Shawn Springs spoke with Redskins.com as the Redskins gear up for Sunday's season opener against Tampa Bay:
Q: What are your emotions heading into the season opener against Tampa Bay?
A: "Heading into this Sunday's season opener, I have the same emotions when I went into my first NFL game way back in 1997. I'm excited about the season. You can really feel the energy and enthusiasm here. I like playing at FedExField. It's been good to me so far, except when I played for Seattle--we lost a couple of times here."
Q: What has the atmosphere at Redskins Park been like this week?
A: "The atmosphere at Redskins Park this week was similar to how it was during offseason workouts and preseason. With Coach Gibbs, we go hard all the time. In the preseason, it really doesn't matter how well or how bad you play, because everyone's going to remember the first game and the rest of the season. So we've been working hard to come out and win our first game."
Q: How would you assess the defense right now?
A: "I like how our defense is shaping up. Coach [Gregg] Williams is going to create a lot of pressure. As a corner, you might be on an island one-on-one sometimes, but the thing is, with Coach Williams, the quarterback won't have all day to sit back and wait to throw the ball."
Q: How long do you think it will take for chemistry to form amongst the team?
A: "We've been practicing together since March, so even though there are a lot of new players, we're all familiar with each other. When I first came into the league, guys might go to one or two mini-camps. Now 98 percent of us are together in the offseason working out together and meeting together, so it makes the process of developing chemistry go much faster."
Q: What are your thoughts going up against Tampa Bay?
A: "Going up against Tampa, Jon Gruden's an excellent coach and he's going to put his wide receivers, Joey Galloway and Tim Brown, in the right situation to make plays. Preparation is the key. You just have to study their plays and understand what you're going to get with Gruden. Brad Johnson is an experienced quarterback. He's smart. You really have to stay aware and be on your Ps and Qs with him. As a defense, we'll have to be disciplined."
Q: What are your thoughts on Tampa Bay's defense?
A: "Tampa's defense is solid and our offense will have their work cut out for them. Obviously you have to give credit to Tampa's defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. He's a great coach and he's had a defense in the top 10 for several years. They may have lost Warren Sapp and John Lynch, but Tampa Bay is one of those teams that just keep reloading."