Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs spoke with Redskins.com this week about the play of the defense and assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams' schemes:
Q: Do you ever line up one-on-one against a specific receiver and cover him all game?
A: "Coach Williams doesn't really believe in that. He believes in his system. He's about each guy doing his job. There was just one time where I was matched up on one receiver, and that was last year against [Cincinnati's] Chad Johnson. Fred Smoot was nicked up a little bit in that game. Coach Williams just wants you to play the system. So I just line up on the left side and see what happens."
Q: It seems like this year there has been less blitzing from the secondary. Is that accurate?
A: "That's what we've been doing. We haven't been blitzing as much and we've been playing a lot more coverage. We've been playing a lot of zone on first and second down and then every now and then we'll spring a blitz on third down. Teams have been preparing for us differently, so we've been switching it up."
Q: Is the secondary blitz used now more as a surprise?
A: "Not anymore. They know it's coming now. We just have to be able to rush the base coverage and play coverage."
Q: How are teams playing the Redskins' defense differently this season?
A: "Our style is different. Teams expect us to blitz a little more, so they max protect. So we play more coverage. Gregg's smart. If he sees teams protecting a little bit more, he just backs off."
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being assigned to cover just one receiver?
A: "The advantage is, you have to be able to do it. The disadvantage is, you can see what happens when a matchup is tough. It's harder now because most teams have more than one option at wide receiver. The Raiders have Jerry Porter and Randy Moss. Offenses can always find a way to get a receiver off a corner when they want to. Offensive coordinators are real creative."
Q: Would you like to be assigned specifically to one player in this defense?
A: "I just do my job. I don't try to buck the system. We are in the top 10 in pass defense, just like last year. We were No. 1 in pass defense a few weeks ago. No one can argue the fact that we've given up a few big plays. But I'm not bucking the system. I believe in it."
Q: When you were growing up, did you ever go watch a game at RFK when the Redskins played there?
A: "Yeah. It was tough. I remember my family members getting into tussles with people in the stands because they were talking trash about my dad [who played for the Cowboys]. They would yell, 'Springs stinks.' I was about eight years old. But it was a loud stadium. Anytime you're a kid, you get to be so excited to be in an atmosphere like that."
Q: Is FedExField becoming a difficult place for opposing teams to play in?
A: "I hope so. Let's get a whole year under our belts before saying that. If we go 8-0 at home, then for sure, it's a difficult place for opposing teams to play. That's what we're trying turn it into."