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Old 09-01-2004, 04:01 PM   #1
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Post email: Defense Keeps Everyone Guessing

The Redskins have yet to get their starting defense on the field at the same time for a preseason game and are all but certain not to be able to do so in Friday's exhibition finale given injuries. However, Gregg Williams, assistant head coach -- defense, said that even if the team had been healthy, he is reluctant to put his top 11 defenders on the field at once.

Washington's coaching staff, which has closed practices to the fans and media for much of training camp, is taking no chances with allowing opponents to gain information about their personnel and tendencies. Williams said there have been times when the entire first team defense has worked together on the practice field -- with some injured players like linebacker Mike Barrow walking through drills without pads and simulating game conditions -- but never when anyone outside the organization has been around to see it.

"We've tried to give everybody the opportunity to play," Williams said, "and [allow the coaches to] see a lot of different combinations, and it also keeps [week one opponent] Tampa Bay wondering."

Williams said that even if all of his players had been available to use in a preseason contest he would not use them all at once. Starting safeties Sean Taylor and Matt Bowen, for instance, have each spent time with the backups in some exhibition games, while the team has yet to use its top three linebackers -- Barrow, LaVar Arrington and Marcus Washington -- in the same game.

In the last preseason game, a 28-3 loss in St. Louis, Williams intentionally yanked his starting defensive line -- minus injured end Phillip Daniels -- off the field earlier than he pulled his secondary. He wanted to put some of his young defensive backs in a difficult situation when the team lacked a pass rush to show them how challenging their position can be. It is likely that Williams will continue to experiment with his lineup in Friday's game against Atlanta, and he is again looking for younger players to make their mark.

"For some of these young guys it's their last chance to get a shot and redeem themselves," Williams said.

-- Jason La Canfora
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:07 PM   #2
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Some interesting insight to the Rams game here. For everyone who wanted to blame the DL for not getting any pressure, looks like that's exactly what Williams wanted!
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:10 PM   #3
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Good call, Matty. Not that we should be psyched that the backups had trouble, but clearly, Williams altered the d-line to see players rather than to stop the Rams per se. And giving the Rams time to throw is going to make any CBs look bad. Not to make excuses, but it explains a bit...
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:14 PM   #4
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that'd be ME. i saw NO penetration the entire game and was worried sick about it. i saw some of our starters well into the seond half as well. Gibbs himself said we didn't play well in any aspect, hopefully he wasn't really concerned like i am.

was our secondary getting overconfident? 3 qtrs of Torry Holt and no pass rush will certainly humble you to say the least. why was this necessary vs. working on our question mark pass rush??
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyk72
Some interesting insight to the Rams game here. For everyone who wanted to blame the DL for not getting any pressure, looks like that's exactly what Williams wanted!
I called this in the Rams game thread and was lynched for it...but this is great news. Am also glad to have called the release of Ralph Brown.
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:25 PM   #6
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Did you guys see the Gregg Williams' clip from a couple of days ago?

He pretty much said (to the reporters): 'you guys are a bunch of fools for saying that the D is in trouble because of the way we played saturday. we're giving nothing away in regards on how we're going to play in the regular season.'

It was a great clip, because he was basically chastising the reporters for jumping the gun on something which they knew nothing about.
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:28 PM   #7
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Like Gibbs, Williams is also playing his cards close to the vest, I guess many of us, myself included, didn't realize just how close it was.
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:40 PM   #8
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I think it was specifically designed for Sean Taylor, Williams mentioned before the Miami game that he wanted Taylor to gain a respect for the speed of receivers in the NFL. That never really materialized in the Miami game, so Williams kind of manipulated the situation by playing backups in the front 7 more which put the focus on the secondary's struggles. It also gave the entire defense a much needed dose of hubris, the fact that the first teamers hadn't given up a touchdown in the preseason is a welcome stat for us fans to hear, but on the whole means absolutely nothing.

I'm curious as to how Michael Barrow fits in with the linebackers. I know that Barrow knows his role in the defense, hence the lack of concern on getting him pre-season snaps, but I also know that good defenses are collaborations between defenders and that trust is built in games more so than practices. So the problems he's having with his knees are a concern, although relatively minor.

I do think Williams has done an outstanding job of preparing the players. By playing different combinations of players Williams has already prepped the backups to play in the event of an injury.
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Old 09-01-2004, 04:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by hurrykaine
I called this in the Rams game thread and was lynched for it...but this is great news. Am also glad to have called the release of Ralph Brown.
i'd MUCH rather you be right than me on this. and i'm also hoping Daniels will make a real difference and not join Wynn and Upshaw on the forgettable journeyman DE list.

i'm disappointed in 'Swoop' Snyder for not getting Ogun nor Douglas here. i don't think the draft is a safe place to get DEs..
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Old 09-01-2004, 05:24 PM   #10
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well, they made a decent offer to miami, both a 1st pick and then gardner/betts/5th... chicago got a real deal on AO for booker...

and bidding up to douglas over 1mill per year is kind of silly since there's a decent chance he might not play. I do agree that drafting DEs is much riskier than most (if not all) other positions.

In the first game vs the broncos, we blitzed on 90%+ of downs, that's all we did. In the rams game, he tested the secondary against a team wanting to win (holt was in for 3 quarters, i mean, damn) i really think williams is using this games to test PLAYERS, not plays.
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Old 09-01-2004, 05:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illdefined
i'm disappointed in 'Swoop' Snyder for not getting Ogun nor Douglas here. i don't think the draft is a safe place to get DEs..
I would have liked to have seen Ogun in a Redskin uniform too, but do we have the cap space for that?

As far as the draft goes, it's still a crap shoot. Julius Peppers was a bullseye, but ask the Packers about Jamal Reynolds...
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Old 09-01-2004, 06:10 PM   #12
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Hmm, I love and hate what our coaching staff is doing. Its great that everything is a secret, and stuff. But that secret is only going to be kept safe until week one, then everyone sees what we are going to do. Not everyplay or formation, but the general idea. Meanwhile, we arent giving our starters time to gel and work together, all for one game to be a secret. Would it matter if the other team say our starters ont eh field at the same time? I cant imagine it would be, every other team does it. Its not like we have been playing together for years and know how to wokr together and everyone tendoncies. I hope they are practicing with the first unit more than they have led on, in practices I mean.
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Old 09-01-2004, 06:11 PM   #13
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Oh, the other thing that this could say is that we have shitty backups then when put in do a horrible job. That doesnt look good for is peopel get/stay injured...
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Old 09-01-2004, 06:55 PM   #14
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the latest quote by greg williams
"Yeah i told ade jimoh to get beat on every play so that we can work on our team persuit. Jimoh and taylor are fast, teams dont want to be chased down by them."
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Old 09-01-2004, 07:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mattyk72
Like Gibbs, Williams is also playing his cards close to the vest, I guess many of us, myself included, didn't realize just how close it was.
I sure hope that's the case. I guess will find out soon enough! I like the + spin that this put's on the Rams game!
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