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Transcript: Mike Smith Post-Practice Interview

Posted Oct 4, 2012

After watching film of Washington's offense, head coach Mike Smith says he's impressed with the Redskins' rushing attack

On the injury report:

“We still have two out of practice today. That was TE Michael Palmer and FB Lousaka Polite. We had two guys that were out last week, RB Antone Smith and CB Chris Owens were limited participants today. We anticipate that they’ll be full participants in practice tomorrow. Then we had (DT Jonathan) Babineaux who was out a little bit last week, we had him limited today. C Todd McClure was limited today with a chest, S William Moore with a hip, LB Stephen Nicolas with a thigh, and WR Julio Jones was full participation with his hand.”

On what is unique about the Redskins rushing attack:

“Coach Shanahan has always had an offense that can run the ball extremely well. They have very good zone blocking schemes. Coach Shanahan when he was at Denver probably had the best running attacks year in and year out with their zone blocking schemes. They’re doing that and with the added element of a quarterback that can run the spread option, they’re running some true triple option, so it’s something like last week that will cause issues with defenses. They are rushing for about 187 yards a game. They have a very potent rushing attack, and it has a lot to do with what Coach Shanahan believes in, and the addition of the quarterback this year running the option.”

On Washington doing similar things to what Carolina had success with last week:

“I’m sure they’ll study the film and look at how Carolina was successful. I know that they’ve been doing some things very well through the first four games. We’re going to make sure that we’ve shored up the issues we had in giving up 200 yards rushing last week, that’s for sure. Then put our best foot forward in terms of preparing ourselves for this offense even though it’s similar there are a lot of differences in what they do.”

On Washington RB Alfred Morris:

“He’s been very impressive. Coach Shanahan has had a long history of not having top draft picks run the ball extremely well for him. I believe he was a late draft pick out of Florida Atlantic. He’s 222 pounds. Not super speed but he runs very well behind his pads. He’s that one cut guy that zone blocking is designed for. He does a very nice job of one cut and he turns his shoulders north south when he gets in the secondary it’s difficult to bring down. I’ve been very impressed with him.”

On how DE Kroy Bierman has played so far this year:

“Kroy has got a tough duty every week. When he sees how much he’s in the rotation defensively he’s getting a lot of snaps there, but he’s one of our best special team players. Kroy does a good job with us on teams. He’s on the big four, so he’s on both coverage and return units. Sometimes we have to rest him late in the ball game after he’s covered kicks, but I think he’s done a really nice job. His production hasn’t had the sack production, but he’s done a nice job pressuring the quarterback.”

On key to stopping the Redskins zone running game:

“You have to stay on your feet, and you’ve got to make sure that you attack their gap. All they’re looking for is one guy to be out of their gap. What you like to have is when you’re looking at it defensively, you want to see your color jersey, their color jersey, your color jersey, their color jersey. When you see two of their jersey’s together we have got a problem. They’re going to have an opportunity now with two color jersey and we don’t have one between them, that’s the hole they’re going to run through.”

On what’s changed in the game for rookie quarterbacks to have success:

“I think that when you play a young quarterback, you first have to identify what their strengths are and what they do well. Then you just try and design your game plan to their strengths and give them an opportunity to be successful. When they’re successful you can add to it. I’m sure there is more to it in the playbook for the Redskins. I’m sure we’ll see some of it this week. He’s played very well through the first four weeks. He’s kind of taken everybody by storm in terms of his passer rating. He’s got a 103 passer rating. He’s throwing the ball very well. Everyone talks about his ability to run. He’s a 4.35 guy at the combine. He runs extremely well.”

On how he’s different from QB Cam Newton:

“He’s not nearly as big as Cam. Cam is 6’5” and this guys is 6’2.5” in that range, 215. He’s faster on the clock if you go by their 40-yard dashes. I think they both have a very strong arm. He can throw the deep ball.”

On the open competition at the nickel spot with CB Chris Owens back:

“We’re going to split the reps in practice this week. Unfortunately, he’s missed some time. We’ve had an opportunity to get (CB) Robert (McClain) some snaps, and we’re going to make that decision based on how those guys practice. I’m sure both will probably participate in the game. We’ve got competition. We want to keep that competition going all year long. When a guy has an opportunity to step in and play we want him to do his best, and that’s what Robert did. Now, we’ll make an evaluation of what happens in practice this week.”

On how both of them could play the nickel spot in the game:

“It would depend. It’s early in the week, and it’s a clear determination in which direction we want to go as a coaching staff we’ll make that determination. If not, we could use them both. They’ll both be on the 46-man roster.”

On gaining the intensity that the defense had in the first three games:

“We have got to tackle better than we did in the ball game the other day. That’s probably the first thing. Again, you’re facing a completely different type of offense last week than you were in the first three games of the season. Your game plan has to be a little bit different. You can’t be as offensive as you want to be facing certain types of offenses. We’ve got to make sure we get them in third down. That’s when you can be offensive. You don’t want to have drives like we had last week, not to rehash it. There were a number of drives that one of the scoring drives didn’t have a third down and then the other two scoring drives had one third down and both of them were touchdowns. You want to get your opponent to third down and not give up first downs on first down or second down.”

On the Redskins defense with all the injuries that they’ve had:

“They’ve had some injuries just like every team has to go through that. I’ve been impressed with what they do. It’s a very multiple scheme. Coach Haslett is from the Dick Lebeau tree and Dom Capers. It’s going to be an issue for you in terms of identification because they’re going to do a lot of different things. Not only coverage-wise but they do a good job pressuring. I think they have a very stout defensive front. London Fletcher is a very unique guy to be playing as long as he has. He’s the leader of their defense. He gets them in the right places.”

On spending time in Hawaii with CB DeAngelo Hall and making amends:

“DeAngelo and I had a great time in Hawaii. I had an opportunity to meet his family and to hang out with them. We had a good time. We went out there and won, he got the MVP, we got the winners share for the game. Got to help the expenses, we had a great time. He’s a darn good football player. The thing you worry about is his ability to make plays on the ball. When he makes plays on the ball he makes something happen with it. I believe he has 36 interceptions and I think his average is 20 per return when he touches the ball on interceptions. We have to know where he is on the field.”

On having games you expect to be high scoring and is this one of them:

“I think you’ll see in the NFL this year that the trend right now through the first four weeks is that scoring is up. I think there will be ebbs and flows through the season, but the offenses have been doing a nice job moving the ball. Coaches on the defensive side of the ball will catch up for a couple of weeks and it’ll go back and forth. When we get to the end of the season it’ll be very similar to the previous years.”


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