Opponent Opinions: RB Leon Washington

Leon Washington has been a problem for the Dolphins in recent Jets-Dolphins, both as a running back and kick returner. The former Florida State player talked this week about Chad Pennington's season as well as Sunday's matchup in a conference call with South Florida reporters.

Here's what Washington had to say on a variety of topics:

On where the Jets are mentally after going through some recent struggles: "Mentally, we're pretty good. Yesterday, we had a pretty good practice. The guys came out with a lot of focus, a lot of energy. Obviously, we made it tough on ourselves over the last month and a half not taking advantage of opportunities. At the same time, we are facing another team and it's another opportunity right in front of us. We're playing a very good Miami team, so really, our mindset is just what it's been all year long; prepare ourselves for the game and stay positive."

On the biggest difference in the Dolphins now from the first game of the season: "Obviously, they're executing a lot better on all phases of the game. The thing they do so well is not turn the ball over. They won't give their opponents a chance to win the game because they're so consistent in their play. The Big Tuna (Bill Parcells), you know his teams are going to be physical, they're going to play smart, they're going to play tough. They've just been taking advantage of their opportunities and not giving teams an opportunity to beat them. I think they're plus-14 in the turnover margin; they're looking to set a record for fewest turnovers in a season, so that goes to show how well they're playing. They're a smart, tough team led by the veteran guys who have been there before; Chad (Pennington), Joey Porter, etc., and they're playing good football right now."

On if he is surprised what Chad Pennington has done this season: "No, I'm not surprised at all. The way Chad prepared himself when he was here, the type of teammate that he was when he was here, his leadership that he displays on and off the field, I'm not surprised at all. I'm very happy for Chad and the things he's doing down in Miami. It says a lot about his character and his perseverance to overcome certain obstacles in his life."

On the Dolphins-Jets rivalry: "Jets-Dolphins game; it's going to be close. If you're going to the game thinking it's going to be otherwise, you're setting yourself up for failure. We're anticipating this game to be close, we're expecting this game to be tight and I guess over the last few years it's been a pretty heated rivalry. Since I've been here, I remember playing the Dolphins my first year on Christmas and how close that game was and it had playoff implications for us. Now at the same time, we're sitting there to play them once again with playoff implications for both teams. Ever since before I got to the league, the Jets-Dolphins game has always been tight."

On Dolphins CB André Goodman saying that nobody took the Dolphins seriously all season and how seriously he takes the Dolphins: "We take them very seriously. We took them seriously last year when we played them where they were, I don't know if they won a game yet, but I think they were maybe 0-14 when we played them, we took them seriously. When you have the type of guys they got down there, the type of players they have, in the National Football League, teams are really good, it comes down to execution. We take this team extremely seriously. They're playing really well right now and they're a physical, tough team. We take them very seriously. Not us, not the Jets."

On if there is more pressure on Jets players than Dolphins players since the Jets have struggled recently and the Dolphins were not expected to be here: "I don't know if you want to use the word ‘pressure' as the word for it. There is a sense of urgency for both teams who want to go out here and win this last ballgame and see how things play out. Who knows; I can't speak for the Dolphins and I don't know how they feel, but I know our situation and we have a sense of urgency and what we have to get done this weekend. We want to be in the playoffs and to get to the playoffs we have to win this game and see what happens. I can't speak for the Dolphins, but I know how we feel."

On if he still hast the upmost confidence in Brett Favre: "We always have confidence in that guy. To be a quarterback in this league, if you want to be a great one, when the great ones have a bad game, they put it out of their mind and they go out and have another good game. It's not all just Brett Favre, this is a team. The wide receivers have to run better routes; they have to catch the ball when they have the opportunities. Running backs have to protect for the quarterback and give him time to throw and the O-Line and tight ends have to do their job, too. For our pass game, collectively as a unit, we're not executing as well, not just the quarterback."

On how much motivation he thinks Chad Pennington will draw from his opportunity to make a point: "I can't speak for Chad, but I know when he was here, Chad hated losing. I know that's going to be big motivation for him, just that in itself. About the situation and how he feels about the Jets and what happened, I can't speak for that. Knowing Chad, he's going to come in here and try to win this football game. That's all I can say about that because he's a winner, he likes winning."

On the relationship Chad Pennington had with Jets fans: "Chad probably was one of the best players to have played for this team and the fans loved Chad when he was here. If you look at our stadium now, even though he's gone, there is always Number 10 jerseys up in our stadium. The fans loved Chad; he was a really good guy in the locker room and especially in that community, so the fans really loved him a lot."

On if he agrees with Jets DT Kris Jenkins quote saying, ‘We had a lot of success early and I don't think we responded to it very well' and why he thinks that is if that's true: "The facts are the facts. We won early and now we didn't finish. If you look at our win-loss record, based on that, we haven't responded well. If he's saying that meaning that scenario, yeah, that's true. We just haven't been able to execute, we're not there with the intensity that we had early in the year to go out there and execute our game plan. It hurts a lot because when you work so hard at something and you want to accomplish a goal and it doesn't happen, it hurts a lot."


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