With the team's practice prep for the Pittsburgh Steelers 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 determining core principles:
"I think part of it is you get to a certain time of the year and you have to look at certain things. That's where we are right now. It's interesting because one of the things that we're challenging the guys a little bit more is the mental aspect of the game, whereas in the past, even though it was late as it was, it was still about the physicality of the game. At times, I don't know if you necessarily need that much as much as you need the mental aspect... The last couple of weeks we've done it, and it's actually worked out pretty good. We've continued that portion of it. We're still trying to get some of that physical traits of the game down. But we are putting an emphasis on making sure the mental emphasis is down, understanding your assignment, understanding what you need to do and standing where you need to be.
9. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on limiting big plays Monday:
"I guess we could look at a negative thing or two or just dwell on that, but that's not how we operate. We're a football team that attacks issues front and center. Obviously, anything that hasn't gone well, we've talked about. We've got our eyes on the future and taking advantage of our opportunities. That's really the way we approach it."
"I think the thing that really stands out as the weeks have gone on are the little plays that have gone unnoticed. A lot of times it's the run when nothing's really there and he still puts his head down and gets four yards. Whereas I think early on in the year, [he was] always trying to make the big play or bounce it. I think he's really done a nice job trusting his reads and eyes. There were a lot of runs in this last game that don't show up on a stat sheet, but I thought he did a great job of getting positive plays for us when really there wasn't a ton there. I think it's always been evident the big-play potential and ability he has. It's been really nice seeing him more and more comfortable. I think he has such a great knack of finding the end zone. I don't think that's a coincidence at all that he's having so much success in that area as well. I think with that though, it's a lot of the little things that go into playing the position play in and play out. You're not always going to have the home run. But he is so versatile, and I think finding those plays that don't show up big on the stat sheet but helps the team convert first downs."
7. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner on play-calling now compared to the beginning of the season:
"I think we're growing. I think we're growing as an overall offense, and I'm part of that. I think our communication has been pretty good. I think when you play with three different quarterbacks, there's going to be little differences with each guy. I think overall, though, we've done a nice job of not having to use timeouts, not getting too many delay of games, stuff like that. There's been some things we have to get better at. Our quarterbacks do a good job of communicating to the offense. Just as far as myself, every game is going to present a different set of challenges. You've got to get yourself ready for that. You've got to recognize what kind of adjustments you've got to make as the games go on. One thing is you've got to know when to say when. You're not going to win the game on every single play, but you can very much lose it if you make a mistake. Just to be patient. Be patient when you need to be patient and then be aggressive when you need to be aggressive and just taking your spots."
6. Rivera on carrying momentum into Pittsburgh:
"Again, it's really just about going out and playing. You can do all kinds of things, trust me. I tried it in Carolina. I tried all kinds of things. Sometimes it's really just about going out and doing your job. That's really the thing we've been talking about right now is going out and doing your job, preparing yourself and doing the best you can. We'll see what happens. It's hard to say what motivates guys as we're trying to find out who we have. We're doing some different things this week. We'll see how that all pans out for us."
5. Del Rio on what he attributes the defense's statistical improvements to:
"We've got a group that's working hard, that believes in what it's doing and how we're doing it. We've worked hard at it. We've got a way to go. We'll continue to push. We've got a high standard; I've said that all year. We have a high standard. We expect to be ranked amongst the best in the league because we feel like we are. We're working hard at it. It takes everybody. Everybody contributes to it. Like I said earlier, we don't dwell on mistakes. We don't dwell on negative things, but we certainly address them. We move on and build on the positive things we're doing and play with great energy. We're building confidence and trust. I think you're seeing the result of those efforts."
4. Smith on how the offensive line has held up so well:
"I think those guys have done an amazing job. There have been a lot of changes with guys moving positions. I think it's really a credit to all of them being ready. It really starts with [offensive line] coach [John] Matsko and really the way they're coached and taught. They all have to be ready to roll. They're all constantly juggling and moving, and they practice it. I think when it happens, it is no big deal because those guys are all ready to roll whenever they're called upon. It's really a credit to those guys for being ready and being ready to go."
3. Turner on what separates wide receiver Terry McLaurin from other receivers:
"He has a tremendous work ethic. He takes everything one day at a time. He really trusts and believes in the process. He really believes in our coaches and what he's being told to do schematically and fundamental-wise. He just soaks it all up. When he makes a mistake, he doesn't make the same mistake twice. He focuses on the fundamentals. His skillset, he's obviously very strong and fast. He can separate. He's getting better. He's getting better at the techniques of just route running, but really just the process of him trusting the process and coming to work every day. That leadership stuff has really just come about naturally because he's built so much trust with his teammates and then they have such respect for him based on the work that he puts in and the production that he has."
2. Rivera on helping players through an uncertain season:
"You've got to talk about it. That's really the only thing we've done is talk about the situation we're in and try to make sure guys understand how important it is to be adaptable. That's the biggest thing. I've told the coaches this and I've told the players this, we can't make a big deal if something changes. When you start worrying about that, what was interesting becomes important. That's not what we want to happen. It's not important. It's interesting, it's different -- OK, we deal with it and we move on. That's the thing. It's like, having been in Carolina and having been in certain places that didn't have indoor facilities, so you have to go out and practice in the elements. If you make a big deal about practicing in the elements, you're not going to have a good practice. That's what we've got to be able to do. We've got to focus and handle the situation."
1. Rivera on focusing on what is important rather than interesting:
"Most certainly because, again, when you look at the division race and look what we have to do, we've got five games left all of us. Well, Philadelphia plays today, but we all have five games left. The key is how you do each week. We've got to focus and put a lot of focus in on getting ready for Pittsburgh. Again, they're undefeated. They're the elite of the AFC. They're playing very good football right now, so we've got to figure out our game plan and then learn it, practice it and then see what happens. In the meantime, each other team has to do the same thing. Everything else is inconsequential as far as I'm concerned outside our division. I've been through this and I know when you focus on what you have to do, when you focus on your next opponent because it's the next most important game you have to play, you give yourself a better chance. But when you start worrying about: 'Oh, what if this happens?' No. You can't control that. Control what you can. That's what gives you the chance to be successful."