Brunell bombs away

Washington quarterback Mark Brunell talks Redskins and 49ers, along with Alex Smith & Santana Moss and other topics regarding Sunday's game between the two teams.

Q: How is your team's mindset for Sunday's game?

Brunell:
We started the way we wanted to. Our first three games we were 3-0, but we slipped the last couple. We've had five close games and we got three wins out of it. I think we're doing some good things. We're off to a decent start.

Q: As a team, what are some of the things you worked on in the offseason that show now?

Brunell:
It's really not about one position. The reasons why we've gotten better are because we've been together for a year. I think any time a new coach comes in and brings his offense there will be a learning period. We went through that last year and it was real difficult. We were playing together for the first time under a new system. Now we have been together and we added some guys like Santana Moss and David Patten. Jon Jansen is back, so those are some of the reasons we've been able to improve offensively.

Q: Now that you're a lot healthier has there been a big change?

Brunell:
Anytime you're healthy 100 percent you're going to play better. The hamstring bothered me to a certain degree last year and now it's good to be healthy.

Q: Can you talk about Alex Smith's first year in league?

Brunell:
It's a big jump from college to the pros and the best way to get better is to be on the field. You can sit in a classroom and even watch the guy in front of you. But you really make your strides on the field. Alex has a lot of talent and a bright future. He's only going to get better and better. I really haven't paid too much attention to the San Francisco offense but they're certainly capable like any other team. I think highly of Alex and I know he has a lot of talent. I hear that he is a hard worker and he has a good attitude, so the future is bright for him.

Q: What do you remember the most about being a young quarterback in the league?

Brunell:
For me it wasn't a lot of fun. Everything goes real fast and there is an adjustment you have to make. There is a period of time where you're learning on the fly. My third year at quarterback helped me to get better. My first year wasn't pretty, but the longer that I was in there the more that it started to slow down. I started getting a grasp of what we were trying to do.

Q: Should young quarterbacks expect growing pains?

Brunell:
That was the case for me, but it isn't the case for everybody. It took me a while to get used to playing at this level.

Q: Could you talk about Santana Moss as a target?

Brunell:
You have to give most of the credit to Santana. He's an incredible talent and he's a hard worker. He wants the ball when he gets it. There is not a lot that he can't do. He runs precise routes, has great hands and he's very explosive. We try to get the ball to him and we've been able to do that in the first five games.

Q: Is there anything that sticks out about him that you might have noticed in films?

Brunell:
I've seen the same thing everyone else is seeing. He has a lot of speed and he's very quick. Once he gets the ball in his hands he can do something with it. We are real fortunate to have him. He just seems to be able to do everything.

Q: Can you address the grind that coach Joe Gibbs has to put in day in and day out?

Brunell:
He works very hard and he doesn't ask the players to do anything that he's not willing to do himself. He tells us to put the hours in and I don't think anybody has put more hours in than he has. The guys know that and the guys respect that. He has a lot of character and he commands a lot of respect, because of the success that he has in this league with the three Super Bowls. He's a good guy. He works us pretty hard, but at the same time he's very positive. There is no separation between the coaching staff and the players. We win as a group and we lose as a group. I think every guy will tell you the same thing.

Q: What was your perception of him before you worked under him?

Brunell:
Coming in I did my homework. I wanted to know what I could expect and everything was very positive. What I heard coming in was that he worked very hard and he treats his players right. What more can you ask for? He spends a few nights here a week and guys see that. Guys on the team notice that. If you're a head coach and you tell everybody that you expect them to work hard and give 100 percent then you better be willing to do the same thing. He does that.

Q: While studying film on the 49ers what are some things that you noticed in their defense?

Brunell:
They have a lot of speed, a very solid and aggressive scheme, incredible amount of talent and they have some guys over there that can really play. I've seen all of the last four games and I've been very impressed. We're going to have to be at the top of our game. Coach Nolan will have them ready to go so we can expect their best.

Q: With the injuries that they've had back there do you see them capable of playing up to par?

Brunell:
Absolutely, they are more than capable. That's the thing about good scheme and coaching. If you have guys that are willing to work hard and willing to study then they can pick up where the next guy left off. We've seen that a lot on our defense here. They've been beat up a little bit and we have too, but whoever they stick in there we know we're going to get their best.

Q: Have you paid attention to the 49ers special teams play?

Brunell:
That's not my department, so I don't play close attention to that. I'm sure our special teams coach Danny Smith has seen everything. But there is always a surprise; you just hope it doesn't hurt you.

Q: What stamp do you think coach Nolan has put on this team?

Brunell:
The guys are playing with a lot of heart. They seem to be playing with a lot passion and this year it seems they are playing with a purpose. The record is not what they want it to be, but they will only get better. That whole group is going to win some games. You can just see by the way they play and I'm just real impressed by them.


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