On Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner:
"He's throwing the ball very confidently. He's trying to put that team on his shoulders. He has a talented wide receiver corps [to whom] he's throwing the ball down the field. It's a lot like some of the run-and-shoot teams we've seen in the league. It's not that they won't try to run the ball, but they soften you up by throwing the football. He's got a really good, young receiver corps that will go up and get the ball. [They're] a little bit different than the group we faced last week [in St. Louis]. They're very physical. When there is a tussle or physical battle for the ball at the point of attack, those young receivers have been coming down with it. It's been very impressive to see them on film. I really hadn't studied them a lot until coming up on this ballgame. We spent some time in the off-season taking a look at our opponents, but they're playing at a better pace right now -- at least in the receiver corps they are."
On Cardinals wide receivers' ability to run with the football after the catch:
"[They're] very dangerous. Anquan Boldin, that's his specialty. Kurt [Warner] recognizes that, gets the ball out of his hand, and gives [Boldin] space to run the football. Good quarterbacks do things with their receivers by getting the receiver the ball so that he has his pads low, has a burst of steam, or is able to run into the catch -- as opposed to laying them out or hanging them out to dry. Kurt is doing a good job with that. He is giving [Boldin] some running room and getting the ball to him quickly so that he can get his pads down and run. Last week, [Boldin had] one of the better runs that you've seen in the NFL for quite a while. Earlier in the year, he had one against Carolina that was just as impressive."
On whether Cardinals QB Kurt Warner brings back bad memories for him:
"I've gone against him so many times. The Super Bowl [between St. Louis and Tennessee] was a great day for him, a tough day for us. We had him against the Giants last year and also against the Rams a couple of other times. He's playing very well. He has been able to fit into many different varieties of offense. He gives them a chance to be in every ballgame right now."
On whether Cardinals QB Kurt Warner has improved the Redskins faced him last season as a member of the Giants:
"His complement of receivers is better at this time this year than they were last year when he was playing with the Giants. I think the Giants have upgraded that area tremendously now. He has a good, talented, young receiving corps that he's obviously doing a good job of being a mentor for. He's helping them and they're helping him out."
On the amount of time young players need to learn how to watch film:
"For a long time, especially for young players when they come in -- unless they've had a background at the collegiate level where they have someone take them under their wing and teach them how to watch film -- that is a big learning curve for them. With the 20-hour rule that's now in college football, there's not a lot of extra time that [coaches] can hang around to be around those guys. When we get them here -- I think it's great now that we can finally get them here around May 15 or 16 -- you have to teach them how to watch film. They just want to watch the ball. They're just fans when they first start watching that film. But what are they looking at to make themselves better or more comfortable at playing their position during the game? Good coaches are good teachers. Meetings are extensions of the practice field, which is an extension of the game field. I've got a real talented staff that way -- in trying to focus in and teach guys exactly what they're supposed to do [when] watching film-- so that when they do spend time on their own, away from us, [they're prepared to watch film]. Good pros do that now. The best players in the NFL spend a lot of time away from the coaching staff-- even away from their peers--on making sure that they have every single thing ironed out the way they [need to] to know they can play fast and confidently. We've got to do a good job of making sure that they're looking at the right things. I've been real impressed with our staff, with how we do that. We present things very simple to the guys, but we give them a lot of tips of where their eyes are supposed to be when they're watching film so that it will carry over to gameday."
On younger players, such as Ryan Clark, who learn to watch film faster than their peers:
"Some guys process things faster than others. Some guys take to it better than others. Usually, on every team that I've been on, there have been two, three, or four guys that have kind of been the coaches on the field. Ryan [Clark] is one of those here. Lemar Marshall has become one of those here. There are several other ones. We have some great ones on the defensive line. Our defensive line as a whole is as smart as any group I've been a part of. Usually, on every unit, there is a catalyst on the football team. I know that Sean Taylor likes playing when Ryan is out there because Ryan has the ability to get all 11 guys lined up. He is sharp in that way."
