Mathias Kiwanuka, 11.28.12

Q: What was the key to the success upfront against Aaron Rodgers in pass-rush?
A: Honestly, I think that was just about heart and desire. We knew going into the game that was what we had to do. He's a great pocket passer, he can extend the plays and still look down the field, but we knew that if we got pressure on him early and made him uncomfortable in the pocket and made him move his feet around that it would help us out. It helped that we had great coverage on the back end, too. Boley and the rest of those linebackers were coming downhill, so I think everything just kind of played into itself.

Q: Do you enjoy playing on the defensive line and do you think it works schematically?
A: Yeah, I definitely love being down there. That's a big part of the reason why even when I was playing linebacker, I would still go down on most third-downs and be able to rush. That's what I do naturally. As a football player, that's what I'm most used to. Whenever we can get that rotation, it kind of keeps everybody fresh and keeps that enthusiasm getting after the quarterback. It's good, we'll see how it goes, but yeah, that was the game plan, that I was only going to be on the d-line for that week.

Q: Can you talk a little about Alfred Morris and what you've seen from him?

A: I think for us, it's always going to be about us. I always go back and say we can handle whatever people throw at us, as long as we're all disciplined as a group. They obviously play well and they are led by RGIII, and he's looking down the field a lot more, but I don't like to get into discussing what individuals are capable of doing against us during the week. We'll just focus on ourselves and make sure that we're ready and prepared.

Q: Have you been impressed with what Morris has done this year?

A: Yeah, obviously they're out there and they're competing as a group. They have a number of rookies who are playing well and even when they're put into tough situations they seem to be composed. They're composed under pressure, being able to come out of games that are close or they're not expected to win.

Q: What are some of the things you learned about RGIII in your first meeting?
A: I'd say that he's more a down-the-field passer than I think that people expected him to be. He's got good poise in the pocket and he can also extend the play and look to get the ball down the field, not just the runner that everybody knew that he was coming out.

Q: Do you feel better prepared against the option attack facing them a second time?

A: I think we were pretty well prepared going into that first game, to be honest with you, but having the chance, as players, to get up there and see it live will definitely help us out this next game.

Q: What do you remember about the game last year in Washington and not being able to take care of business?
A: The lesson we got out of that was, when you're playing a divisional opponent, it doesn't matter what the records are, or what you're ranked in the conference, or anything like that. We're two teams that have seen each other a lot. We know what each other is capable of, and it's going to come down to desire more so than the X's and O's. When you throw that option package in there, that may be something you have to focus on, but whenever you're playing somebody in your division, you have to be prepared for anything, no matter what the records are. It's always going to be a rivalry game.

Q: With RGIII's speed, can you compare him to anyone?
A: I think his total skills...you can't really compare him to anybody because he's a different guy. He's got a different skill set than most guys. Some guys are either fast and not necessarily a good pocket passer or they're a pocket passer and they're not as quick, but I think he has talent on a lot of different levels.

Q: Do you mind going back and forth between linebacker and defensive line?
A: I want to be able to be on the field, be prepared, and be effective. That's my main thing. If I'm out there helping the team, then I'm good in that spot. I said all along that defensive end is my natural position. That's where I feel most comfortable, but when we get all four pass-rushers out there on the field and we can go up and down the line and mix and match, that creates favorable matchups, so I have no problem with that either. I knew when I came back, I had a meeting with the GM and Coughlin, and this is what I signed up for. There's going to be times when I'm used at linebacker and there will be times when they need me as a defensive lineman. I'm good as long as I feel prepared going into that game, I'll play whatever.

Q: How different are those weeks for you when you know you're going to be a lineman?

A: It's different, because it's easier to prepare for one spot. When I have to go back and forth, there's just a lot more preparation that goes into it, but I seem to always be able to get it done even though you don't think there's enough hours in the day. The coaches are pretty good about it. When you're playing a team, and they say, ‘This is how we're going to use you, just as a defensive lineman,' it's a lot less preparation involved and really just going out there and playing ball like I've always done.

Q: How do you split your time in practice? Does it change depending on the week?
A: Yeah, it always depends on the week or who we're matching up against. We know pretty early on in the week how it's going to go.

Q: For a week where you are playing both positions, do you split drills in practice?
A: Yeah, that's just how it's been. I'll meet with both groups and I'll go out there during practice and split the time.

Q: So last week you just stayed with the defensive line the entire time?
A: Yeah, one meeting room, one line for drills, that's pretty simple.

Q: When you are able to play with three safeties, how much of an advantage does that give you?
A: The way that they played last week, I think it's huge just because we have guys who are safeties who can play down in the box just as well as anybody else. You'd have to ask the offense we play against, but I know they cause problems because their coverage skills are a lot better, but they can also come down and support the run pretty well, so it takes a lot of the passes away from the offense.

Q: Do you see this as a game where you can knock the Redskins out of playoff contention?

A: I see it as a game for us to create separation. I wouldn't say that if we come out with a win that we assume that they're knocked out. I don't know where they'd be statistically, but until we're locked-in statistically, we're not going to count our eggs before they hatch. We're just going to play ball and make sure we take care of our own business. That's the main thing; not just get the win and make sure we're in the playoffs, but also be rolling into the playoffs on a good note. Making sure that we're playing our best ball so that when we do make it there we're ready and prepared.

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