On the status of Shawn Springs (CB, #24):
"It'll be down to the wire. We'll work him out, just because he's a vet who has been in a lot of big games before. We've tried to rest him as much as we can, but we feel good about the guys that have practiced all week long. If we can get him, that's a bonus."
On the status of Carlos Rogers (CB, #22):
"Carlos has had a very good week of practice."
On finishing the season with a 1 in takeaway ratio:
"That's huge. I don't know all the numbers, I haven't paid attention to that, but going down the stretch, I think [Defensive Assistant-Special Teams] Kirk Olivadotti told me that during this five-game winning streak, we've had 17 sacks and 17 takeaways during that stretch. That's the reason, the magic formula, for winning these five games in a row. When we have taken the ball away, we've also provided a short field, and I think our offense is number one in the National Football League right now on scoring on short fields, with everybody else in the league being a distant second. Those are the ways you're able to put points on the board, because it's hard with some of the better defenses in the league. We're getting ready to go against the number one defense in the NFL, so we've got to do our part on defense to take that ball away from them."
On his feelings on the defense's performance in the Week 10 loss at Tampa Bay:
"The two quickest ways to get beat in the National Football League are not protecting your quarterback, and let him get pounded when you're trying to throw the football, or get beat over the top in coverage, and we got beat over the top in coverage three or four times in that ballgame. I still have a sour taste in my mouth about that."
On the defense's turnovers coming in bunches:
"We created a bunch of them earlier in the year but we didn't come up with them. Meaning that earlier in the year, we had the same number of opportunities we have right now but we didn't catch the football. We weren't catching the ball and sometimes there's a little bit of an experience there, but for the most part on the fumbles, you can be unlucky in some cases on those things, when the ball's not bouncing your way. Again, one of the top priorities we had coming into the offseason was creating more fumbles, and getting them recovered. We rank up there pretty high in caused fumbles, but we didn't do a good job recovering them until late."
On the job that Defensive Coordinator-Defensive Line Coach Greg Blache has done:
"He's done a tremendous job on getting his guys healthy. He does a great job of how he keeps his finger on the pulse on the number of reps they take in practice, the number of reps they take in a ballgame, knowing that he's been in playoff hunts before, and knowing how we have to keep them fresh and we have to get them back healthy, and we did. We got all those guys back healthy, and once we got them back healthy, the plan is to let the big dogs hunt. I'm a superstitious cat anyway, and once that started going, I'm not going to break the trend. I'm going to make sure he sits in that easy chair as long as those big guys are playing the way they are. They have played very well, arguably Philip Daniels may be playing the best of his career right now."
On Coach Gibbs and his effect on the team:
"It's very good when guys know what their routine is, from a schedule point, and what their routine is, from what they can expect from their head coach. They understand that you're going to get the same Joe Gibbs every day. Once in a while, when you get a riled Coach Gibbs, there's an impact to that. The fact that he's been in a bunch of these type of games before, the fact that he has the best winning record in December in the history of the game. Our guys fed off of that, too. The credibility aspect of some coaches in the league fight, Joe Gibbs doesn't fight that. He's got credibility and people listen to you, and it was calming throughout that tough time. He kept on telling these guys, you know what, maybe these three losses are for a reason, maybe we're building stronger character, maybe we're building stronger chemistry,' and you know what, he was right."
On the value of Coach Gibbs's calming presence as an asset:
"It's huge, because confidence comes from your leadership. We've got good, strong leaders on this football team that have been in big games before that's important too, but when the top of your organization is in the Hall of Fame, and has been in so many of these type of games, that is very, very strong on spreading the confidence throughout your football team to make the plays you need to make down the stretch."
On having players like Sean Taylor (FS, #21) back after missing the Week 10 game:
"We're going to be a little bit stronger in that respect, we're going to be lighter in other areas, but stronger in some of the areas. We'll see how it matches up. The speed and the range that he possesses does help, but that doesn't mean he doesn't chase cars sometimes too. I'm on him for chasing his tail like a little dog at times, but he's played very well. There's two or three guys on this football team in the month of December that have really risen up and played. Sean Taylor, Marcus Washington (#53, LB), Philip Daniels (#93, DL), Cornelius Griffin (#96, DT), those four guys are playing as well as any four defensive players in the National Football League. There's no free safety that I'd rather have than Sean Taylor right now."
On how he prepares players differently than other defensive coordinators:
"One of the things that I would say that this staff does that would probably rank up there the highest is that they take great pride in being teachers, in presentations, in passing on the information to the people that are playing in the ball game. We have a real structured, organized format on how we present the information to the players. It is their responsibility then to process that information and be able to play the game. They'll never know as much as us, the coaching staff who spend 20 to 24 hours a day in here. But, the magic part of it is, how hard can we work and how detailed can we be, to get them to know as close to as much as we can because they play. On gameday, the coaches do a lot less than people give them credit for. I tease them all the time, the things that I do in the ballgame is screw up the substitutions, screw up the clock. We need to let them play, and how you let them play is making sure that you grind them throughout the course of the week. To some extent, there are guys that have played for me in other places and are here right now, they look at it like it's an advanced education. I want them to have a PhD in football. If you were to see us present, I'm real proud of the coaching staff here. I'm extremely proud of how they have improved as presenters and teachers since we've come together. We do a really good job in the detailed aspects of presenting the information."