Let me start off by saying I thought for us last night we did have a very good performance from special teams, defense and offense, which was what we were striving for throughout the week, to get the quality of our play at the highest level in all three phases (and) to not beat ourselves in terms of the turnovers, in terms of the penalties. We were able to do that with three penalties, with no turnovers, with winning the turnover battle.
I think for quite some time here when we do win the turnover battle our record is something like 19-3. I was pleased with that part of it. I thought there were some real key issues there. One was that we had three tackles inside the twenty-yard line on our kickoff coverage team, which I thought was outstanding. Secondly, we returned against the number three kickoff coverage team in the league and we did have a very nice breakout return with regard to that.
I think defensively we did get pressure on the quarterback, which is something that I think all secondary, all coverage concepts have to start out there. We did get pressure on the quarterback. We did play aggressively defensively. We were in the right place at the right time. The quarterback broke out against us for I think 36 yards which added to the rush yardage. He did a good job of recognizing coverage and scrambling out of there when the opportunity was there. But with the exception of one or two runs we did a good job against the run. Then I think there was a pass in the flats with the long run after the catch and the deep ball to Santana (Moss). Those were the two plays that were significant in being breakout plays for the Redskins.
Offensively, I thought we had real good balance. I thought that we maneuvered in and out of formations. We protected the passer well. Again, Eli was very good, very accurate. Did an outstanding job distributing the ball, had the three touchdowns, had no interceptions. I thought some of the guys that were called upon, for example, Will Beatty played well at the right tackle spot last night. Did a very nice job, as good as without being recognized and I always look at that as being a plus. The other one was Boothe. Kevin Boothe played well when he had to come in for Rich (Seubert). He did a very nice job. He pulled, he did a lot of good things. And of course, he was playing against (Albert) Haynesworth the majority of the evening, as well.
I thought that on defense, our two young corners, Kevin Dockery and Bruce Johnson, both really did a nice job when called upon. Terrell (Thomas) had a very, very good game. I thought that Mathias (Kiwanuka) had a very, his energetic, normal game. He did a good job with regard to that. We got some pressures out of individuals. Osi (Umenyiora) had a big sack. Tuck had one with the ball on the ground and unfortunately we didn't have someone right there on top of the ball. Cofield and Fred Robbins, so we had a good combination and a good mix.
I thought that when we came with pressure last night, what was a little different was we did bring it with force and we were faster in attacking. We did cause issues with regard to the quarterback having to get rid of the ball faster than perhaps what he would have planned. The numbers not withstanding, we had an outstanding third down night. Keeping the ball offensively with a very high percentage. Game started with them not having that type of a night, but they did rally back. They did rally back to be 42 percent on third-down themselves. We were three-for-four, as I mentioned last night, in the green zone which really contributed. Three-for-three in goal-to-go situations and finished off drives that we had to. We made the big interception before the half which kept them out of the end zone which was a big play as well. Pleased with a win in the division against a team that had been playing very, very well and we move forward.
Q. Has the league informed you of anything regarding Brandon Jacobs in the scuffle/fight?
A. No, no, I haven't seen anything yet. No.
Q. Do you anticipate anything?
A. I don't make those calls. I am not going to speculate on that. As I said last night, the play was on the other side of the field. Quite frankly, I didn't see a whole lot of the play. Many people rallied over there, got around it, which is something that we don't want. We specifically preach against that, anything of that nature that would hurt the team. Which would put us in a bad situation. The penalty did help us. It was a third down sack. We would have had to punt the ball. We did get the first down after the penalty was assessed and we were able to take the ball in and score on that drive. But, by and large, you get involved in those types of things and there are repercussions, there are penalties, it does not help your team at all.
Q. Jacobs said that he is going to the dentist. Have you heard anything about that?
A. He got what now?
Q. A tooth issue?
A. I am not sure about that. I don't really know much about that one.
Q. Can you talk about the unpredictability of your team and the league in this season? Many of the games this past weekend, for instance, did not got as many probably expected. Does it seem a little more strange this year?
A. I'd rather stick with the constant struggle to be as good as you can be. I think you look around the league and see things that happen because of the nature of the league. There is great parity and any team is capable of beating another team on any given weekend. I think you look at two weeks ago, spotting the Eagles 14 points and doing it in such a way that doesn't help your team to win, and you understand how games are lost. Games are lost in this league many times, rather than won. I think when you turn the ball over you give the other team momentum and give them more opportunities than they would normally have. I think when you cap that with outstanding personnel, people who have the ability to strike quickly, you put yourself in jeopardy. I think much has been said about people downgrading the NFC East this year. I think you look at Dallas going into New Orleans and look at the year that Philadelphia is having and so on and so forth. At this point in time, it is very difficult to say that. This is a long season. There are ups and downs. There are injuries. You would love to be able to stay at a high level all the time. But, it really doesn't happen that way. I think anybody that has been around this league understands what I am saying.
