Here's five takeaways from Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry's Dec. 17, 2015, press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
1. Barry has been pleased with the continued progression of DeAngelo Hall.
Sure, Hall, at times, has made the transition from cornerback to safety look seamless, but Barry insists it's not as easy as it looks.
"A lot of times, guys just assume, 'Oh, he's a 12-year veteran. Oh, he's 31-years old.' There's a huge difference between playing out at corner and then moving inside and playing safety," Barry said. "It's no different than an outside backer moving to inside backer. It's a different world, you know? But I'm proud of him."
Just as he had in his prior 11 seasons, Hall started out at cornerback this season, but after a foot injury suffered in Week 3 derailed his time on the field, the team kicked the tires on a potential move to safety before once again reaching full health.
"I think when he was about 80 percent for a couple of weeks, I think the work that he was able to do before he was 100 percent back, we'd let him just go against the offense and play the service team safety, play the other team's safety on the look squad," Barry said. "I think those two weeks when he did that, I think that helped him."
Barry said that ideally position switches would happen during the offseason when they have more opportunities to get practice work in, but the Hall has had not gripes about the move.
"It's not something you want to do midway through the year, but he's been a pro about it," Barry said. "He's been very diligent. He's really worked his butt off and been a true professional. He's still got a long way to go, but he's making strides every week."
2. Barry likes Trent Murphy's approach to the game, and it's showing in his second season in Washington.
Using the classic "lunch pail" line, Barry says Murphy is someone who comes to Redskins Park every day looking to improve.
In recent weeks, Murphy has probably had the best stretch of his young career, recording sacks in back-to-back games.
His takedown of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler last Sunday resulted in a forced fumble that Murphy would recover.
A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy during the 2014 season.
"I'll tell you what, I know you see some of the pre-practice stuff, but I've been around a lot of guys that work hard, but you talk about just a lunch pail guy that comes to work every single day and works his tail off, really works at his craft," Barry said. "The only thing I can attribute it to is just his hard work and his diligence because he shows up every single day whether it's in the weight room, whether it's in the film room, obviously the practice field and working on every aspect of his game whether it's setting the edge in the run or pass rush working his hands, working his hips.
Barry added that "when a guy is that diligent and that dedicated to his craft, good things are going to eventually show for him."
"We called that the trifecta, not only getting the sack but getting the sack, causing a fumble and recovering it," Barry said of Murphy's sack on Cutler. "That was a big play for us and a big play in the first half."
3. Barry liked the defense's resilience against the Bears, but there were some teachable moments in the game.
Late in the game with the Redskins up just 24-21, quarterback Jay Cutler connected with Alshon Jeffery for a 50-yard bomb into Washington territory.
Barry's thought as they connected: "Oh my God."
"Getting into that drive, that two-minute drive, No. 6 [Jay Cutler] and No. 17 [Jeffery] are great players for them," Barry said. "It was a shame – we had talked about the route – we knew it was something that they liked. It was a shame that we gave that up. When I showed the players it on Tuesday when they came in, I used the word 'resilient' after the game."
The defense would hold the Bears to a 50-yard field goal attempt that wouldn't come close to going through the uprights.
"To finish the play like we did even though it was brutal that we gave up a 50-yard hit, but to come back and then go three-and-out and stop them, it was huge," Barry said. "Like I said, there's a big difference between kicking a 50-yard field goal in those conditions and kicking a 40-yard field goal. That's the difference between them missing it and them making it. But again, it's just kind of the makeup of our guys. No one flinches. They just keep playing and keep fighting, and they did and it worked out for us."
4. Bashaud Breeland's pass break up in the end zone on the Bears' last drive was huge.
On a 2nd-and-7 play from the Redskins' 32-yard line, the Bears tried their luck with the Cutler-Jeffery combination again.
But unlike their 50-yard connection, the Redskins forced an incompletion thanks to a fantastic play by Breeland.
Lined up to Cutler's left, Jeffery went deep searching for a possible game-winning touchdown.
But the coverage Breeland, who was stride for stride, had on Jeffery resulted in a pass breakup that prevented that would-be score.
"Well, I mean, the first thing I said, I said, 'Hey dude, I love PBUs but I really love interceptions,' Barry said with a smile. "But I think it was a great play on his part. It was, actually an equally great play by D-Gold [Dashon Goldson] with the range that he showed. [It] would have been great to obviously end it right there and get the interception, but you can't take away the fact that Bree went up and made a heck-of-a play on a guy [Alshon Jeffery] that's tough to cover down the field on fade balls. Another thing, Bree is just a guy that just loves football, loves working at it, loves working at his craft, and he's getting better every opportunity he gets."
5. The Bills' offense is loaded with talent.
A dual-threat quarterback is never easy to face, but the Bills have an equally shifty running back.
Under first-year head coach Rex Ryan, the team has former Virginia Tech star Tyrod Taylor playing quarterback and three-time Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy at running back.
Taylor has 71 carries for 371 yards and a touchdown – along with his 2,439 passing yards – while McCoy is close (866 yards) to recording the fifth 1,000-yard season of his seven-year career.
Of course, the Bills have 2014 first-round pick Sammy Watkins, too.
Watkins this season has 39 receptions for 716 yards and seven touchdowns.
"Shoot, No. 5 [Tyrod Taylor] is their third-leading rusher," Barry said. "I don't mean to be sarcastic or joke when I'm up here, it's a true fact in the National Football League you've got challenges every single week. It doesn't matter who you play. Every single week that other team's got guys. They've got No. 14 [Sammy Watkins]. They've got No. 25 [LeSean McCoy]. They've got No. 85 [Charles Clay]. They've got No. 5, who I think he's thrown two picks since Week 2 or 3. So he's been really smart with the ball. When things do breakdown around him – when the coverage is great and things break down around him – he can stick his foot in the ground and run. Absolutely, something from day one that we talk about and we've got to be conscious of because they've got weapons all over the place but especially the guy that handles the ball on every play. He's playing really good football for them right now."