Opening Statement: “Marques Colston did not practice. Jabari Greer, David Hawthorne, Curtis Lofton were limited and Adrian Arrington was full. Today, we practiced our normal Wednesday practice where we go first and second down. Everything went well. We were practicing fast, they looked fresh. It was a good day.”
What about Darren Sproles?
“Darren is fine.”
What is Marques Colston’s injury?
What are your thoughts on if they will play on Sunday?
“It appears that all of these guys should be ready.”
People in the community say that football and the Saints serve as a good distraction from damage caused by Hurricane Isaac. What does that responsibility feel like for you guys?
“More than a responsibility, it’s an honor to be honest. You hear Drew Brees and our leaders on our football team and they feel they are part of the community. The community feels part of us. It is just a feel that you are doing something for your family member. Just as you’ll play for your father and mother who raised you, they feel the same way about the community as in ‘this is just another family member that needs help.’ If this is what helps them, getting excited about a football game, then that is what we’ll do.”
How is your preparation different for a player like Robert Griffin III with no game film from the NFL?
“You can go by what you have seen in college and what you have seen in the preseason. That third preseason game is always important because most teams will play to an ‘A’ game. They will try to play three quarters. Anytime there is a new quarterback or a new player, a team wants to play him as much as they can in the preseason to get them used to playing at the NFL speed and that is what they have done. He has gotten plenty of reps, so I think there is plenty to look at.”
How much from the preseason do you think you will actually see on Sunday?
“I am sure they ran their base plays in the preseason. It’s their scheme they are going to run. They will have plenty of additional things that they will add to their gameplan, I’m sure, they haven’t shown. A lot of people do it. He (Griffin) is a talented guy. He took Baylor and made them into a powerhouse which they hadn’t been in a long time. When one guy can really change your program, and he has shown to do it in college, there is a good chance he could it in the National Football League.”
What is more important in defending him, containment or pressure?
“When you get a guy that can really run, it is important that you contain him, that you keep him within the realms of the defense where you can corner him in and not let him out and run in space. You give a guy like that, that’s that fast and elusive a lot of space, that is a problem.”
If Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma were able to return, would they play Sunday?
“I think those are two individual situations. Will Smith has been practicing all along until this week. I am sure he would be ready. Vilma, we’d just have to judge what kind of shape and what kind of knowledge he has of what’s going on.”
With five running backs on the roster, is there a script in place to utilize as many weapons as possible or is it for situational substitutions?
“When we are designing our offense, it is to get guys involved in the playmaking situations. With each one of those guys, they have what they do best. They cross what they do. If you look at (Darren) Sproles, he can run the ball, but he is a great receiver. If you look at (Travaris) Cadet, he is great receiver and he can run the ball. You look at (Mark) Ingram, he can run the ball but he is a good receiver. All of those guys can do a lot of things which is a benefit to us. We try to get them in. If they are dressed, we are going to use them in some fashion.”
Are you nervous or excited for your first contest in a head coaching role?
“I am excited. Like I said two days ago, it is a huge opportunity for our team to show the resiliency that we have and to show that all of the things we have done over these six years aren’t for waste. We have studied the way that things should go. Drew Brees knows, he has seen it all. Zach Strief has been here the entire time. There are a lot of players that have been here long enough to know what it is supposed to look like and know how we practice. We practiced today like it is supposed to be.”
Did you learn anything in your transition to this role in preseason that you’ll need to do differently against the Redskins?
“The biggest thing that I learned was the timing and how I am going to be able to talk to the offensive line after an offensive drive. I can’t spend a lot of time but I never did anyways. I think, when you are the coach of a position, you prepare your position for the game and the things that could happen. If you have an intelligent group like I have, they solve all of the problems by themselves and want to know ‘is it A or B? Do I solve it with answer A or B’ and all I have to do is go over there give them a quick ‘B would be better’ and they will be good. They’re that experienced. With Frank Smith, he will be able to do that as well. It (preseason transition) allowed me (to feel out) the timing, how long do I spend over there and then come back to the sideline.”
