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Defense Must Maintain Gaps, Gray Says

Every week, chats with a Redskins coach about a hot topic. This week: secondary-cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray on the upcoming Vikings game:

"First, you have to stop the Vikings' running game--obviously it's really good with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. There's a reason why they're No. 1 in the NFL rushing the ball. They have two really good running backs rushing the ball.

"You saw how good they are the other night--it was a busted play and [Peterson] ended up running 10 yards for a touchdown. He can do so much that you can't teach.

"So the thing you have to do is be disciplined, be in your gap, and make sure that you don't get lazy, because if you get lazy then he has enough speed to turn the corner on you. And you won't catch him. The receivers block downfield, the linemen cut downfield, and they do everything they can to get him going.

"You have a really good rookie at running back, and then you have another running back in Taylor that you tend to forget about. In the Vikings' game against the 49ers, you see him go 84 yards, and then he takes a screen pass for 50 yards. A lot of guys forget about the second back, but we don't.

"They have a good young quarterback in Tarvaris Jackson who knows how to handle the game. He's growing, and they're not putting too much on his plate. They're not asking him to win a game by himself.

"It's a big game for Fred Smoot, and I'm sure he'll be real excited to play back in Minnesota. The thing that he has to do is use the strengths that he has, like using what he knows about them from when he faced against them in practice. And then you can't get so high that you hyperventilate and you miss plays.

"Fred still has some room to improve. He has overcome injuries. He practiced all last week, and then he went out there and played pretty good against Plaxico Burress [of the Giants]. I think he's competing very well, just like when he was here the first time."

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