Q: Opening comments: ML:
As I said on Monday, there is an opportunity for some of the guys who haven't played in a few weeks to have an opportunity to play this week. Chinedum (Ndukwe) and David Jones. We'll move forward with a couple of guys in the secondary. I'm not quite sure where Ben Utecht will be, but we'll see as we go.
Taking a look at the Redskins, they've been a big physical team, and Clinton Portis, who's up the league stats in rushing, has done a fine job running the football. Jason Campbell has done a very good job of managing the game and getting the football down the field. They've got a fine receiver in Santana Moss, and the young guys on the other side. So they're an explosive group offensively. Chris Cooley, their tight end, is one of the better receivers at that position.
Defensively, they're aggressive. They attack you. They play some man coverage stuff in the back end and mix it in with their two-deep schemes. They're going to try to pressure and add to their rush with the guys hugging the back. You've got to be buttoned up protection-wise. So they're a good, well-rounded team, obviously still fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC East or as a Wild Card.
Q: Does the factor that they're in a playoff race matter to you guys?ML:
We've got to know it's going to be a slugfest. It's going to be a 60-minute game. I think that's important. They play a physical style of football in that division, similar to what we play, I believe, in ours. And so we know it's going to be a physical football game, and all hands on deck, be ready to go.
Q: You've gone toe-to-toe with the teams in the NFC East:ML:
What's in the past is in the past. This is a new week and a new challenge. It's one at home, and hopefully our fans will be out and have a great time. It's going to be a great day, loud. The noise affected (the Redskins) a lot last week in Baltimore. And that's important, that we have the home field advantage and keep the home field advantage.
Q: How much have (Nate) Livings and (Anthony) Collins developed, and what development do they need to continue?ML:
Well, you know, the development comes as you play. You make adjustments and move on. But they need to be on point and have an idea and an understanding of how things change, and schematics and so forth. It's really been a good evaluation of them for the past two or three weeks, but you've got a few more weeks to go.
Q: What do you like about Mike Doss, and what do you expect out of him?ML:
What I like about Mike is his eagerness and his athleticism. He's been productive in the NFL. We spent a lot of time with Mike prior to him coming out in the draft. We're very familiar with him. In fact, we had a lot of contact with him recently from Columbus. Hopefully this will be a good spot for him to land, a good opportunity for him for the future, to compete for a spot on the roster and to compete to be a starting player. He can play the football in the air. He's got to prove he can handle the physical part of the game, the tackling and things like that that you have to do in the secondary to be productive in the NFL.
Q: Is this (Mike Doss) move something for next year?ML:
It's kind of twofold. It helps us I think now, hopefully. And as much as he can get in and learn. It's new for him, different than what we had with Chris Crocker, who was already familiar with Mike Zimmer's terminology. It'll be a little harder transition for Mike to make than what Chris had to make.
Q: How does Mike Zimmer's experience in the NFC East help you against those teams?ML:
Defensively, his knowledge of the offenses of these teams has been good. He coached a lot of times against the Eagles. Really, the Giants have changed a little bit, because he was gone from there a year ago. But his knowledge has been real helpful.
Q: Rashad Jeanty won the Ed Block Courage award. He's played through a lot of injuries: ML:
His story of getting to the NFL is inspiring, and then there are the things he's gone through since he's been here as far as overcoming injuries. He's had different ailments and injuries, missed some time, but he's always fought back through it. Right now, he's got a foot that's sore. Day in and day out, he always finds a way. We're able to rest him on Wednesdays, get him some work on Thursday, then tail him off through Friday, and he rolls out there Sunday and fights through it. We didn't know how many snaps he could get in last week against Indy because of how they'd be personnel-wise, and he ended up playing a lot of snaps. He kind of re-injured himself on the second play and just kept playing. So I think for his teammates to honor him with that award is outstanding, and I know he feels very good about it. It's gratifying.
Q: Do you think his (Jeanty) hardscrabble background affects why he plays through so many injuries?ML:
It means a lot to him. I would say he understands the story of Wally Pipp pretty well. He doesn't want to miss a down. He doesn't want to give his spot up to somebody else and not be able to get it back, so he fights to stay out there.
Q: From a football perspective, between the lines, how has he developed as a player?ML:
This year has been just a tremendous development in him coverage-wise, understanding the nuances and intricacies of coverage and so forth. He studies. If I ask a question about tendencies or things like that in a team meeting, I can call upon him and know I'm going to get the right answer. As I sit in the back of the defensive room, I know that when Mike (Zimmer) asks a question, he's got the answer. So he's been a true pro. He's been tough physically. Now I think the next step for him is to become comfortable enough to become an effective rusher and blitzer, when you're making an impact on the game that way from the linebacker spot.
Q: He was known for pass-rushing in college and the CFL, right?ML:
Yeah, that's the way they thought of him in Canada, as a pass-rushing kind of guy. We're still trying to reap the benefit of that here. And they didn't think of him as a physical player in Canada, which is ironic. We have to put the whole package together.
Q: How much difference would it make to finish 4-11-1 as opposed to 1-14-1?ML:
Well, it makes a huge difference to finish the season on an 'up' note.
Q: Do you think it gives players a better feeling heading into the offseason?ML:
Well, it gives them a sense of accomplishment. They've worked hard, and you remember what's last. You don't remember those other parts. Players certainly don't remember.