some of the snaps have been unnerving, but other than that he's keeping Eli's back loose.

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