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Williams: Third-Down Stops Like a Turnover

Every week, chats with a Redskins coach about a hot topic. This week: assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams discusses third downs:

"We put a lot of emphasis on third downs because as a defense we want to be able to get off the field. That's how you negate extra plays against your team. You negate extra scoring opportunities against your team.

"In our first two games--both wins--we had only one takeaway, but we were dominant on third downs. When you're good on third downs, that sometimes is a symbolic as takeaways.

"With both third downs and in the red zone, sometimes it's a matter of taking a pride and a responsibility. You have to play team defense down there. You can't play individual defense down there.

"There was a lot made of the hit that LaRon Landry made [to break up the last play of the Redskins' 20-12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 17], but that was a team play.

"There was a lot that went on for that particular play to force the ball to go to that particular spot and LaRon was able to come up big. Team defense in the red zone is critical.

"Both Rocky [McIntosh] and LaRon can make me smile and cry in the same game. They do some stupid things in the game, but they have an ability where they can burst and drive and make some big plays, too.

"It's going to be a learning curve for both of them, but I like what I see to date. They've done a very good job. They fit in very well. They're very physical.

"If you're not physical in this game, you're a punching bag. We want [opponents] to be the punching bag, not us to be the punching bag.

"I can choose who plays and who doesn't play, and as long as I'm here, we're going to play [physical] all the time. If I have choices on replacing people that don't want to play that way, I'll replace them. I don't care how much money they make. It doesn't make any difference.

"I have minimal impact on what [a player's] mom and dad gave them in the gene pool, but I can have an impact on them playing hard and hitting hard."

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