The Washington Redskins (0-1) on Sunday play host to the St. Louis Rams (1-0) in 2015 Week 2 action at FedExField.
On Wednesday, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and quarterback Nick Foles spoke to the Washington, D.C., media via conference call about the upcoming matchup with the Redskins.
St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher
On the Rams' front four:
"I wouldn't just limit it to just four, we've got eight and we keep them fresh. I think that's a huge difference in the production and the effort because you keep them fresh. We've got depth there. I'm really pleased with the way Aaron [Donald] played and Michael [Brockers] played, the two tackles. They made a difference in the ballgame. They had great offseasons. They're in great shape, they're really well conditioned. [Defensive line] Coach [Mike] Waufle does a great job with them. We've got the depth there with Nick Fairley and then Ethan Westbrooks there. We keep them fresh. Despite the fact that Aaron doesn't like to come out, we make him come out just to catch his breath. I'd rather them catch their breath standing on the sideline next to me rather than on the field."
On if he expected his Week 1 matchup with Seattle to be so high-scoring:
"No, I think there's a lot of lessons to be learned from the game, just from a team standpoint. Particularly because going into the last play of the third quarter, we had the Seahawks in a second-and-20 and we were up by 11. So we overcame an awful lot in the fourth quarter. So we need to— in the future--- if we're going to be a good team, avoid those kind of situations. The great part about is, with respect to the Seahawk game, all three phases contributed. As you guys know, it's hard to overcome three turnovers, especially against a team like Seattle and then overcome two returns for touchdowns. You've got to do some good things and we did. So we're counting on that those good things will continue, but we have to eliminate a lot of the things that happened in the fourth quarter."
On what makes Rams WR Tavon Austin so dangerous on punt returns:
"You have to credit the group that's around him. I think they're very well coached. They understand where he is going to be. We drill every single day on the field as far as blocking concepts and things like that. He's got such great acceleration and vision. It separates him from a lot of returners in the league. That was an outstanding return. I was told this morning that he is the first player in NFL history to have, in each of his first three years, a return for a touchdown over 75 yards. I think that kind of speaks for itself. We expect people to put the ball in the boundary or not give him a chance to return. When he gets a chance, we know every time he touches the ball he's got a chance to go."
On the advantage the depth on the defensive line provides:
"I think if you look at your defense, the two positions that you absolutely have to have depth in is on the defensive line and also at the cornerback spot. I'll give you a good example. When [CB] Trumaine [Johnson] came out, he's been playing really well, and [CB] Marcus Roberson came in, Marcus made plays. So we had depth there to help us get through the game. The depth on the defensive line is important. The hardest thing to do in the National Football League in my opinion is to rush the passer, especially in the fourth quarter. We played 80 snaps last week. We couldn't have done it with six guys. You have to keep rotating them, keep them fresh."
On Rams QB Nick Foles' ability to overcome adversity and if that's something he looks for in quarterbacks:
"That's a good question. That's what we saw in Nick prior to the trade. You guys are familiar with him obviously. That's what Nick did, his numbers in Andy's [former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid's] last year were impressive and the next year were pretty impressive. When you dig deep and start looking around and then you watch him take a hit, a vicious hit, and the very next play he's throwing a rope on the boundaries for a first down, he's that kind of player. I love the fact that he has a short memory. He knows he's not going to play perfect but he also knows there's 60 minutes in the game. I think his approach, that approach, kind of permeates to the offensive guys and even over to defensive guys from that standpoint. 'Hey, there's going to be things that come up, but let's overcome them.' And that's what he did."
On the Redskins' special teams unit since 2012:
"Well, let's see, we played them in '12 and that was early. You all came here and they battled. They're well coached, they're sound. They've got a good plan. They're prepared for all situations. So when you have got turnover, and we're dealing with the same thing, you've got turnover every year with respect to your core group of guys. There's a learning curve early in the season. We went through it. We put ourselves in a bad situation last year with a punt out of the end zone, gave up a return touchdown. But we came right back and answered. Yeah, it takes time to get the guys in place that you can trust, and obviously when I'm talking about time, it's more reps. It's full-speed regular season reps where they improve."
On the struggle of changing a team's culture:
"It wasn't easy. But, you have to take a hard look at your roster and you have to be willing to make tough decisions and make changes and have a plan. I think we've done that thus far. I'm told we're the youngest team in the league again for the fourth consecutive year, but our young guys have a lot of playing experience right now, which is good. You know, you've just got to keep working, you've got to keep wins and losses in perspective and you've got to stress week-to-week improvement."
On if his team captains against the Redskins last season mattered for the result of the game:
"I don't think it mattered because half the guys that I sent out there didn't know why they were going out there. They thought 'Oh good. I must have played good last week, so I'm going to go out and be a captain.' And nobody recognized it until we made mention of it in the post-game, but I think it's probably likely I'm going to have our captains that were elected by their teammates at the coin toss this week."
On if he had done anything like that before:
"Yes… [Laughter] You want specifics? We went to Buffalo after the Music City Miracle to open the season and I introduced our kickoff return team… It didn't work very well because we lost."
St. Louis Rams quarterback Nick Foles
On if it helps having played against the Redskins twice a year during his time with the Eagles:
"I think just playing against them, playing in that environment, being in that stadium and just knowing the personnel a little bit helps, but it's a different defense with the coordinator, so definitely different looks. But, I mean, I think just from a comfort level of, I've played against them, I've been in the stadium, similar place, that helps but it's still going to come down to execution and playing."
On his ability to overcome adversity and mistakes so quickly:
A look back at top images in games between the Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams.
"I think just that's what it's about. The game, you're going to have adversity going through the game. We talk about it all the time. What are we going to do when it hits? And the big thing is for us just sticking together through those times, just continue to play, continue to execute our plays, really just keeping the mentality of, 'What do we have to do this coming play to be successful?' and just staying positive. So just throughout my career, that's something I've learned through the ups and the downs, just trying to stay steady and keep the guys around me going."
On the biggest difference in the offensive philosophy between the Rams and the Eagles:
"Just different offenses. You've got Chip's [Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly's] offense, no-huddle, fast-attack offense. This is we're coming out of the huddle. You've got different styles of running, different styles of passing. But, it's Xs and Os. It's football. You've still got the same football. You're still dropping back and playing ball but definitely different offenses."
On Foles' and the Redskins' common familiarity and who has the advantage:
"I think going into it just the team that prepares the best. That's what it comes down to is preparation during the week, understanding the game plan. The Redskins have a lot of talent. It's tremendous. I've had some battles with them so I know what it's going to be like going in there. So it's whatever team prepares the best and executes on game day is usually the one that comes out on top."
On if he feels that he can use his tight ends out wide against safeties like they did last week:
"It's just one of those things where in football when you're throwing the ball, you're always trying to find matchups. You're looking at leverage, understanding man, zone defense. If there's ever an opportunity where I have a great matchup – wide receiver, tight end, running back – you're always looking to take that matchup."
On if he feels that WR Tavon Austin is being used in the offense more than last year:
"I mean I couldn't tell you one way or the other, but I just know he's a tremendous player. We have some talented guys on offense, so it's important for us to spread the ball around. It's important for us to get the ball in Tavon's hands because he's electric when he gets it in his hands and gets some open space. I think the important thing is for us to spread the ball around so that can be possible."
On DT Aaron Donald:
"He's a beast. I mean, he's a special player. He's going to be a tremendous player for as long as he wants to play the game. He's got a great work ethic. There's not many guys in the world like him."