Q. The one thing that you did really well last game was Eli’s ability to get rid of the ball very quickly. Was that a point of emphasis going in?
A. Certainly an awareness that they are a team that has always blitzed a lot and rather than try to block everything up we would try to take an approach where we would block up a lot of them, but we think we’ve got some guys who can run the ball effectively after the catch it and fortunately for us, they made some big plays.
Q. Was that maybe not as much the game plan before? Is that what you are getting at?
A. No, no. To answer your question, I think it is always a part of our approach. But I think rather than trying to block everything up all the time, which is sometimes what we try to do to get a big play, we said, be content with taking a hot once in a while. A hot break or what we call ‘sights.’ Don’t feel like you have to redirect it, getting everything schooled up so it is perfectly blocked. Sometimes that is difficult in terms of it slows down the momentum, the tempo of the game also. I just think there are some guys that we have that if you can get the ball in their hands, they can run the ball well enough to make it worth our while.
Q. Not so much a change of philosophy as a re-emphasis?
A. I would say that there was the willingness to do it that maybe we have been trying to encourage maybe more often.
Q. The Redskins pass defense is ranked high. Is that due more to their secondary play or their pass rush?
A. Both. Never is it just one or the other. They are very good defensively and they play very hard. I take my hat off to them. They play very spirited. They haven’t lost their stinger with the fact that they weren’t winning. They have continued to play hard. They certainly have a great pass rush, there is no question about that. Those two outside guys are particularly good. When they get the big boy cranked up inside, it’s tough. They do a nice job. I think their coverage guys are good, too. They are very experienced. They have had a lot of injuries. They have been able to overcome that, which is impressive.
Q. Orakpo rushes the passer a lot, but he is a 4-3 outside linebacker. Is there a spot where you can take advantage of him in coverage?
A. Yeah, you would like to say that, but, they do a nice job of covering that up so they don’t let you exploit that if you could. I am not sure that you can. They rush him as much as anything. It’s a 4-3 linebacker, but the front that they use quite often is an under front which puts him on the line of scrimmage so he might as well be a fifth defensive lineman. Sometimes in the third down they actually put his hand on the ground. First and second down, he just stands up in a two-point stance, but he still coming, it’s the same thing.
Q. They run on their front and then bring a safety down?
A. Bring a safety down and cover the tight end and play a lot of man.
Q. You see more of a loaded box with these guys than you see with other teams traditionally?
A. Again, I think that is their philosophy. They want to stop the run so they want to have eight guys in the box. They will do it a couple of ways. In the under front they will either bring them down to the front side and fire Orakpo and play what we call ‘dog one free.’ Or, they bring him down to the weak side, just slide the linebackers over to the strong side and put eight in the box. Do they do it more than others? They have always done it because they have always made a commitment. That is what we are going to do. We are going to mix it in there. I don’t know if it is more than others or not. They definitely make the commitment. It is a commitment on their part, there is no question.
Q. How would you say you guys did the first time you saw Albert Haynesworth this year?
A. I think Richie (Seubert) matched up. Played very, very emotionally, with great tenacity and hung in there. I wasn’t sure that he could. The guy is a freak of nature. He is a huge man who has some explosiveness to him. We tried to slide and help. We tried to keep a guy inside or a guy outside and help. More often than not, he was on his own and Richie just hung in there. The guy is incredible. He plays with such heart and determination. It really is inspiring to watch him. I don’t know how he does it with some of the injuries he is battling through, but he does. So, we helped? Yes we did. We, no question, did and we are certainly cognizant of the fact that he has unique ability. If it was becoming a problem, we would help him more. But, we did mix it in. For the most part it was one-on-one.
Q. There were a couple of plays where it looked like he was holding on, riding the bull?
A. Well, a couple times he got knocked back. There is no question that he got knocked back three or four yards. The guy is incredible because he is battling an outstanding football player. If you looked at it and just compared the statistics, you would say that is not a fair fight, but (Richie) makes it a fair fight because of his heart.
Q. You talk about the stuff he is playing through. We know about the shoulder. How much does the shoulder limit an offensive lineman’s effectiveness?
A. From two perspectives, it is tough. One is the actual punching during the game, which is how you pass protect. You come off and lead with your hands. So, you have taken away half the guys strength. Secondly, you have even taken away more than that because you can’t lift and do the things that you normally do to maintain yourself or hopefully, ideally get stronger. That is not taking place. So, you are gradually wearing down and you’re losing strength. It is not getting better. You are worsening it every week. I don’t want to make it a sad story but he has my admiration the way he fights through that stuff.
Q. The last couple of years you have talked about getting the big play. You are getting it this year, not always necessarily with the big pass. Is that where you want it to be?
A. We will take it anyway we can get it. But I think most teams that have a lot of big plays, it is not always just deep throws. I think if you looked at it historically or even this year, a lot of big plays will always happen from short throws, or medium length throws that turn into long gains because of the ability of the guy to run. Like I said right from the start, I think we’ve got some guys who can do that, whether it is Mario (Manningham), Domenik (Hixon), Hakeem (Nicks), and even Steve (Smith) has gotten better at running with the ball. Now, he has always been outstanding at catching it and getting open. But he is actually running the ball much better after the catch. It is somewhat contagious, which is a good thing.