With the team's practice prep for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers complete, here's a list of the best quotes of the week, as compiled by WashingtonFootball.com, presented by GEICO:
10. Head coach Ron Rivera on the reason why he has been through what he has this season:
"I'm just really one of those that believes God doesn't give you more than He believes you can handle. I really think that's part of it. I also think the reason that I'm here is to win the Super Bowl. That's the way I look at things. I'm positive, I try to make sure I'm headed in the right direction and doing the right things. This feels good to me. I appreciate where I am. We've got a good staff, we've got good support, and we've got a good group of young players that we've got to build with and add onto."
9. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner on what Smith brings to the offense:
"He's the leader of this offense. You look at how the guys look to him, and there's just a sense of confidence when he's on the field. Again, you talk to his decision making—you look at the way he executed that first drive as well as the two-minute drill at the end of the half, which were our two touchdowns. Has he been limited? Yeah, absolutely. But he's doing everything he can to be out there. That brings something to our team. The games he's started this year, obviously, we're 5-1. It's a team effort. Obviously, our defense is playing great and other guys have stepped up. The team feeds on that, the whole team. Seeing him out there and what he's fighting through gives us a little bit of edge and gives confidence that, hey, no matter what happens we're going to be able to push through this and find a way to win whether it's ugly or pretty or whatever. They all count the same."
8. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on if this is the Tampa Bay offense is the best they have faced this year:
"I haven't really looked at it in terms of ranking them. I just know that they're really good. Every week there's a new set of challenges. You're trying to make sure that you account for the playmakers they have and the system they run and the plays they like and try to get them slowed down. We want to give our offense the ball as much as we can. To do that, we have to slow them down. That's the goal, just get the ball back for our offense as much as possible."
7. Quarterback Alex Smith on if playing football is still fun for him:
"Yeah. When you're making the decision, for me, the last couple years leading up to this and you get away from it all, you miss the edge that this game gives you week in and week out of really having to tow the line every single game day, every single Sunday, putting yourself out there, being accountable to your teammates, the challenge of finding a way, a formula to prepare and go out there and win week in and week out. That challenge changes constantly. Yeah, that feeling that it gives you though, when you're away from it, you certainly cannot find it anywhere else. You can't duplicate it. You get away from it and you miss it quick. So, relishing it now. It just gets bigger and bigger. Certainly, you're at the end of the season into January, it just magnifies it more and more. [I'm] absolutely relishing everything about this week."
6. Rivera on creating success in the run game against the Buccaneers defensive front:
"I think the big part of it is this game, we've got to keep this game close. We've got to play well on defense. We've got to put points on the board when we get the opportunity and make sure we keep it close. If we keep it close and they can't pin their ears back knowing that we've got to throw the ball, it gives us a chance to stay balanced. That's what we have to do is stay balanced against these guys. I think we can. I do. It's a good challenge for our young football team to find out exactly where we are. Doing things the right way and keeping it balanced gives us an opportunity to keep the run-pass question in their mind. I think that helps us."
5. Del Rio on Chase Young and the defense's excitement to face Tom Brady:
"We're excited to play, to be alive and to be in the tournament. We understood that when we won, we would get Tampa. He's just laying it out there. Nobody is backing away from it. We're going to go compete. We've got a young team. We're looking forward to the challenge. We are working hard to prepare and understand our opponent. That's what we do each and every week. It's really no different this week in terms of our approach and how we're attacking it consistently. We'll put a plan together and go compete. We're looking forward to it."
4. Rivera on how the interior defensive linemen are prepared for Saturday's matchup:
"I think they've done a nice job preparing for it. To be honest, that kind of pressure affects anybody. It really does. You have to have a great combination going. I did a little study a couple years ago about the success and why we had it in the past, and a lot of that success was driven from the interior... We feel we have something like that here. We really do. We feel we have a good combination of guys. But the challenge will be this team. This is a good football team. They're well coached and they've got one of the iconic guys in the league as their quarterback. They've got playmakers. It's going to be a challenge, but we'll rise to it and give it the best we've got."
3. Rivera on where this playoff experience ranks amongst his career playoff appearances:
"This experience ranks up as the most different one I've had. Not just the playoff experience, but the whole year. This will be a memorable one. It really will be. I will also say this, this really is one of the groups that I will always be very fond of because of what they've done and what they've come through and how hard they've worked. It really is. I do mean that. There's just something about this year that has really kind of kept me in awe of our young men and our coaching staff and our support people. To go through and for them to do what they did in light of the situation that we are currently in as a world, it speaks to them
2. Turner on the energy around Washington when the team makes the playoffs:
"There's a level of excitement that comes with being in the playoffs, being one of what now is I guess one of 14 teams remaining in the league. Everyone is 0-0. You go and you play, and if you win, you move on. There is a little energy because of that, a little more juice. Like I said, it's a long year, but you get a little more energized going into this week. It's a big challenge for us.. It's good to be in. We're going to fight as hard as we can to stay in."
1. Rivera on the team playing with an underdog mentality:
"That's alright, giving us a chance is all we want. All you need is hope. If you went on what everybody said, then why play the game? That's what I don't get. I don't understand. Then everybody talks about experts, experts, experts. How many times have the experts been wrong? How many times have there been a major upset? I say it goes all the way back to way back when, when this little guy named David upset Goliath. That's what happens. That's why we're going to show up Saturday night and play hard. That's the only thing we can do. We can't do anything else. We can't run and hide. We'll show up, we'll go out on the football field, and when the ball's kicked off, we'll play for 60 minutes and see."