Q&A with Fred Smoot

No one has more fun on the football field than the Redskins chatty corner, always yapping at someone or about something. And he's constantly smiling. But Smoot, entering his third year, is serious about improving his game. Here's what he did to get better this past offseason.

Q: Where have you improved the most?

A: Every year you get smarter. Of course I've gotten smarter after learning from Darrell and Champ for another year and I've gotten stronger. I've learned my position better. I know the strengths and weaknesses of coverages and know how to play those leverages. I've learned a lot about that.

Q: Where do you see a difference?

A: I'm stronger at the point of attack. At the line of scrimmage I put my hands on the wide receiver and because I'm way stronger that's caused me to have good games right there.

Q: Did you lift more weights this offseason?

A: Yeah I did. More than I ever did in my life. But I kept my flexibility. I did a lot of offseason things such as boxing to work on my quick twitches. I notice a big difference and my teammates notice a big difference. Like on my jams. I was always able to put my long arms on people, but there's a difference putting long arms on people and making them feel it. Right now I'm making them feel it every time I jam them.

Q: What did the others say when they saw you in there?

A: They talked a lot of noise when they saw me coming. But it was a great mood in there this summer. Everyone wanted to be in there and around each other. We're a close-knit group.

Q: Which lineman would razz you the most?

A: Jon Jansen. We stay at it all the time. He'd say that he'd never seen me in there, that I don't belong in there. Just small things.

Q: Why did you feel the need to lift more?

A: Because my body started to fall apart at the end of last season. I had a lot of nagging injuries and during the course of the year you get injured twice, three times maybe. But those injuries carry on and my body wasn't strong enough to recover quickly. I felt it, especially late in the year.

Q: How did you feel your season went last year?

A: It didn't go like I wanted it to go. Point blank if it didn't meet Fred Smoot's standards. Regardless of what you think or anyone else thinks, it didn't meet my standards. I didn't have a Fred Smoot season. I'm gonna pick it up and make sure I have it this year. But I can tell by how my body feels that I'm much better and much stronger.

Q: How excited are you for the season?

A: I'm really excited. I like playing, man. On a Sunday, Thursday or a Monday. I love being out there competing. As long as I'm playing football I'm happy.

Q: What's your nickname this year?

A: I'm still Silky Johnson. It's a name my friends gave me that I like and I ran with it.

Q: How hard was last year?

A: It wasn't hard because I learned a lot. When you're down you learn a lot. When you're up people praise you and you don't get the most out of it. I was down and I learned a lot of stuff. I learned about people in general.

Q: Besides the weight, where do you feel you've taken that next step?

A: I'm a little bit more of a student of the offensive coordinator. When you're young you get into contests against people. Most cornerbacks don't realize that you go against a quarterback 65 percent of the time and a receiver only 35 percent of the time. That's something you have to learn. Instead of thinking, 'Yeah, I've got Marvin Harrison,' you need to be worried about Peyton Manning. Small things like that advance my play.''

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