The Washington Commanders have spent the last week preparing for their Week 1 matchup agains the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here is a list of the Top 10 quotes.
On if he thinks his team is ready for Week 1:
"Well, I'm excited to be honest with you, just because we're getting a lot of our pieces back. We've got a full complement of tight ends. We feel good about who all of our guards are. I'm excited. I mean, I'm fired up for who we can be. I like what we've seen so far, I thought today's practice was very spirited, had a good tempo, a lot of sharp crispness already, something that we hope to carry on as we practice the next couple of days and getting ready for Sunday."
On Week 1 and how it feels to coach in one:
"Kind of interesting because yeah, I think in all honesty, other than the pandemic year, this year going into it, this got the most questions, because we didn't have all of our offensive alignment up, ready to go. We didn't get to see all of our tight ends. We don't have all of our backs up this week. I mean, so I'm anxious to see what we're gonna look like. I'm anxious to see what that combination is gonna be. It's the same thing on defense. Going to miss a couple parts, but I'm anxious to see what we are, who we are, where we are. I mean, I really am. I think it's exciting. You get that pit in your stomach already where you wanna throw up. It's that anxiety, that anxiousness and it's crazy because that's something we can't control. And that's why, for me personally, I try not to get into it where we start thinking about what's going to come on Sunday. I always kind of refer to what Andy [Reid] used to say is don't play the game now, play the game on Sunday. So just trying to make sure we're focusing on what we're doing right now. And that's the preparation to preparation, to preparation."
On being the face of the new era for the Commanders:
"Think it's just cool. I think we talk about football, football, football, football, so you can lose sight of some of those things. But at the same time, I think it's cool to be involved in something new and that's what we look forward to you know, going out there with a new sense of a mission, so to speak and a new purpose, to some extent, but I think guys are excited for it. Guys are excited for week one and you can kind of get lost in those things, knowing, hey, this is football, this is week one. We got to go win a game. But hopefully we put a good product out there and give people something to cheer about."
On if having a long first drive is important:
"I mean, I think you just do that over the course of the game. So like, if you have a long drive on the first drive, then yeah you gotta get to see the defensive adjustments based on different personnel groups, formations, emotions, shifts, those types of things. If you don't, if you score quickly, then you see it as the game goes on. It's always an interesting game the first game of the season. This is a new defensive coordinator that hasn't been in this position before, so that adds another element to it. But you know, we're gonna do what we do and we'll assess it as it goes and make adjustments as the game goes on. They're all important to me. It's just, you know, if the first drive goes longer, it becomes more important because you run more plays."
On progression of WR Jahan Dotson:
"I think he's done a nice job, just the intricacies of the routes you know what I mean? The understanding of not just what his role is, but you know, how he fits in the concept. Just the difference of being a NFL player and the day in day out. Obviously haven't gotten into the season yet, but you know, where it's, that's your job and that that's what you're doing. But Jahan has been great and the relationship between him and [QB] Carson [Wentz] been great. You look at him interacting with the other receivers, you know, he's fit right into our group, and I expect him to have a, a really good season."
Jack Del Rio
On DE James Smith-Williams developing outside:
"I think that's what has happened. We're counting on that, obviously. When we drafted him, it was mostly to do that, but, we needed him to go inside due to depth and other issues. So, he ended up swinging and doing a little bit of both. So, I think this year he has been able to focus on just playing defensive end. I think he's been able to sharpen his skill, in terms of things we ask him to do at the end position."
On pass rush discipline:
"I mean, the mantra of four rushing as one is one we you used for a few years. I think that's pivotal. I mean, you don't want guys to rush cautiously, but you want 'em to be aware. That's a big thing. You gotta have a feel, you gotta be aware of where the quarterback is. You just gotta have that feel. That has to be at the forefront of your mind when you're rushing because if you're a defensive end, you can't turn it at 12 yards and expect the quarterback to just be sitting there. That's gonna create a massive B gap window. That's something, we're definitely gonna emphasize and work on so that we can get better pressure on quarterbacks."
On what has surprised him on the coaching end so far:
"It's just interesting how your mindset shifts. You're used to seeing the schedule, the daily schedule from a player's standpoint and you're like, okay, like practice done at noon. Okay. I'll do my hour and a half of body maintenance, then it'll be on my way. And then it's like, no, practice is done at noon. And you got a meeting at 12:15, and that's gonna go until it's done. And then, it's just seeing the schedule through a different lens has been the biggest thing for me. But then also, you kind of look at the game differently now as a coach."
On his late dad Ernie Zampese:
"Deeply saddened of course selfishly, but very happy and thankful everybody hopefully gets a chance to hear well done, good and faithful servant he did two weeks ago today. So, congratulations to him, very happy for him. He's my first call. My first guy. He and I were tighter than tight, so there's nothing left unsaid. It went quick and it was good for him. He's in a better place."
On what point he knew he wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps and be a coach:
"Well, I didn't know until the last game of playing in college. I thought, oh my gosh, this is getting real. I have to actually do something in life. You know, instead of just, it's always spelled out for you, now you have to actually make a decision for yourself and heck with this, I'm going to to graduate school. That's the easiest thing. We're gonna put this off for a little while. So, I went to graduate school and helped his graduate assistant and the program there at the University of San Diego. Thought, you know, I can do this. I see concepts and, and things clearly. I can help these guys out. I can develop lasting and meaningful relationships. I watch it my whole life. I can get these guys to get to a better place than they can take themselves. So, we did that."