With Adrian Arrington missing most of the preseason, will there be an effect?
“There shouldn’t be. He had so much offseason work and has been here long enough. He knows the plays. Obviously, there are tweaks every week that we do within the scheme. He knows the system. As long as he is up to speed, he should be fine as far as running and doing the things that he needs to do.”
How do you weigh which running backs to play going in to this game?
“It depends. There are a lot of factors in who dresses for a game. One of the biggest factors is special teams. If you are active on special teams, whether it is a returner, a coverage unit, or a punt protector, you have a chance to dress. You have more opportunities. When it comes down to offense, defense and whether you are on the line to dress or not, a lot of times it is special teams.”
How important is this game for yourself and for the team to set the pace for the rest of the season?
“It is one of 16 to be honest. It is one of 16. We all want to win this game, obviously, that is why we play but it is not going to make or break the season one way or another. We are preparing to win. The Redskins are preparing to win. We are going to go out and play the game. It is one of sixteen.”
When you signed Darren Sproles last year, did you anticipate the number of touches he received last season? Do you envision using him in a similar fashion this year?
“As many times as we can get Darren Sproles the football, it makes us a lot smarter. Yes, we will get Darren Sproles the ball as many times as we can. Drew (Brees) had played with him in San Diego and knew how he was and who he was as a person. That told us a lot about what he would end up doing when he came here.”
Is it more important to be able to adjust on the fly defensively in this game?
“When you are running a defense, you have an assignment that you have to be successful with and as long as everyone is on their assignment then you will follow the plan. I don’t think that week in and week out that the variation is that great. Is there a difference between a quarterback that could take off running after he dropped back to pass? Yes. Is there is a difference between a quarterback that could possibly run a read option of sort that people are doing, wild-cat type, right now? Yes. Do we have to practice some of those things? Yes. It’s following the rules within the defense (that) will solve most problems.”
“As long as we are solid in our rules and what we do, everything will be fine.”
How do you feel about Ben Grubbs and how he fits in going into this game?
“Ben has done a nice job fitting in, just learning the nuances of our offense. He knows football, he is a smart guy. He is a strong guy and a good football player, obviously, with making the Pro Bowl last year. He is fitting in well with (Jermon) Bushrod and (Brian) de la Puente. They have gotten used to each other and I think they are ready now. Throughout the year, there is going to continue to be some things that come up and they will solve them and they’ll continue to get stronger and stronger as it goes. Our whole program is around getting better each day. At the end of the year, we need to be better than we are right now.”
Is there much difference between Grubbs and Carl Nicks?
“Any individual is going to be different. Whether it’s temperament, technique or size, there are going to be differences. It is just a case of fitting in the piece of the puzzle and getting them used to working in that. What’s different? There are a few things that are different, you couldn’t put this all on paper. They are becoming comfortable because they worked with each other.”
Are you expecting Marques Colston to practice tomorrow?
“His foot was sore and he should be fine tomorrow.”
What about Darren Sproles?
Sproles was there today, I didn’t list him
Talk about the Redskins front seven?
“This front seven is an excellent front seven to be honesty. The two edges rushers with (Brian) Orakpo and (Ryan) Kerrigan are very good passers and they have power in their moves. I believe that in any game, the faster you get open, the faster you better protection it. It’s the combination of a lot of things in pass protection. Not only the protectors, but it’s the routes, it’s the quarterback knowing where to go with the ball, which our guy is excellent with. Our receivers have been excellent getting open quickly. It is a challenge up front with these guys that we are going to be facing but it is a lot every week.”
Have you thought about the win or the loss showing up next to your name?
“I am beyond that to be honest, in my mind. What is important is that we show up, do our job and as a collective group, do the best we can. I think that will be good enough. I am sitting here worried about whether it is a win or a loss for me, it is a win or loss for our team. When we go back in the meeting room the next day, we all have to deal with the win or the loss. I bet if we win, it is not going to be as good as we hoped and vice-versa. I am not worried about labeling one way or the other, I am worried about what is in the best interest of the team.”
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