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Williams Calls Third Downs the Key On 'D'

Every week, chats with a Redskins coach about a hot topic. This week: assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams on the state of the defense at the midway point of the season:

"When we have been very good on defense, we have been able to dominate on third downs.

"You would like to be able to see difference-making plays on third downs, and not plays that just get the defense off the field. You would like to see sacks and turnovers.

"We are making more plays in Cover 2 this year, and I think our personnel has had a big part of that, more than anything. We did an extensive study of the defense during the offseason and we've changed some ways that we approach things in the back end.

"LaRon Landry has been a tremendous acquisition, but Sean Taylor's discipline and Sean Taylor's growth coming in now as a fourth year player has been outstanding.

"Our pass rush and our pass coverage have to work hand in hand, in sync. You can't have one and not have the other. We've been doing a good job with understanding the timing mechanisms between the two, but Sean and LaRon in the back end have helped greatly. They run to the ball extremely well.

"Some coaches talk about running to the ball, and some coaches get players to run to the ball. I have been real blessed to convince young men that it is very important.

"As coaches, we can affect alignment, assignment and the first two steps. Their ability to play is something they inherited, but if they don't run to the ball, that's my fault. If they don't run to the ball, then they won't play--and they understand that.

"People have asked me before, 'What will be the plan this week?' It's whatever we can do to do the best job of slowing the offense down. As coaches, we can provide some input into putting our versatile, smart players in position to play.

"Each week our game plan will change depending on the system that we're playing and depending upon the weapons within that system. Last week we were challenged with some of the skill players. There are some skill players that we're going to have to go up against this week, too.

"But some of the things we did last week, we won't be able to do. Some of the things that we do this week we won't be able to do the following week. We just have to stay ahead and be as adaptive and as flexible as we can be."

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