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Williams, Defense Eye Cowboys

Every week, chats with a Redskins coach about a hot topic. This week: assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams on the Cowboys game:

"What we have to do is we have to be able to prepare for what the Cowboys are going to do offensively. [Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator] Jason Garrett has an offensive system he runs.

"You take a look at all the year's plays. We look at every single game from preseason all the way down through the regular season, so you have to be able to handle the play structure, the concept structure, the packages, and then we have to concentrate on what we do.

"Buddy Ryan did this very well. I learned this at a young age in coaching for him. He was much more worried about what we are doing as opposed to what the opponent was doing. I think I probably put more emphasis--and he tells me all the time I screwed his defense up--on what the opponents do for matchups.

"No matter who they place out there, they are an outstanding football team. They have more Pro Bowlers than anybody in the National Football League. They can't sit them all down. Somebody has to dress out and play. So we are going against a really, really good football team."

"The last time we played Dallas they did very well against our secondary. I think Reed Doughty and LaRon Landry are a lot more comfortable. You see the experience and their feel for the game now. I really think young Reed has made some great strides from his first Dallas start.

"They have come a long way, but again, proof is in the production. Every week, you have to go out and earn it.

"We really haven't scaled anything back in our secondary, despite the youth back there, because our philosophy has been to have a system in place that is flexible enough no matter who you have to coach.

"One of the things we did last offseason was extensive studies on our own personnel--and then we tried to fit those things that are best for them. A lot of times there were some fun [schemes] for me to play with on defense, but I realize that maybe we don't necessarily perform very well in those types of things. But we have enough in our system to be able to adapt whoever has to play.

"We have to develop young players. Usually at the end of the year, you start to see some of the younger players in the National Football League getting more opportunities because they have actually played two college seasons when we enter into this time of the year.

"We have had some young guys stepping up. We have had to battle through some injuries. [Against Chicago], we had to battle through sickness [with Fred Smoot]--and we were able to overcome that. Each week, it is a test.

"It proves who you are from a toughness standpoint on the entire defense. We have enough depth that I think we can do that.

"That was one of the things I think Coach [Joe] Gibbs addressed very well here in this offseason. He wanted to make sure we had enough depth in the secondary to handle the situations that are going to happen throughout the course of the season."

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