Q. A lot of your players last night had a familiar refrain talking about their delight in proving people wrong. Obviously that worked well for them a couple years ago. Do you think that is just a place where they are comfortable and do you have an idea of why they are so comfortable when everybody is against them?
A. I don't think it is anything that is unique to our team. I think if you follow the Patriots all those years that they were winning Super Bowls, there was something to that effect being established, as well. I just think that it is a rallying point. It's just another form of motivation. It's not unexpected. When you don't accomplish what you want to accomplish, naturally you are criticized for it. That, plus the fact that you want to strive to be the best you can be. When you lay all these things out, what has to be improved upon, what has to be accomplished, etc. If you do come off a disappointment, hopefully your team will bind together and utilize whatever it takes to put itself in a position in the right frame of mind to go forth to play against the next opponent and have a chance to win.
Q. Barry Cofield was talking about Bill Sheridan. He said that people need to give him a little slack, that even coordinators are rookies who have a learning curve. Do you think that is a fair assessment and how do you think his learning curve improved last night?
A. I think our defense played well and our coaches worked their tails off to get it the way it turned out last night. I give a lot of credit to our defensive staff, to Bill Sheridan and his staff. We will just go from there.
Q. Injury status of Hakeem Nicks and Rich Seubert?
A. I don't know any of that until we get going tomorrow, to be honest before you know it. We do have a scheduled jog-through tomorrow afternoon. An introduction of first and second down with regard to Carolina. These things are going to take a while. We've got some guys who that sore and banged up, but who is going to be able to practice and who isn't. We are going to have to give it that extra day and since we do have the jog-through, there probably won't be an awful lot said until maybe we start into Thursday.
Q. What about Webster, McKenzie, and Ross said he was going for an MRI today?
A. Yeah, well, we'll see. Those guys did not play so they've had the benefit of continuing to get treatment and fight their way back. Hopefully they will be in a position where they can contribute this week.
Q. Was there something going on with Boley last night?
A. I think he probably got stung and someone was coming in off the sideline and he just went right back in there.
Q. Last night's win makes these last couple weeks very meaningful here. What does it mean to just have your season right in front of you here as you go down the stretch?
A. It has pretty much been that way for quite some time. I was glad to see that our players responded last night and naturally you are going to have to continue to do that. But you are right. It's been in front of us and we have had an awful lot to say about what happens going forward. That is basically the way you would like to have it.
Q. You talk about all three phases playing well last night and you got that against Dallas. How important is getting the complete team to play together moving forward? How do you try and take what you did last night and carry it over?
A. You continue to stress it and you can prove to them how critical it was. You take the Jeff Feagles punt, the first punt that was long and out of bounds on the sideline with no chance to be returned. You take the three tackles inside the 20-yard line for our kickoff coverage team. You take the kickoff return which was good. You take the punt return which gave us the chance to have really good field position. Look at what our defense did in terms of, I think Washington punted four times, but we did have the turnovers. When you add that together it does give you a chance to have the ball in better field position, certainly in more opportunities than you would normally get. It is something that you really thrive on. When your defense, I think over the last six weeks, when the defensive team scores in the National Football League, I think their record is 15-0. So to have your defense score, to have your special teams score, to be in position to utilize those scores as well, gives you a great chance to win. All of these things stack up to prove once again that it's a team. It's about team and it's about contributing in all aspects and stepping on the field and being at your very best. I think there is plenty of evidence about that.
Q. Sometimes when things aren't going well for a team there can be factions in the locker room. How much effort did you put in keeping the team psychologically together?
A. We work on that from the very beginning. It is not something that only happens at certain times. We do spend an awful lot of time talking about the team concept and about the fact that you can take the name off the back of the jersey and the team is the most important aspect of it. No individual is more important than the team. The fact that you win and lose as a team and you can have one individual who is not performing at the highest level and you end up with something disappointing happening. So we do spend a lot of time on that. We do spend a lot of time on the idea of winning and losing together. That's the basis of the game. We certainly did talk about it last week but we talk about it pretty much every week.
Q. Last week your players were unanimous in saying that the Redskins were playing very well lately. Carolina was very impressive this past weekend. How much easier does that make it to sell that job?
A. There isn't any need to sell it. We all, as you were, I'm sure you were sitting in the hotel room and turned it on just as we did. We finished our night meetings and then we went upstairs and the Sunday Night Football thing. They played very well and were very impressive. Anybody that saw it and our players are certainly going to see it over and over. They had to be impressed by it. Very physical defensively, offensively, special teams, the running game, the young quarterback Moore making plays. There was an awful lot to look at. As I said last week, people, it's on tape. There isn't anything that you have to make up. There it is right for the players to see. It was there versus Washington and it is certainly there versus Carolina.
Q. In the past when it came down to the end of the season each year you just had to win to get in. This year you can win and still not get in. Is there any different feeling there?
A. No. We just take them one at a time. We try to do the best we can with our circumstance and then we'll have to see what happens. We just have to win. We have to win games. We have to win.