On Marcus Washington's value to the Redskins:
"Without Marcus Washington, we would be a very average to mediocre defense. We've had our times this year of showing some times of dominance. Marcus Washington is a very pivotal part of that. I laugh and joke with him now all of the time [about how] I didn't go down to work him out when he was coming out of college because I thought he was a project. I was tired of projects. I didn't want a guy that, all of a sudden, was going to have to 'move up' because he wasn't a defensive end, was a five-technique in college, and was another project linebacker. I'm so happy that I get a chance to coach him a second time around. The Colts staff did a great job of giving him some tools to learn from. He is a pro's pro. I don't know what he is on, but I would like to have a little bit of that. He has never, ever had a bad day. I've never been around him when he's had a down day or a bad day. It really kind of carries over to his teammates. If he was sad some day, his teammates would be distraught, not knowing how to deal with him. He's always upbeat, always loves to practice, and comes knowing that he is going to give you a full day's work for a full day's pay."
On how Marcus Washington's performance this season compares to last season:
"He has improved. A lot of the parts of his game have improved. One of the things you will see us doing even now is that we've done a better job as a staff of making sure that we're putting him in some situations that can impact rushing the passer. If anything, I've probably been a little bit negligent in using him because we've had so many areas that we've had to patch up. When we've battled through some of our injuries, I've asked him to do so many different things. In the last couple of weeks, he's been getting right back to the basics and we've been pressuring quite a bit. He'll be a big part of this game, too."
On Marcus Washington's coverage ability:
"There is a part of the game that everyone, me included, criticized him for when he first came here. If you had to pick something, you said, 'He's probably deficient in coverage.' He has improved so much. Anytime you mention anything to him about a weakness, he takes it personal and he doesn't like that fact. I laugh and joke now, but at the end of the off-season training, he had a little setback with his surgery. Basically, I was honest and said, 'You're not in as good of shape as you were last year.' It pissed him off. He didn't go home one single day before training camp. He was in that weight room, driving the strength coaches and other coaches nuts during the time off because I had the audacity to say that he wasn't in as good of shape as he was last year. Those are fun guys to coach."
On whether he is satisfied with the defense's performance this season:
"Unless we're shutting everyone out, no. We have done a good job of rallying the troops. [Considering] the guys that we've had to coach each week because of the injuries that we've battled through, we've given our team a chance to be competitive in every ballgame. Good defenses are measured that way in the NFL. Are you good enough to keep your team in the game? The two fastest ways to get beat in the NFL are to not be able to protect your quarterback, so that your quarterback just gets pounded by pass rush, or get beat over the top in coverage. If you can do both of those things, you're pretty much going to have a 60-minute battle. You're going to have a chance to be competitive throughout the whole part of the ballgame. We have done that. We've kept us competitive in a lot of ways. We would like to see some more big plays come our way. In the last two fourth quarters, we've had five takeaways. That's a positive sign. We've ranked up there near the top of the league in fumbles caused--that was a big priority for us in the off-season. We're not getting them recovered for whatever reason. We need to be able to recover more fumbles because we have caused quite a few of them. Absent of the big-play part of the defense, we've been really solid.
On the camaraderie of the defensive players:
That's a tribute to how hard those guys play. They bought into the staff. The fun part about this group of guys here--last year, that group was a special group; each year there is a different kind of chemistry that you have to get ready to use is that this coaching staff doesn't have to sell a lot. [Players] come in wanting to learn and believing in us and each other. Now, you have to go out and execute. We would all like for this to be a video game. It's not. There is a human element in every game. There is a missed tackle or two. There is a missed catch or two. Last week [against the Rams], we set a record since I've been here for fewest missed tackles. We only had nine yards of YAC--yards after contact. We had no explosive plays [against us]. Those were two really good things that this defense needed to have. Now, we're going to have some tougher opponents [in the Cardinals] this week. We're going to have to see if we can match that. That's a challenge that we try to do every week. We try to get the guys to have some individual and team goals going into every week. [One of those goals] is that we have to go out and tackle with the same type of perfection that we did last week."